Thursday, February 16, 2012

All in a Days Work at HAWS

As much as I love my job as a Humane Educator, I sometimes miss out on some of the more exciting things that other HAWS staff members get to experience. We have staff who are trained for road calls -- rescuing wild or domestic animals. They come back with all sorts of interesting stories.

HAWS staff are always encouraged to take a lot of photographs of things that go on from day to day at HAWS. It helps our public relations department promote the many things HAWS does for Waukesha County -- photos really help bring stories to life.

Yesterday our Operations Director -- Mark Hess, asked if I had some time to accompany him on a road call to save a cat. Mark thought it might be a great photo-op, but knew he wouldn't be able to take photos while he worked to get the cat. Since I had a bit of extra time I was thrilled to have an opportunity to go out on an adventure to rescue an animal in distress.

The cat was trapped on an over-hang a few stories up on the municipal parking lot in the City of Waukesha County. The way the roof was designed it appeared that the cat jumped down from the parking lot, but wasn't able to get back up. Reports indicated that it had been on the room for at least 3 days, and the concern was that the cat was out in cold weather without access to food or water.

Mark wasn't sure what he'd need since it wasn't known if the cat was some one's lost pet, or a feral kitty. Either way -- it was sure to be frighted, and most likely wouldn't be amenable to someone walking up to him. Mark was prepared to use a tranquilizer dart if needed, but decided to start with a net.

I shot a steady stream of photos as Mark used a ladder to get onto the same level of the roof as the cat. The cat ran past Mark several times, but Mark's been doing this for many years, and knows his way around using a net to scoop up a running, frightened animal. Mark anticipated where the cat would go next, and lowered the net right in front of the cat's path easily scooping him up.

The cat was brought back to HAWS and scanned for a micro-chip -- which he did have. The owner was contacted and came right away to pick up her missing buddy. A better ending couldn't have been expected!

While this story isn't as thrilling as many shown on TV, it's an example of activities that HAWS staff engage in on a daily basis. And it's a great testament to the power of micro-chipping pets -- the micro-chip allowed HAWS to figure out who the owner was and prevent the cat from being further traumatized with a stay in a cage in the shelter.

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