At length, this is about how our loving, joyful, and innocent two-year old cat was shot by our neighbor the day before Mother's Day. As a way to start the mourning process, it was suggested to us that we honor our baby girl and spread her story to, if anything, help other animals, because devastatingly, we are at a point where we cannot do much more. It has been a little over three weeks as we wanted to wait until everything was a little clearer for us to articulate what exactly happened and why we’ve created this fund.
Background: Saturday May 20th my family and I took a day trip out to Holland, Michigan to explore the Tulip Festival. Prior to leaving, we let some of our cats outside as they are trained indoor/outdoor kitties who love nature and when the weather is as nice as it was on Saturday they can't bear to be inside for long. Again, they are trained to do this. We live in a rural area and have plenty of land for them to roam on. One of the cats that we let out that day was Side Ear. This is what we lovingly named her after rescuing her with her floppy ear due to untreated ear mites. Without bias, I can say that Side Ear was one of the most joyful kitties you'd ever meet. She was fluffy and goofy; loved the snow and loved to lick EVERYONE. This was our baby. When we rescued her she was pregnant and went on to have three babies of her own; two went on to live with wonderful families and the third became ours. My family is, and has always cared deeply for animals and animal rights. We’ve “rescued,” volunteered, fostered, donated, and loved many animals throughout the years. A long standing belief of our family is animals rescue us in the end because they bring nothing but unconditional love and happiness into our lives. Not everyone shares this sentiment, and we knew that our neighbors didn't believe this (previous events with their own pets and “hunting” incidents have proved this). However, we also never imagined that they would act out in this way for no other reason than maliciousness.
Returning from Holland: At 1:30am, Mother's Day, my family turned onto our road and neared our driveway. When we approached our house our hearts dropped. My youngest daughter immediately started wailing, my eldest ran out to road to discover Side Ear laying lifeless on her side.
Immediately After: My husband and I moved quickly to bring Side Ear into our home to dry her off, and just cry with our two daughters at the perceived event that our baby was hit by a car. About 5:00am Amber, my eldest, was the only one still up with Side Ear, just petting her with tears in her eyes when she discovered that one part of her fur was not drying off and seemed to be banded together by something. That something was blood. She untangle the spot and discovered a pencil eraser sized hole. Immediately, due to knowing how our neighbors have acted and spoke in the past , I feared the worst. The rest of the night was spent online researching what this hole could be. By morning I had already contacted our vet who told us he would come by our house to examine what we in our hearts already knew.
Vet visit: Early afternoon our vet came by to perform something similar to a necropsy (the human equivalent of an autopsy). With it being Mother’s Day, the office was closed but he knew we needed answers and was confident even before coming out that he would be able to know what happened with his mobile unit of veterinary tools. He confirmed that Side Ear was indeed shot with a .22 caliber gun, then placed onto the road near our driveway to make it appear as though she had been hit.
It's been difficult for my family to grieve and mourn as we’re still trying to rationalize the events that happened. After all, who kills an innocent animal? While we’re going through this process, we’ve decided to open up a fund that we will give to the All About Animals Rescue organization of Michigan. If you don't have it, don't worry; this is far from an issue about money (there is no amount that we’re actually trying to meet; we just want to give back to this amazing organization that helped Side Ear and her babies). But please share this story so that others who lose a pet will always know to check to see what the cause of death was and to take vigilant steps to ensure that when you're not home your pets are still safe. Or at least walk away from reading this and just try to go forth and do good today and be kind; especially to animals.
We love and miss you Side Ear! We will never forget and will always keep trying to bring you justice!
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