Established in 1965, HAWS assists over 6,000 animals and welcomes more than 31,000 human visitors annually. As an "open admissions" shelter we lead the community in animal welfare and assure sanctuary for all animals in need, regardless of age, health or temperament. HAWS is a non-profit, entirely donor-fund organization with an active humane education program, and both wildlife and companion animal rescue services for Waukesha County.
HAWS License #267280-DS
Please enjoy another of Sandy's Stories!
In my many years of working in animal welfare, I've seen the horrors of animal abuse. It is a constant struggle not to let your heart be broken. One never gets used to seeing abused animals, but one does learn how to deal with the feeling that arises. If you don't, you will never be able to help others!
That very feeling was the one I had when I saw Wonderful Walter, a gray and white 4-year-old cat. There he was, sitting in the back of his cage at HAWS, curled up on a nice fuzzy blanket. He had been treated for an eye infection, but when it did not heal he was sent out for an x-ray. The x-ray revealed that he had been shot in the right eye with a b.b. gun. Anyone that has ever had anything wrong with their eye knows how painful that can be and can only imagine the severe pain and fear that this cat went through.
The x-ray revealed that the b.b. had traveled inside his body, and was now lodged inside of his cheek. The vet was able to remove it, and the surgery site was stitched shut with dissolvable sutures. We all hoped that Walter would have a rapid recovery.
Walter’s foster home had taken in another foster animal during his surgery leave, and I was only too happy to take Walter to my home as a foster. I already knew in my heart that we would probably be keeping him.
(When I am around animals there is a feeling that I get about certain ones that I just know were meant for us…I had that feeling with Walter, or as we say at home, "The sucker sign on our foreheads was blinking again!")
When I brought him home I put him in our guest/foster bedroom. He stayed curled up in his basket and would not eat. I finally put canned cat food on a small plate and heated it in the microwave to let the savory juice entice him. It worked - and it wasn't long before he was eating like a champ! However, now we have created a monster: he now regularly sits at our snack bar counter with that cute little face, waiting for me to heat his food in the microwave. There are times during the day that I find him sitting there and, of course, I always give him a taste of his warmed food. Yes, I am spoiling him but isn't that why they are here? Besides, the time they have with us is always too short.
Walter is the dearest, sweetest little cat with a perfectly marked white and gray face and the cutest tail I have ever seen. It curls over his back like a Husky dog and when he runs it bounces back and forth. He has fit right into our household of other cats and dogs and parakeets. He loves sitting in his basket watching the outside birds and sitting on my husband's lap.
I cannot ever imagine not having Walter in our family, and I hope that our love and caring will erase the pain that he has endured. We can see he is happy here and that alone makes us feel that in some way we are making a difference - at least to him.
Oh yes, we ended up adopting Walter so he is a permanent member of our household. Follow-up examinations of his eye confirmed that he is blind in that eye, but it doesn’t stop him! Thanks again HAWS for giving a little animal a second chance.
By the way - this weekend we have 2 neat fundraising events going on for HAWS! The Friends of HAWS are holding our annual Have a Heart Bake Sale on Friday and Saturday, the 12th and 13th, hosted by Waukesha State Bank, 100 Bank Street in Waukesha. Then, join us for the Dog Wash for HAWS at the "spa" part of Petlicious Dog Bakery & Spa, 2217 Silvernail Road (just off I94 and Hwy. T). Rub-a-dub, all pups in the tub!