Couple's kindness noticed
Caring for strays touches hearts across the USA
October 07, 2009
EMMETT — When Nancy Lottie told her story of caring for four-legged victims of foreclosure, the last thing she expected was national attention.
But that's just what the mom and grandmother got when the story that ran in the September 23 issue of the Tri-City Times was picked up by the online journal The Huffington Post.
The day after the story ran, Nancy and her husband Gene were encouraged by a Tri-City area resident who called to suggest a solution to the problem.
The problem? An abundance of stray cats who were left behind when their owners lost their homes. The cats—and their offspring—wandered over to the Lotties in search of food. Since they already had six barn cats of their own, Nancy couldn't turn the hungry cats away. She put out enough food for all of them.
The proposed solution? The caller volunteers at Paradise Animal Shelter in Columbiaville and she hoped they'd be able to find room for some of the cats the Lotties were feeding and caring for.
"That was encouraging," Nancy says. "I was really glad that she saw the article and thought we were on our way to a solution."
As it turns out, Nancy was right—sort of. By Friday, the Lotties were fielding calls from Florida to California—all from concerned citizens who wanted to send donations. They also received gift cards to pet supply stores totalling about $350, and a $25 money order. All this because someone at the Huffington Post picked up the story, quoting Nancy and the Tri-City Times.
The "Huffpo" piece also brought numerous emails to the Tri-City Times' inbox, all offers of help.
"This has been way, way past my expectations," Nancy says. "Here I thought it would just be a little article and we'd get people to adopt them out. I had no idea how many people would be touched by this story."
Surprised by the offers of help and donations, Nancy says she's hoping to turn the funds and gift cards over to whichever shelter will take the animals.
As it turns out, Paradise can't take in cats right now because they're dealing with a temporary quarantine of six felines. While they have other pets that are healthy and ready for adoption, the shelter must await veterinarian clearance before taking on new cats, says Larraine Edwards, treasurer and volunteer.
"I know that this inhibits our ability to bring in other surrenders," Edwards says. "When you are able to obtain (financial) donors, I also know it's important to act immediately."
Though she was hoping to turn over the donations and some cats to Paradise, Nancy began making phone calls to seek an alternative. As of Tuesday, it appears Animal Welfare Society of Southeastern Michigan will be able to take four kittens and one adult and more as those get adopted out. The only stipulation is that one cat from each litter be tested for feline leukemia.
In the meantime, several callers from around the country are waiting to send donations—they just need to know who to make the check out to and the Lotties are still spending about $100 a month to feed the strays. All donations will go to Animal Welfare Society.
Though the goal is to place the cats in shelters where they can be spayed and/or neutered to thwart the growing problem with strays, Nancy says she's heartened by the support she's received from total strangers.
"The other day a woman named Janet who lives on Donald Road in Capac not only offered the phone numbers to call (including Animal Welfare), she said she would do anything we needed to help out. This is so nice of her."
That offer included feeding the cats so the Lotties could have a break, running errands for pet food and posting the offer for kittens at her workplace in Troy.
"She said she thought what we were doing was marvelous, but I feel we're doing what anybody else would do," Nancy says.
Anyone interested in adopting a kitten or offering help or advice can contact the Lotties at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 810-395-7071.