Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Trip through The Wringer

We have never been this quiet for such a long time and therefore I honestly don’t know where to begin. After a myriad of serious and not easily solvable problems which have had us completely stuck for months, now the time has come to move on. With ever
aching hearts, though with eyes full of hope, we’re still not whole but we’re wearing our emotional scars with pride, “desolate yet all undaunted” and finally ready to face the upcoming challenges head-on.

All of the kitties are reasonably well – that
is, those who survived this last winter, the saddest and most heartbreaking winter ever. The latest cold season wasn’t that cold after all, we were spared the powerful snowstorms we know so well, but some of our oldest and sickest kitties lacked the strength to make it
until spring, although all of them put up a hell of a fight. A part of us died with every single one of those valiant fighters until we reached the point where we thought we simply could not go on, but the spark of hope and gleam of love in the trusting eyes of our kitties
who are still here wordlessly told us the simple truth - there’s no giving up, as cats are for life.

After a dreadful and harrowing winter came spring, with sun and light, with smells and colors and with a breath of a new beginning. Trying to
assuage the slight hint of despair still present right beneath the surface of our seemingly buoyant selves, we engaged in a big spring cleaning, which was not only necessary but also a perfect way to clear our minds. All of the vines, climbing plants and hedge bindweed
that had already dried up were removed from the chain link fence, all of the trees were pruned and both yards cleaned up. During the process we were surprised to find out just how bad the condition of the wooden platforms, ladders, timber tables and other big outside
toys is - and our kitties love them so much! Almost all of the wooden items in both yards need to be renewed or replaced, but this time some metal parts are going to have to be added so everything will be able to last much longer. We strongly hoped we would be able to skip
repairs of any kind for at least one summer, but it evidently isn’t meant to be…

A bunch of minor repairs can easily turn into a big headache, as little costs add up to make these much needed renovations far more expensive than we first thought
and planned. Moreover, a three-digit of cats still need to eat every day, whether we’re trying to fix some issues at the shelter we've never worked on before or not, and veterinary treatments for the sick ones is simply unavoidable. Donations during the
summer are usually slim, as most people are heading off on vacation and are consequently strapped for cash, but the kitties’ needs remain the same, if not even bigger.

We managed to de-worm and de-flea all of the cats last
weekend, even the grumpy ones who despise humans and would do anything they can to refrain from being touched; nevertheless the procedures were completed successfully, leaving us weary, sweaty and with some serious scratches.

Now it’s about time for mandatory yearly vaccinations against rabies, and it’s a huge financial burden aside from it being the announcement of trouble, which will include a lot of running, scuffling and struggling with not-so-friendly cats -
although it would be fair to say that even the cuddliest, most affectionate and loving kitties regularly freak out when they see the vets. However, if we all end up with just a few scratches and bite wounds, we’ll definitely consider ourselves lucky.

It brings me to the point: if you are able and willing to help us accomplish anything at all this summer, please consider donating any amount, no matter how small, to our project. And if you can’t donate, we’d really appreciate it if you could do us the
favor of sharing and spreading the word. It’s well known that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something and Helen Keller brilliantly formulated this irrefutable truth “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”

Sunday, April 5, 2015

May You Have a Wonderful Easter!

Easter reminds us that hope must never be lost for as dark as the road may seem, there always lies light at the end of it. May all your dreams come true! We're wishing you a very happy Easter filled with joy, peace and serenity!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Long and Winding Road

We've been too quiet lately, not because nothing worth telling was happening, but because too many things happened and we really needed some time off to be able to fully comprehend unexpectedly good news and to digest the bad events.
Success and failure, joy and sorrow, light and dark, I guess that’s how life goes …

Last year was a hard but fruitful one, with many ups and downs, big dreams and even bigger worries, filled with countless interchanging moments
of pure bliss and deepest sadness, accomplishments and defeats. In light of recent sad, tragic events I can’t help feeling totally drained, exhausted, mentally depleted and tired to the core, however I’m trying to make some sense of what was going on. This story
might take a meandering path, even though it would be way easier to start it with the end.

The good news, which is not really news anymore for many of you but it doesn’t hurt to summarize, possibly repeat and emphasize, is that
some major shelter repairs were completed last year. The roof above the kitties’ rooms in the backyard was renovated, new gutters were purchased and put in place, the metal part of the roof extending over the newly made concrete path to the
supporting columns that were built last spring was also added. Transparent window blinds were put up to protect the sheltered area beneath the roof eaves and also the corridor below the renovated roof mentioned above from biting and frosty
northerly winds. Several minor problems were successfully handled and many issues addressed while the massive repair work was ongoing and we’re honestly more than thrilled for accomplishing so much.
Unfortunately, last year’s phase of shelter repairs lasted forever and it wasn’t until mid November that we began to think of raising funds for the first tank of gas for central heating. Things couldn’t have looked darker until the awesome Laura Simpson and her very
impressive organization The Great Animal Rescue Chase & Harmony Fund stepped in and managed to raise almost the entire sum needed in no time at all. Thanks to all of the wonderful people who responded to our plea for help, none of the Felix kitties even
noticed the severe drops of outside temperatures in December as their rooms were properly heated and pleasantly warm. The first shipment of heating fuel is supposed to last until the end of February and then we’ll have to find a way to raise the funds
for another gas delivery.

We’ve been quite lucky this winter as to snow so far, we had two brief snowfalls and weren’t snowed in just yet. However, I’m not holding my breath as we’ve been cut off from the world by snow at least twice
every winter since the shelter was founded and the cold season is far from finished. Right now the days are cold, sometimes sunny and bright, sometimes dark and gloomy. The ground is frozen in the morning and night temperatures are below zero, but maybe
this winter will be a dry one, even though I can’t believe we’re that lucky.

Over the last few weeks we’ve lost all three kittens that arrived from Belgrade where they had been living at a construction site. They were all born
with incurable FIP and I still can’t pull myself together. I took them in last autumn wishing to give them a chance at a nice, fulfilled and pampered life here at the shelter, but I had no possible way of knowing they were all doomed from the start. My brave little sweeties put up a hell
of a fight and tried to stay with me for as long as they could, but the dreadful and most feared virus affecting cats against which there’s no known cure always wins. The deadliest cat disease has claimed three more angels…

Sadly, we all know
that misfortunes never come singly and when it rains, it pours. My gorgeous black panther Njanja, who’s been struggling with health issues for more than a year, finally gave up the fight. After all of the injections, UV scans, various drugs and treatments that we
hoped would make him feel better, he was just too tired and worn out to be able to fight anymore. He passed away peacefully in his sleep and took a piece of my heart when he left. Even though I’m totally shattered and the world is hollow, bleak and dark
without him, I know there is now a new star shining in the deep blue of the night…

But life must go on, there will be many more heartbreaks mixed with delights, more sorrow and more joy, new challenges and new demands, but
those who had to leave to where we can’t follow just yet, will never be absent from our hearts. And somehow, together with all of the others who are still brightening our lives, they too give us the strength to carry on, even when we think we can’t endure
another day. It’s the start of a brand new year and we must look ahead with optimism and hope that this year will be our best year yet.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Let us leave behind sadness, regrets and painful moments and have a new start full of joy. We hope this year will be the year when all your dreams come true! Happy New Year 2015!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, touched with wonder and filled with love!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Has Crept Up On Us

This last month has been so hectic, stressful, joyous, worrisome and intense with work at the same time that I don’t even know where and how to begin a narrative. The most important and thoroughly awesome news many of you already know is that
we’ve finally managed to raise the funds for finishing the shelter repairs in the backyard at the last possible moment, thanks to the heartwarming generosity of our amazing supporter from New York who sent us $1,500US via Harmony Fund, and
also to the always wonderful Harmony Fund which chipped in another $400US. This year’s phase of repair work was just finished a few days ago; we’ll be facing the upcoming winter with new hope, less worries, more faith and not even the inevitability of several
frosty, snowy, gloomy months awaiting us is that dreary anymore.

However, it would be an exaggeration to say we now have nothing to lose sleep over, as we should’ve started to raise funds for the gas for central heating weeks ago, but simply weren’t
capable of dealing with two big problems at the same time. The gas prices have just gone up (which is not unusual for Serbia, particularly at the beginning of the heating season), so we’ll need around $2,300 USD for just the first tank of gas alone. And yes, we
know that maybe cheaper energy sources can be found and we’re totally aware that central heating costs a fortune to run over the cold months, we’ve been having the same problem year after year, but there’s definitely no other way to keep all of the
kitties’ rooms warm when the outside temperatures are well below zero. The additional problems in this part of the world are the strong, persistent, bitterly cold winds that chill you to the marrow, blow through every hole, drive cold air through every crack
and make the real temperature feel much lower than it actually is. Plus not to mention the uncomfortable truth that we were snowed in at least once, but usually a number of times every single winter over the past few years.
Taking everything into account, we came up with the brilliant idea to put up transparent window blinds (instead of those useless tarps we had) to protect the sheltered area beneath the roof eaves and also the newly made corridor below from the icy
northerly winds so characteristic for Vojvodina – all the while nonchalantly ignoring the fact we have no money to turn our irrefutably good plans into reality. The necessary materials have been purchased on debt and the work is more than half done already; once it’s
finished, hopefully less fuel will be needed to keep the kitties’ rooms properly heated. Even if it doesn’t happen, all of the cats are obviously enjoying their new sheltered spaces and most of them are not just watchers, but they’re active participants and
helpers while the work is still ongoing.

Nevertheless, nothing we’ve done so far ensures that the shelter kitties’ well-being won’t be compromised in the freezing months ahead. Our biggest worry is easily understandable -
winter’s in the air and although the cats seem to be relaxed while soaking up the rays in the yard, the autumn sun isn’t warm and we’re already getting some chilly, wet, gloomy nights. The electric heaters we’re currently using can’t warm up all of the
cat’s rooms and even though nice, sunny days that are becoming rarer and rarer still manage to keep our spirits high, many kitties are sneezing and sleeping snuggled up with each other, which means they’re feeling the cold. They do look content and happy in
the photos when they’re resting on the new roof beneath the clear sky, but it’s also possible they’re actually trying to warm themselves, absorbing the fragile heat of late autumn days… Long story short, the first tank of gas has to be purchased as soon as
possible although we haven’t got the faintest idea of how.

Is it possible to raise more than $2000USD on such a short notice? For some, maybe, but unfortunately we are usually not that successful. I know it’s hard to believe that
the cats could be freezing in a place that looks so nice and in which they’re undoubtedly blossoming, but they can and they will if we fail to purchase the life saving gas for central heating before the real fury of winter hits. Please, help us with anything you can
afford to keep a three digit number of furry, loving beauties warm and cozy in the only safe real home they’ve ever known! The time is rapidly running out! No amount is ever too small and it’s very highly appreciated!