Winston aka Sir Snoot’s Rescue from ACCT Philly

Winston's Shelter Pic
This is one of the pics of Winston that caught my eye in my FB News Feed the day I rescued him.

“Bring Me to Life” – Evanescence

There a number of lyrics in this song that speak to my soul much like the way Winston’s eyes did when I saw his “timestamped” post in my Facebook News Feed…

“How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down, into my core
Where I’ve become so numb, without a soul
My spirit’s sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there, and lead it, back, home…”

“…Without a thought, without a voice, without a soul
DON’T LET ME DIE HERE
There must be something more
Bring me to life.”

I’ve known this song for years. It’s on my Apple Playlist. But the first time I heard it after I rescued Winston, I broke down and bawled.

This explains his rescue perfectly.

Winston was on an “Extension”…

Of his timestamp. He was originally scheduled to be euthanized on August 14, 2019 but was granted a 24-hour extension. I guess intake was slow at ACCT Philly that day.

On August 15, 2019, I was lying down on the couch scrolling my Facebook News Feed on my phone because I was sick as a dog with a 102F fever and a cough that wouldn’t quit.

And then I saw this post..

🎉❤🐈 ADOPTED!!!! 8/15 🐈❤🎉So very happy to update all of you that most handsome sweet boy Winston was adopted by a…

Posted by Angela Seward on Wednesday, August 14, 2019

His face HAUNTED me. You can see the sheer TERROR and utter HEARTBREAK all over it. I already had five indoor cats at the time (who don’t all get along) as well as a feral colony of 8. My house is not big. I’m broke as a joke. Mom has limited mobility from her stroke and requires my help…and I’m trying to earn a living despite all of the distractions in my life.

These were the thoughts going through my mind after seeing this FB post.

I knew I couldn’t take him, so I shared Angela’s post in the hopes that someone would go get him before his timestamp was up in eight short hours.

Of course, I couldn’t get his face out of my mind. So I stalked any post I could find on Facebook about him to read the comments and see if anyone, anyone at all, had any interest in possibly saving him.

ZERO…

The number of people who expressed interest in saving him. By 2:30pm, I felt panic rising. He had less than six hours left. I couldn’t let him die. I couldn’t let this kitty, who had the same owner and home for 14 years and just spent 15 long and horrific days in a loud, overcrowded and underfunded shelter, die that evening. I contacted ACCT Philly Lifesaving. When I spoke to them, they confirmed that Winston had ZERO inquiries and still was not safe.

OFF TO NORTH PHILLY…

We went. I already told Mom about Winston and showed her his picture. She, too, was moved by the utter heartbreak on his face.

I remember telling Mom that I needed my head checked. I asked her to talk me out of it because she is much more detached and rational about animals than I am.

She didn’t argue with me.

We stopped off at Pet Smart to grab a few things to set him up in the main bathroom for overnight until I could figure out where we could make his safe room. Then we took the hour-long drive to North Philly from South Jersey.

I WAS NOT PREPARED…

For what I experienced when we got there. Neither was Mom.

This excerpt from a Facebook post I put out a week after Winston’s rescue sums it up perfectly…

“I knew ACCT Philly had its problems. I’m FB friends with one of their former volunteers turned whistleblowers who was terminated from ACCT for making noise about the horrendous conditions there.
But NOTHING could have prepared me for what I walked into that day.
When we walked in to the crowded lobby area, I naively believed people were waiting to vet their pets or were waiting to adopt a pet.
I guess I just told myself that so I could walk past them without facing the reality.
They were all surrendering their pets 💔
I went back to the adoption area, where there was NOBODY waiting to adopt a pet.
There was a mom with two crying children and a dog. The dog was ACCT Philly Alumni. The kids were crying because they just had to return another dog they adopted because she didn’t get along with Dog #1. 💔
When they approved my application and let me go back to meet Winston, we opened the door to the hallway that leads to both the dogs and cats…And the stench hit me like a WALL.
I have an iron stomach. But I almost threw up. It smelled strongly like a combo of raw sewage and mold. And it was hot.
The sound of barking dogs was DEAFENING.
We walked behind another closed door to a room that was not sound-proofed at all. Cats filled the rows of metal cages. Many were huddled and heartbroken. Many came to the front of their cages, hoping to get my attention.
I had to detach. For my own sake and for Winston’s sake, I had to detach. Much like many of the workers and volunteers have to do…Because if you don’t, your heart breaks.
I went into a less crowded room. This room was filled with timestamped kitties. And even though they had food and water and a small towel or newspaper, they had nowhere to hide to get away from the stress.
We approached Winston’s cage. He was sleeping. How he was sleeping with the deafening noise of dogs barking was beyond me. I got the feeling he wasn’t really sleeping. He was trying to hide as far back in his cage as he could because he didn’t want us to see him 💔.
The adoption worker opened the cage. I put my hand in there for him to sniff, even though his ears were flattened and his pupils were fully dilated. He sniffed. Wanted nothing to do with me.
This is why he was on the euthanasia list.
I didn’t care. I could not let this be his end. Dumped off after 14 years with the same family….
Two weeks of nothing but unbelievable noise, horrid stench like you cannot even imagine, and nothing to do but sit there and stare at more cages across the way.
It couldn’t end that way for him.
I gave him Temptations treats and he warmed up enough to let me scratch his chin.
I took him out of the cage to see if he was fixed, because they had conflicting information on that.
When I held him, he was trembling. Afraid of what was going to happen to him next.
When I finally got him out of the shelter and we put him in the back of the Jeep, you should have seen his reaction. I wish I had taken video.
He was sniffing fresh air for the first time in 15 days. He was looking around, scared but excited.
And you all saw how he fell asleep in his carrier during the long ride home.
Winston's freedom ride
Winston dosing off in rush hour traffic during his Freedom Ride from ACCT Philly to his Forever Home.
Why did it take me a week to share this?
Because I needed to be able to type this all out without crying…
…I cannot possibly cover all of my emotions the past week from this experience in one FB post.
But it changed me. I am traumatized, yet determined, all at the same time.
God and St Francis brought me there to be a voice. Not just for the pets in this shelter, but pets everywhere who are existing in their own Hell.”

WINSTON’S FREEDOM RIDE

Like I said in that Facebook post, I wish I took video of his first reaction when we put him in the back of the Jeep. He perked right up and started sniffing the air. For the first time in over two weeks, he wasn’t smelling animal excrement and mold but “kind of fresh” air (this WAS Philly, after all!) He looked scared, but excited, too. He knew he was saved.

We got stuck in rush hour coming out of Philly on the way home so it took us about an hour and a half to get home. At one point I looked at him while sitting at a red light in Mount Laurel, NJ, and he was relaxed and starting to doze off.

He knew he was SAFE.

I often wonder if he knew how close he was to dying that day. But, I believe he was already dead on the inside before we ended his nightmare.

THAT NIGHT HE SLEPT LIKE A BABY…

When we came home, I was trying to beat the sunset so I had to quickly get him set up in the bathroom for the night so I could go out and feed the Yard Cats. Winston needed time to decompress and a small, quiet space to do it in. After I set the carrier in the bathroom and opened the door, I left him high quality food, showed him his litter box and bed, and then let him be.

He didn’t leave the carrier that night besides to use his litter box and eat and drink. I didn’t hear a PEEP from the bathroom all night. I imagine that he slept more soundly than he had in two weeks.

SIR SNOOT!

The next day I set up Grandmommy Kitten’s room up for Winston to move in to. Winston is shy but not feral so I figured he would be okay with her.

This cat was moving from a steel cage to luxury accommodations, including a queen-size comfy bed, a large cat tree overlooking our backyard, a computer chair that the cats LOVE to use as a bed (hence why we have a computer chair in the corner of a bedroom with no desk!), and, of course, the best cat food available and FRESH, pH-balanced well water (no chlorine or chemicals in our water!).

I was SOOOOO excited to open the window a bit so Winston could experience the country. We live on the edge of the Wharton State Forest in South Jersey. The air doesn’t get any fresher. We have tons of wildlife, including deer (if you follow us on Facebook you will see our deer too!), TONS of birds and squirrels, wild turkeys, possums…you name it! We assume Winston lived in Philly somewhere since he was at their open-intake shelter and fresh country air just isn’t possible there.

Once I got him all set up, I brought him in, opened his carrier, and spent a few minutes with him to let him know he is SAFE and I’m his friend.

Getting to know Winston
Winston’s first day in his new home.

I brought Mom in to officially meet him. She was with me when we adopted him but she didn’t get a chance to even pet him and he didn’t get to check her out.

Before I brought her in, I took the time to carefully instruct her on how to be with him. He was very scared and quite shy. It was almost like dealing with one of my ferals when they first came around. Mom isn’t quite the Cat Whisperer that I am and I wanted his first impression of her to be a GOOD one since they were going to be “roomies”.

When she came in, he walked right past me like I was CHOPPED LIVER and went up to her to greet her like he had always known her. From that point on, he wanted nothing to do with me unless I have food.

Winston meets Grandmommy Kitten
The moment Sir SNOOT clearly chose Grandmommy Kitten over me!

I seriously was shocked and amused ALL at the same time.

I mean, how can he possibly resist ME? Doesn’t he know who I am? I tame feral cats left and right and this SNOOT rejected ME???!!!

Hence, the nickname “Sir Snoot” was born.

WHO RESCUED WHO?

The weekend before Sir Snoot came into our lives, my brother moved from South Jersey to Syracuse to go back to school, and one of my nephews (the one who spent the most time with us) moved in with his mother in Indiana.

Mom wasn’t taking these changes too well. My dad passed in 2014 and Mom hasn’t been the same since. She and my dad sacrificed an awful lot to help my brother raise his children and my nephews even lived here when they were younger.

Mom was depressed before they left and even more so after they both moved.

It don’t think it’s any coincidence that Snoot chose Mom. I even believe he was meant to end up here all along.

We have a theory (even though is paperwork and surrender form don’t say this) that his owner passed away and it was the family who dumped him at the shelter. We, as well as many of our followers on social media, believe that Grandmommy Kitten reminds him of his previous owner and that’s why he chose HER.

I think we needed Snoot as much as he needed us. Isn’t that always the way?

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY…

Snoot left his nightmare and beat his time stamp by 2 hours, 36 minutes and started a brand new life with us.

He has some health issues. He was seriously underweight when we adopted him at just 7lb8oz. He’s a LARGE cat and should be 13-14lbs. I haven’t weighed him recently but when he had his dental done this past February, he was 12lb4oz.

When he had his dental, he almost didn’t wake up from anesthesia. It took them three reversal drugs to wake him up that day. I didn’t know until I picked him up that he was that close to not coming out of his dental alive. Thank God he did, because I didn’t want a 12-hour fasting followed by him being in a cage in a scary place to be his “end”. He will not be having any more procedures that require anesthesia again unless it’s to save his life, because I know now that he will be very high risk.

He’s in early kidney disease, which I’m not surprised. I will not be able to treat it like I treated Penny’s with all of the meds and sub q fluids etc. Winston isn’t an easy cat to handle, medicate, stick needles in, etc and the treatments would stress him out to the point that it would become a quality of life issue. This will be hard for me because I can give fluids practically with both hands tied behind my back and blindfolded but I have to do what’s right for HIM, not for me, my ego, and my desire to make up to him what his previous owners did.

Winston is in constant discomfort from a botched declaw job courtesy of his previous life and the people who did this to him. His paperwork said he wasn’t declawed, but a few months after his rescue, I noticed I didn’t hear his claws scratching on the Turbo Scratcher pad that he loves to use. He doesn’t allow us to touch his front paws but I could tell by the nub of a bone sticking out of where his thumbnail is supposed to be that he was declawed and they’re trying to grow back. Now I know that’s why he’s somewhat standoffish at times and snaps or hisses at us. It breaks my heart watching him walk. I tell him all the time that I would have never, ever done this to him.

Winston's botched declaw
One of the many pictures we took of Winston’s barbaric declawing.

His digestive issues have also kept me on my toes. I suspect he has more than just your standard IBD, but since treatment for IBD and possible intestinal lymphoma are pretty much aimed at symptomatic care and since anesthesia is no longer an option for him, I just treat for the IBD and see what works best for him.

NEW BEGINNINGS – NEW LIFE

All in all, Sir Snoot has had one incredible year!

He experienced a kittenhood that I suspect he never had before.

He found his soulmate and slave in Grandmommy Kitten.

He made friends with Rascal and Mischy.

He’s spoiled rotten, pampered, very well fed, and LOVED.

He rules the roost here and spends his waking moments bossing us around.

Winston impatiently waiting for Grandmommy to give him treats
Winston waiting impatiently for Grandmommy Kitten “to do the right thing” aka give him treats as I’m sitting here typing this post.

I ALWAYS GET THE LAST WORD IN…

And I always will. I hope one day this finds its way to Winston’s previous owners or family…whoever decided to dump him off at Hell on Earth aka ACCT Philly.

This is the letter I wrote to them shortly after we brought Sir Snoot to HOME…

A Letter to My Senior Shelter Kitty’s Former Owner