St. Nick – A Gentle Soul in Need

This grand old fellow is St. Nick – a kind, sweet old soul who has defied all odds despite conditions many of us would not have survived.

st.nickWhen he was brought to us we had no idea of the many health problems this fellow had. It was thought by the woman who brought him in that he had been hit by a car because of his injured appearance. He was very dirty, very thin and had wounds around his face and also could not walk well. It was obvious that he had been on his own for quite a while due to his poor condition.

After a thorough evaluation from the veterinarian it was discovered that he had not been injured but was suffering from several health problems. It turns out that St. Nick is diabetic and he never received any treatment so he is now also in renal failure. In addition he has a large abscess on the right side of his head.

St. Nick loves the attention and closeness he gets from Becca as he recieves his fluids.

St. Nick loves the attention and closeness he gets from Becca as he receives his fluids.

This old man (he is a senior) is quite the fighter and wants his share of human loving and attention. He loves his soft bed, clean litter box and good food. He even loves the attention he gets from Becca when she gives him fluids – he loves the closeness.

On January 29th he went back to the veterinarian to have the abscess on his head opened and drained. The veterinarian did not want to put him under anesthesia so the procedure was done without it and he did just fine, as Becca put it, “he’s a tough old bird”. Upon his return to the Sanctuary he ate a whole plate of food and took a long nap. He now has drains in place to keep the abscess open while it heals – yes he looks a bit funny but he seems to feel better.

The rubber tubing keeps the wound on St. Nick's head open so it can drain and will heal properly.

The rubber tubing keeps the wound on St. Nick’s head open so it can drain and will heal properly.

Our goal for St. Nick is to hopefully find an experienced foster home. Someone who is experienced at giving insulin shots and giving fluids, or someone who is willing to learn. Someone who cares
enough to let him experience a home and love. We know this may not happen, we are just hoping.

CVAS has helped hundreds of cats and dogs, in 2014 alone we took in 591 cats & 123 dogs. Because of supporters who donate money and supplies and volunteers who donate their time and do the work, so many cats and dogs are saved who might otherwise have died a tragic, lonely death and this they do not deserve. Without this powerful team there would be no rescue organization.

Please give us a call if you’d like to help St. Nick: 509-684-1475

Pat Lowe
Donation Coordinator

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Hope – Looking for a Special Someone

Back in July of 2014 we received a call from a woman who had a badly injured cat she found on her property and was hoping we would help her transport the cat to be euthanized. A volunteer drove out and picked up the cat, who was emaciated, had multiple injuries, and was near death. She was not even sure the poor girl would make the drive.

hopeUpon examination it was discovered that she had a broken jaw and had not been able to eat or drink in several days…she was slowly starving to death and weighed less than 4 lbs. Our volunteers named her Hope, and over the course of several days she received fluids and a liquid diet. We had to get her weight up before she could go under anesthesia to wire her jaw.

She had also lost sight permanently in her left eye. We’ll never know if she fell, was hit by a car, or what happened to her. After she had gained two pounds, Hope had her surgery to correct her jaw, and continued healing and gaining weight.

Fast forward to January, and Hope is still with us. Physically she has healed and has regained the weight (plus a little extra), but emotionally and socially she still struggles. Hope is very timid and only comes out when it is very quiet in the evenings. She loves other cats and often snuggles with them during the day.

hope1Our goal for Hope is to find her a quiet home where she can feel safe, loved, and cared for in hopes that someday she will come out of her shell and learn not to be afraid. She will need patience, understanding, and a family who understand shy and fearful cats. If you would like more information and to schedule a time to meet her please give us a call for an appointment. 509-684-1475

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diamondThis is Diamond’s story. Diamond is a 6 year old female Boxer/Pit Bull cross who was found wandering in Springdale, WA in September of 2014. One of our volunteers took her home and we put up fliers and posted online looking for her owner or someone who might recognize her.

Not having any luck she was brought to the Sanctuary on October 1. She was scanned for a micro-chip which she had. We discovered that she had been adopted at the Spokane Humane Society to a couple in Spokane, WA in 2009. At some point the couple moved to Stevens County, and at some point divorced. It is thought that the husband moved to Springdale taking Diamond with him. We called Pet Watch (micro-chip registry) looking for her owner’s name but there was no current information on the owner’s location so they changed the microchip registration to CVAS.

A few days after Diamond came to the Sanctuary, we received a call from a neighbor of one of Diamond’s owner’s, she had seen a flyer with Diamonds picture, notified the owner and was bringing the owner to the Sanctuary to see Diamond and wanted to take her home that afternoon. We were happy for Diamond knowing that she would be re-united with her owner and was going home.

Three weeks later, on October 22, 2014 we received a phone call from Peone Pines VCA Animal Hospital in Mead, WA . Diamond had been found on the side of the road in Colbert, WA. severely dehydrated, emaciated and exhausted. A very kind woman had seen her lying on the side of the road, picked her up and took her to her veterinarian. Due to the condition she was in it is believed that she had been wandering the roads for most of those three weeks. She was scanned for a micro-chip and our name came up as the registered owner.

We were called by the veterinarian and assured that Diamond had been given fluids and care. However they noticed some troubling abnormalities – she wobbled when she walked and had abnormal eye coordination movement – all signs pointing to neurological abnormalities. The woman who found Diamond offered to take her home to foster as our kennels were full and Diamond was going to have to be kept indoors. While she was in foster care more neurological problems developed along with episodes of acute anxiety. She paced constantly, ran into objects like furniture and walls, would fall while trying to walk up stairs and whined and barked when startled.

Diamond was taken to Spokane Humane Society so that Dr. Rowe could evaluate her and let us know what help she needed. It was felt that Diamond needed more diagnostic testing to help sort out the abnormal neurological problems, and it was suggested that we apply to WSU for a grant to help pay for the expenses of a CT scan of Diamond’s head. We did apply to WSU for this grant but we were denied. We then contacted Pet Emergency Clinic in Spokane to ask for help. They had helped us before with a special little puppy named Henry who needed a very difficult liver surgery in order to survive, Henry is doing great today.

Pet Emergency Clinic arranged for a specialist to examine Diamond and performed the CT scan. Our worst fears were realized when a massive brain tumor was found engulfing Diamond’s brain. Because of its location it was deemed inoperable and there is no cure. The specialist felt the best course of action was to place Diamond on Prednisone and fluids which would keep her comfortable.

diamondctscanDiamond is now enjoying a safe warm place in the kennel manager’s living room where she gets to be in the company of Missy, a very sweet dog. She is taking frequent walks on a leash, is on a special diet and is given lots of love. As of this writing, she is comfortable and appears happy but does have moments of confusion. How long does she have before the Prednisone and the special care is no longer effective, we don’t know.

We are letting Diamond live as normal a life as possible for as long as that may be. We know the signs to look for indicating that the medication is no longer keeping her comfortable. When it is time Diamond will cross the Rainbow Bridge with dignity and with people who care by her side.

diamondandmissyWe never know what type of medical problem we might see with each cat or dog that comes to the Sanctuary needing help. Most of the time we can offer veterinary care that will solve the problem and then work to find a new forever home, however there is always the cat or dog where this is not possible. In this situation we will always make sure this animal has all the love and care we can give until the end must come.

Pat Lowe
Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary

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The Story of Ten Thousand Cats

This story actually began ten years ago in 2005, Chewelah’s fairy cat mother, Lorraine Schanzenbach took some sick, dying cats she had rescued from a sad situation to Dr. Kam. Sadly, the cats had to be euthanized. During the office call, they talked about how badly Stevens County needed affordable spay/neuter services for the low income residents. Lorraine went home and talked to her husband Bill and the first steps towards making Stevens County Cat Care a reality began to happen.

vet4Fast forward a year. Nine years ago, the group was in its beginning stages with monthly meetings at Polanski’s pizza in Chewelah. We held yard sales and fund raisers to earn money to offer spay/neuter coupons for people to be able to afford to get their cats fixed at the local veterinary clinics. And at the October meeting of that year, something else happened that would change our group forever. Dr. Tami showed up for a meeting and kept coming back!

Eight years ago, our little group heard about a sad situation in Springdale. No lights, no indoor plumbing…but they had 40 cats. As we prepared to take the 40 cats, we wondered how we were going to be able to afford to get them fixed. Dr. Tami offered to spay/neuter them for us for free, but because she was a mobile vet doing home visits, she had no place to fix the cats. So we cleaned off the ping pong table in Lorraine’s garage and Dr. Tami proceeded to start fixing cats. We stood there and watched her, and because it’s hard for me to stay quiet, about the 3rd cat, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I asked if there was something we could do to help. The rest is history. She taught us to hold cats for anesthesia, and shave and scrub and monitor and recover cats. Dr. Kam came and helped with several of the cats too. With the support of both Dr. Tami and Dr. Kam, we began to feel like we could accomplish something, but we really didn’t know what yet.

vet2Seven years ago, we were feeling so good about our little accomplishments and with the support of our two lady vets, we wanted to go bigger. We wanted to hold a large spay/neuter clinic that would be open to the public. But we didn’t have enough equipment. Dr. Tami only had equipment for one vet, not multiple vets! So we called Pet Savers in Spokane and asked their director, Sue Anderson, if they would loan us equipment for our first clinic. They not only loaned us equipment, but brought along volunteers to help us learn the ropes of handling large numbers of cats and people. We fixed 128 cats that day in the old Youth Center in Chewelah. We were on cloud 9 for days! We were ready to tackle the world! Therefore, we learned to write grants and got the money to purchase the necessary equipment and it wasn’t long before we started holding regular clinics.

vet1Now, all good stories need a hero, and this story has a lot of them because every one of our volunteers is a hero. We could not possibly have accomplished all that we have without each and every one of our volunteers. Every single volunteer is important to our team because we would not even be a team without them. We couldn’t fix cats without our veterinarians, and they couldn’t do all the other work that is being done at our clinics without us. Every single one of our volunteers is what makes us successful.

vet3So, how successful are we? Sunday, November 16, 2014, Stevens County Cat Care spay/neutered our 10,000th cat. It was a cold day and the line of shivering cat owners clutching cat carriers extended from the door of the Chewelah Civic Center clear out to the street. With transporters fanning the doors nearly nonstop, the furnace ran almost constantly as 170 of the 188 scheduled cats arrived. Two veterinary technicians evaluated and anesthetized cats while five veterinarians spayed and neutered cats almost nonstop for seven and a half hours, fixing a total of 167 cats (and then spending 2 hours cleaning up the building and helping to load everything in the trailer.)

wakingkittyWe needed 119 cats to make 10,000 and the 119th cat was a huge fluffy Persian that the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary had brought. We spay/neuter a lot of cats for the Sanctuary, which helps them keep their costs down. They are a non-profit just like we are and we also share a lot of the same volunteers. Animal people are at a premium in our county and most of us wear multiple ‘hats’. Several of the veterinarians stood together with the cat for a quick photo. (I have a photo of every ‘thousandth’ cat that we have done.) Then suddenly someone thought to check for the kitty’s ‘equipment’….and they were not there! He had apparently been neutered by some previous owner before being relinquished to the Sanctuary. So because we didn’t need to fix him after all, he quickly lost his status as the 10,000th cat and the next cat suddenly had a new title. A female kitty named Amanda became the 10,000th cat, posing for her photo with a smiling Nancy Rose, president and kennel manager of the Colville Valley Animal Sanctuary.

nancyDid we celebrate? As with each thousandth cat, we enjoyed a huge cake, donated by our president, Maggie Dickinson, to enjoy with our usual potluck lunch. And I admit, each of us probably glowed rather proudly for the rest of the day. But other than that, we pretty much just started on the next thousand. And our new total, by the way, is ten thousand….and forty eight!



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