|WHAT MAKES A LIFE?
TEARS is a pro-life animal shelter, but we are not a no-kill organisation. This means that although we will always do our best to save each and every animal life, sometimes the injury or distress is just too great and the only humane option left is to euthanize.
With every critical case that enters our organisation, our animal care and veterinary staff consider three main criteria before making a decision about continuing the life and care of an animal. First and foremost each individual is treated as a sentient being with more than just a physical body to treat.
- Veterinary and physical components – this includes the level of injury and disease, and how much pain the animal is enduring and will continue to endure during rehabilitation.
- Mental component – we ask: Will this animal’s psychological state (its temperament and mental resilience) allow her to endure an extended period in the clinic, daily injections, examinations, baths, wound irrigation, changing of dressing, etc. as well as medication with severe side-effects?
- Emotional component – Sometimes the light in an animal’s eyes goes out and they have given up. The level of sadness and trauma, in addition to their physical pain, is just too much for an individual to bear.
Gemma has a fighting spirit and it was evident that she would push through at all three levels with lots of love and support from everyone at TEARS, and her rallying fans. The donations that have poured in have allowed us to give her the best care we possibly can. Jordan, we knew, no matter how much love and medical care we gave him, was not managing to pull through at either a mental or emotional level.
As a pro-life organisation, the decision is never easy and we do all we possibly can to save lives – here are two stories that show the level of consideration and thought we give to every single animal that enters our care.
6-month old Picasso was brought to TEARS a number of weeks after an injury to his left front paw. He was limping badly and x-rays revealed he had a crushed foot that was now infected badly. This was spreading to the rest of his body and making him extremely sick.
There were only two options – euthanasia or amputation of the infected leg. Many would have chosen the first option. The idea of a 3-legged cat seems cruel, especially as there are so many other “normal” cats looking for a home. But our animal care staff saw a glint in Picasso’s playful eyes. He had a sore leg, but the rest of him was absolutely fine. Mentally and emotionally he was a gladiator.
So we decided to amputate his leg and put him under 24/7 vigilant care. Within hours he was hopping around, and whenever he was picked up he would purr loudly, rubbing his face into his loving carer’s chest, using his other front paw to “ask” for more strokes.
Now, just a few days later, he is manoeuvring around his enclosure as fit and fast as the other kittens. He’s playing, eating and always ready for attention.
He will continue to be assessed by our animal care staff with his needs and happiness top priority always.
Grysie was a male feral cat that was being cared for by a TEARS’ supporter in Retreat. Although he was completely wild, he trusted her enough to jump onto her roof for food and she was able to keep track of Grysie’s comings and goings. He wasn’t neutered so he often got into fights with other male cats.
One day she noticed that Grysie had a massive wound on his back. After a number of attempts, he was eventually caught by TEARS, with the aim of sterilising him and attending to his wound. Unfortunately, it was severely infected from a burst abscess and infested with maggots. After further tests it was discovered that he was also suffering from feline AIDS.
Although the wound could have been treated, the post-operative care would have been traumatic enough, but to contain a feral cat in an enclosed space like a clinic cage, would have proved too much, mentally and emotionally, for an animal adapted only to the wild. If he had survived the operation and treatment, he would have been a desperately unhappy cat in confinement, so the decision was made to put him to sleep. If he had been left on the streets as he was, with nobody looking out for him, he would have died a desperately painful death alone, just a few weeks later.
The staff at TEARS are consciously aware of what each and every animal is going through at every stage of their rehabilitation. If at any point an animal appears to be suffering more than they can bear, a decision about what is best for him or her is made. Unfortunately, sometimes this means putting them out of their terrible misery. Other times we are able to save, rehabilitate and rehome incredible animals with amazing stories.
Taking a pro-life stand costs though. It takes considerable, additional resources to fight for animals’ lives. This is why we’re running the TEARS Quest for Hidden Treasure campaign. Animals like Gemma and Picasso need intensive veterinary care and rehabilitation and we cannot do this alone. They are worth every single cent we spend, and the more help we receive from our supporters, the more animals we can rescue in dire need of help.