A place to call home
Dedicated volunteers from Marshall Pet Rescue match animals with owners
John Schroeder knows from experience that cats saved by an animal rescue program can become treasured members of a household.
Schroeder adopted two kittens, Olivia and Lincoln, from the Marshall Pet Rescue program last fall. They came into the rescue program with health impairments, but both are now able to live happy lives in a comfortable home.
“I was interested in adopting a kitten since I only had one cat,” Schroeder said. “They (Marshall Pet Rescue) asked if I’d consider taking home two of them, and I had a weak moment.”
The adoptions took place after both Lincoln and Olivia began to receive veterinary care for their health concerns. Olivia underwent surgery to repair both a broken hip and a detached ball joint from a femur bone. She now easily roams Schroeder’s house with only a slight limp.
Lincoln went through surgery to remove a tumor on his nose, which was likely to have been cancerous. After a successful operation, he has a very good chance of living a cancer free life. Like Olivia, he’s an active cat with pastimes that include watching television, especially a program about birds and cats.
Both kittens have gotten accustomed to life with a 2-year-old feline housemate named Malica. Schroeder said his older cat was named for an angel but doesn’t always behave like one. Even so, all three cats are friends to the point that they’ll lie close to each other while lounging on the floor.
“It takes some time for house cats to get to know each other,” Schroeder said. “Malica wants some of her own time with me, and she might growl if the kittens start coming around. Mostly they’re all good-natured cats who easily get along.”
Schroeder grew up in Marshall, graduating from Marshall High School and Southwest Minnesota State University. His parents, Walt and Liz Schroeder, always had a cat while he was growing up.
He usually had two cats at home at any one time except for a four-year break from cats until two years ago.
In the past few weeks, he’s seen that it’s more work to have three cats rather than two because each care-related detail is magnified. All three pets need food, water, grooming, litter box cleaning, trips to the vet clinic and regular amounts of personal attention.
“As someone who lives alone, I enjoy sharing the house with them,” Schroeder said. “Rescue pets are as good of an option as pets people buy. The rescue animals have nowhere else to go.”
He has a set of scratching posts placed throughout his home, which all three cats enjoy rather than damaging furniture. They also had no issues adapting to litter boxes because they had no choice other than using them while they were kept in rescue kennels.
One of Schroeder’s pet-related standards is to have entirely indoor cats, which eliminates the risks of getting lost, conflict with other cats in the neighborhood, and becoming ill from eating or drinking harmful materials. He also doesn’t believe in declawing cats since their claws are a natural defense mechanism, sensory aid and grasping tool.
Brandy Hieronimus, who coordinates adoptions and volunteers for Marshall Pet Rescue, said Schroeder is one of the best pet owners she knows, one who she didn’t hesitate to pair with two available kittens.
Marshall Pet Rescue is based at the Marshall Animal Clinic as a nonprofit volunteer-driven group that rents space for cages. Its capacity includes three standard kennels for small- to medium-sized cats, two larger units for bigger cats or feline families (mother cats with kittens still nursing), and a pair of kennels with walking room that could each accommodate a small dog for a short amount of time. Overflow kennel space is available temporarily when needed.
Hieronimus said the clinic location leads to convenient access to veterinary care, especially since she and other clinic staff volunteer to serve rescue pets.
She added that even with a successful fund drive this fall, which included donation boxes at Marshall businesses, the group lacks the space to care for all of the stray pets that could be served. It works to place the additional pets with owners, foster pet care volunteers, or animal shelters that are larger and preferably specialized in the case of animals that are hard to place because of health concerns or their particular breed.
Whenever possible, they share resources with other pet rescue groups, such as one based in Hendricks that also has limited options for housing its animals.
“We welcome volunteers and other kinds of public support,” Hieronimus said. “It takes more than one or two people. We have to balance rescue work with jobs, families and our own pets.”
Marshall Pet Rescue volunteer Anne Marie Bell spent part of Monday afternoon caring for the current crew residing at the rescue shelter. She helps with the process of caring for rescue animals along with employment at Marshall’s Running’s warehouse.
The group comprises three cats: Gabriel, Yulan and Kiara. All of them will wait at least a month before going to homes while they undergo treatment or in Kiara’s case preventive treatment for ringworm. It requires regular sulphur baths, along with cones worn around the face to keep cats from ingesting the sulphur mix by trying to clean themselves.
She said she also enjoys reaching the final goal that involves placement with owners. She noted that Marshall Pet Rescue only euthanizes animals as a last resort, usually when there’s a medical issue severe enough to prevent a dog or cat from having a good quality of life.
“I love working with this group and all the other animals that are brought to the facility,” Bell said. “I can’t wait until they can get out of their kennels and move freely around the room. They’re given more freedom to do that after they get used to living in a safe place.”