Oliver the kitten didn’t have the most auspicious start in life: An animal control officer from the Tallahassee Leon County Animal Service Center rescued the orange tabby from a flooded sewer drain and took him to the shelter, where Oliver hissed at everyone who passed by his cage until the cat foster coordinator for the Leon County Humane Society (LCHS) pulled him from the shelter. She worked with Oliver until he was purring and even playing with dogs.
When LCHS learned that a woman’s dying wish was to hold a kitten and watch him play, they knew Oliver was the perfect cat for the role. Oliver loved the dying woman until she passed away with him curled up next to her. He was adopted by the woman’s granddaughter who today can’t imagine life without him.
Oliver never would have made it out of that storm drain to comfort a dying woman and to be placed into a loving home had it not been for dedicated people from different organizations working together to save lives. Tallahassee is one of the ASPCA’s partner communities, and Oliver’s story is testament to the work being done there by animal welfare agencies teaming up to get animals out of shelters and into homes.
Collaboration is an integral element in the ASPCA’s formula for saving homeless dogs and cats. We talk about the importance of collaboration so much that it has become our mantra. Communities are listening, and as a result, more dogs and cats are being saved. The ASPCA has built a collaborative life-saving model that we are replicating in various partner communities throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of animals have been saved since we started our partner community program in 2007.
Our goal is an ambitious one—to end the killing of healthy or treatable dogs and cats in animal shelters. We won’t pretend this is easy, but we are always mindful that animals like Oliver need our help.