Friday, April 29, 2011

Sponsor. Foster. Donate. Adopt. How to Help Stop The Killing Cycle.

Have you ever thought of becoming a foster?
Here at ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals, we do not get public funding, nor do we have a shelter. All of ORA’s animals are housed in foster homes, private homes, and homes of individuals like you who offer to help. We are funded solely upon private donations.

Feeding 130+ animals in our direct care costs us over $125 a day alone plus the additional costs of cat litter, other supplies and veterinary bills. It goes without saying that ORA does not get enough donations to cover these expenses so we must take the money from our own pockets, and still, we are very much in the red. We house the animals in private homes, but if there are no foster homes and no money, we cannot rescue anymore.

Why are animals being euthanized?
Animal Services are city pounds sponsored by public funding, and they are known to euthanize strays twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. This is a fact, and may not be entirely their fault, as it is also a well-known fact they have far too many animals, and not nearly enough cages or space to keep them in, while new animals keep arriving into their facility every day.

This happens when people do not adopt responsibly, when they do not spay or neuter their animals, and when they let them proliferate. When new owners cannot maintain impulsively made adoption commitments, many will abandon their animals under various pretexts. These kinds of people are the ones who are responsible for the killing of so many innocent lives!

Thus, the euthanizations will continue routinely every Tuesday and Friday if someone does not rescue directly, or adopt or sponsor through a rescue group. The Humane Society does not rescue these cats, for they, too, are inundated by animals that are dropped off at their door every day, and they, too, will euthanize when the numbers become too many.

The OSPCA, a previously well-known animal adoption centre, used to euthanize an unbelievable percentage of the animals that they received before they closed one year ago. The majority of the large, public organizations will kill healthy animals when they have too many. Some of them kill routinely.

The reality is that your monthly donations save lives.
Euthanization is the tragic reality and that is why ORA and other small no-kill rescue groups exist so that we can rescue and save as many precious lives as we can. Sometimes, we cannot save them all. So we appeal to people like you to sponsor, to foster, to donate and to adopt because these are the ways that best help us to save lives.

Rescue groups see the photos and the notices every week on the “URGENTS” lists, so we all try to save as many as we can, whenever we can. Nevertheless, that same week, many animals will still be killed.

Sponsor with a monthly donation today to help us to care for the animals we’ve rescued this week, to help us to rescue more animals next week, and to help us to continue our necessary rescue efforts every week, week after week, until euthanization becomes a thing of the past.

Claudia Vecchio, Volunteer Chairperson
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monte's Story

Monte looks forward to the upcoming rally at the HAC! Sweet Monte, who kicked off ORA's National Pet Month at, has finally been placed with the perfect adopter (Name Withheld). No cat, no matter how brave a hero he has proven himself to be, (see below for the tale of his rescue from the HAC), is an island unto himself, so he would like to thank those of you who helped him get where he is today: "mew!" (translation: thank you!). Happily ever after, Monte gets to bask in the warm sunlight again - this time, with his forever loving new owner.
"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man [cat] is what you do when that storm comes."
-A. Dumas; The Count of Monte Cristo

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals
(Updated May 27, 2011. 9:52 PM EST / 6:52 PST)
We received one sponsorship offer specifically for Monte today! Special thanks to (Name Withheld) for setting up monthly donations with ORA for him, which will greatly help with Monte's care needs at ORA until we are able to find him a permanent adopter. On that note, we are still looking for someone to adopt Monte at this time. We are also looking for additional sponsors for Monte's fellow rescues as well, so please contact Claudia at 416-726-5762 for more information about the other new cats at ORA this week. Finally, we are very pleased to report to you that Monte and all of the cats scheduled for euthanasia yesterday at HAS have been successfully rescued by ORA and other rescue groups. Thank you again for all of your support during this particularly emotional rescue. Have a good weekend, ORA members. ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals (Updated April 30, 2011. National Honesty Day. 2:11 PM EST / 11:11 PM PST) -- We are still looking for a permanent home for Monte. He will be staying at a foster home in Markham for now until we can find a suitable adoption match for him. We received a couple of tentative sponsorship offers for his care yesterday, but disappointingly, neither followed through with actual payment. Help of any kind, therefore, is appreciated for Monte, or for his new friends, at any time. If you would like to help, or know of someone who genuinely wishes to sponsor or to outright adopt one of our rescues, please let us know here on Facebook, or call 416-726-5762. ORA - Organization for the Rescue of Animals (Updated April 29, 2011. Arbor Day. 3:30 PM EST / 12:30 PM PST) -- We were finally able to find a suitable temporary foster home for Monte in Markham until an adopter comes through. I have received quite a few calls about Monte, and I really appreciate everyone's help. We desperately need money and sponsors though, as we will be getting at least 5 new cats checked up and neutered next week. With the additional food and care costs, well - you can just imagine! Claudia Vecchio, Volunteer Chairperson ORA - Organization for the Rescue of Animals (Updated April 28, 2011. Pay It Forward Day. 4:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM PST) -- Due to a sudden revelation by Penny Cooper from Hamilton Animal Services on Facebook, and some obvious miscommunication via email, it turns out that Monte isn't scheduled to be euthanized tomorrow anymore! That said, Monte is no less deserving of a rescue from the pound and eventual euthanization. So with your help, we plan to continue to try to find a more permanent living situation for Monte. ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals (Updated April 28, 2011. Pay It Forward Day. 12:00 PM EST / 9:00 AM PST) -- ORA rescued a number of cats today from certain death at Hamilton Animal Services today, but we couldn't rescue them all. There was one poor fellow marked for euthanization on the high-volume shelter's "URGENTS" list whom we regretted in particular that we could not save and take with us this time: Monte, a two year old long haired tuxedo cat who is scheduled to be euthanized this Friday. To all of the cross-posters and animal life advocates working hard within our Facebook network (particularly the local ones in T.O., Canada), please share and include this incredibly urgent message about Monte far and wide in your help lists today so that we may be able to save his life within the next 24 hours. Contact 416-726-5762 before 12 noon tomorrow for details to rescue Monte and save his life. ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Five-Fifths of Laura's Brood Turn 8 Today.

MEMBER NEWS. On this day in 2003, Laura, a pensive-looking black beauty, gave birth to a fine litter of kittens: Claire, Sara, Fifi, Dexter and Sydney. Estimated to be barely over the age of one in cat years at the time of her life-saving rescue, Laura was assumed to be an abandoned teen mom.

Shortly after the kittens were born, ORA’s volunteer team picked up Laura with Fifi and twin cats, Sara and Sydney, after having received a call from a suburban residence in Woodbridge, Ontario. Laura was memorably discovered on a platform high above the garage floor, bravely caring for three-fifths of her near-starving brood. Prior to their rescue, Claire and Dexter, having spent a couple of days away from their mother on the garage floor at no more than just two weeks of age, were arranged for an emergency drop off by ORA at a veterinary clinic close by. Claire and Dexter had to be revived by clinic staff before they could be reunited with the rest of their family at ORA. (Further details about the remarkable rescue of Laura and her kittens will follow in a separate post written by ORA’s founder, Claudia Vecchio.)

Since their rescue, Claire and the twins have gone on to find forever loving homes with carefully screened adoptive couples.

Laura, and her two remaining children, Dexter and Fifi, have been living at ORA for so long that they are now considered to be permanent residents.

With your help, we hope to be able to give Laura, Dexter and Fifi a belated birthday present to share and enjoy with their best friends and fellow residents at ORA: the restoration of the fallen Cat Den.

For more information, please contact ORA Volunteers at 416-726-5762, 416-726-8895 or

Laura's Story

Laura and her babies were rescued eight years ago from a garage in Woodbridge. We were alerted one morning to two kittens, approximately one week old, having been found on the floor of a garage in a Woodbridge home. The kittens had been there for some time and seemed to be stone cold and motionless. We arranged for the kittens to be transported to the nearest vet right away and we were very lucky because the vet technician working there was very experienced with kittens. With love, knowledge and care, she slowly resuscitated the two kittens. After their temperatures had been normalized and they were able to move around a little, the revived kittens were then carefully bottle-fed every two hours.

In the meantime, after further investigation, it appeared that Mom Cat and her other kittens were living on the rafters of the garage ceiling! We immediately made arrangements for two experienced volunteers to go in to the home the following morning to rescue the mom and the other two kittens and eventually unify the whole family. The volunteers spent many hours clearing away all kinds of storage items in the garage that were blocking access to the rafters, and to make matters worse, the owners of the home were very uncooperative. Hours later, the volunteers succeeded in clearing enough of a path to successfully rescue the three kittens down from the rafters. Once they ensured that no one else was left behind, they proceeded to get Mom Cat.

Laura, whom we later renamed Mom Cat, was absolutely terrified. There didn't seem to be any way to coax her to come out from where she was hiding: a sure spot that the volunteers could not reach! In the meantime, the owners of the home were becoming increasingly inpatient, insisting that the volunteers wrap up quickly and leave. By early evening, after numerous failed attempts to lure out Mom Cat, the volunteers seemed quite ready to give up. It took me many attempts to reason with the homeowners and to beg them to let us finish our rescue, and several more to exhort the volunteers not to give up!

By early evening, though, things finally turned around for our rescue team. Laura, enticed by the scent of fresh tuna, came out hesitantly from her heretofore unreachable hiding spot.

Some time after our successful rescue operation, Mom Cat and the five babies were reunited and eventually transported to a foster home where she immediately took to feeding all five kittens as if nothing had happened. It was an emotionally tough rescue for the cats and for the volunteers, but much to our relief, Laura and her kittens made it through.

Claireby was adopted the same year of her rescue by ORA members, Clara and Justin Speer, and has since moved with them and their older cat, Mao, out to Los Angeles, California. Dexter was also adopted, but returned after only two days because his new owners found him too "needy," or in other words, too affectionate; Dexter would never leave the side of his adoptive Mom. A few years later, Sara and Sidney were adopted together by an older Mississauga couple (who would prefer to keep their anonymity).

This is our rescue story of Laura and her kittens.

Claudia Vecchio, Founder
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Friday, April 22, 2011

"ORA et labore" for the Earth and all Living Kind. It's what we do here.

EARTH DAY, 2011. ORA. Our name, Organization for the Rescue of Animals, was selected so that its abbreviation would spell O.R.A. In Latin, ora means "pray." Working for the animals can be a unifying element for humans, above any social, religious or economic differences. When you work (labore) for the animals out of compassion and love, you are in harmony and in peace with nature.

If you don’t already have plans for April 22nd, please allow us to recommend a few Earth-friendly activities that you can do, either on your own, or with your loved ones, to honor and celebrate Earth Day this year:

-remove litter from public areas such as parks or playgrounds in your neighbourhood.
-pick up garbage from the ditches of rural or suburban roads.
-take a stroll with (or without) your dog in a forested region or conservation to better appreciate the importance of preserving green areas.
-take a culinary walk on the Vegan side under the sun, or by candlelight in the evening.
-educate and influence the youngsters in your life to reduce consumerism, to protect the environment, to preserve wildlife, and to share the space peacefully with animals.

Remember that ORA's essential mandate includes actively promoting for the preservation of wildlife and its habitat. By becoming more sensitive and empathetic towards the plight of animals in our modern world, we humans can learn to become more sensitive and empathetic toward each other, thereby eliminating many problems, and human suffering, caused by intransigency and insensitivity. This credo, universally shared by our members and volunteers alike, is the foundation of all of ORA’s actions and intentions.

Happy Earth Day, from your fellow Earth Warriors at,
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

"Let us learn to live in harmony with urban wildlife: squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and so on. They were here before us. The deed to our house does not entitle us to evict, trap, or worse, kill them. We are here to share the earth with the animals, so let us respect and care for them."
-Claudia Vecchio

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spencer retires from ORA's Work, but not from Life.

MEMBER NEWS: ORA’s well known “demo dog,” Spencer, an eleven year old Australian Shepherd mix, was recently diagnosed with Cushing’s Disease (hyperadrenocortism). Dogs can live several years with Cushing’s, though, and ORA has no intention of losing Spencer before his time. To that end, Corinne and Claudia are working tirelessly with vets to find the right treatment that will control Spencer's disease and improve his quality of life long-term.

As loving pet advocates, we may be at least somewhat biased, but we really mean it when we say that Spencer is a genuinely good dog. Claudia and Corinne fondly remember taking Spencer with them into local area schools to talk to students about animal rights, and to espouse the need for truly committed pet ownership. Spencer never, ever minded being admired and petted by so many children, and he especially loved to be hugged!

On another occasion, Spencer spent a memorable day at Humber College's fundraising program sitting quietly next to Corinne. He was a good student for most of the day, except when he got bored in one class, and started snoring... We’re sure Spencer picked a good one to nap through, though.

For many years now, Spencer has proudly been ORA’s one and only demo dog at countless pet nutrition seminars and other fundraising events organized by ORA. He has also participated in several demonstrations emphasizing the benefits of massage, Reiki and Tellington TTouch® on animals. He is such a great dog, and his near celebrity presence at future ORA events will be keenly missed.

Dogs can live for several years with Cushing’s, and we hope that Spencer will be one of the lucky ones. In the meantime, multiple diagnostics and vet visits are crushingly expensive. ORA spent over $600 for just one day’s worth of diagnostics last Friday. Spencer has since returned to the vet for a blood test on Tuesday, and is already scheduled for another consultation this coming Monday. Hundreds more dollars in bills to come.

That said, ORA will not let Spencer go untreated, and we hope that you won’t, either.

If you’re a friend of Spencer’s, please feel free to contact Corinne at 416-726-8895 to find out more about his condition, as well as news about his treatment. If you would like to offer Spencer your personal and immediate assistance directly via sponsorship or donations, please call Claudia at 416-726-5762.


ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love Gigi, and the World is Yours!

National Volunteer Week 2011. ORA gratefully acknowledges each and every one of our volunteers, participants, donors and friends at ORA: thank you! Today we invite you to fall in love with a sweet little pug / poodle cross at ORA. "She's a babe! Just a babe!" at just a little over one year old, but Gigi's more than ready to share a lifetime with you. For more information, please call Claudia @ 416.726.5762.

‎"Those little eyes, so helpless and appealing, when they were flashing, send you crashing through the ceiling. Thank Heaven for little girls!" -Honore Lachaille (Gigi, 1958)

Credit: CHS

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Layla's Story

It was on a Monday morning when David, a structural engineer and one of the owners of Land Construction Company Ltd called ORA to ask if we could take in some cats that were roaming inside a vacant building on the east side of Scarborough. His crew had noticed two or three cats that were appearing mostly in the late afternoon, and since Land Construction had been hired to board up the building, they were concerned about those cats living in the building. They offered to deliver the cats to our residence. We agreed to take in the cats, but how were they planning to capture them? Were they domesticated? From a few questions, it became apparent that we were dealing with feral cats. The construction workers had fed the cats regularly since they first saw them, but they could not get to them.

I asked and obtained permission to access the building with other ORA volunteers to trap the cats. The day after, three of us went to the building armed with traps and lots of tuna. As soon as we saw the interior of the building we were disheartened. The building was quite large with a lot of rooms; it was difficult to decide where the traps would be the most effective. Also, there were so many spaces and holes where cats could hide: a real heaven for feral cats!

But what cat can resist the smell of tuna? After only three hours we successfully trapped a young kitten. However the lady who was carrying the trap toward the exit, suddenly felt the trap getting lighter and before she could realize what had happened she saw a kitten running away at the speed of light. The kitten had succeeded in escaping from an opening not bigger than one and a half inches from the back of the trap. The gap was tied up and the trap reset. Nothing happened for a full day. The following afternoon we received a call from the site informing us that two cats were in the traps. We rushed to pick them up and to take them to the vet to be checked, vaccinated and spayed/neutered. One of the cats was the mother cat. We named her Layla, a beautiful tortoise shell cat, probably less than one year old. The second cat was one of Layla’s kittens, a gorgeous orange tabby, approximately three to four months old that we named Percy.

We knew that there was at least another cat in the building, the one that first escaped, but we could not get her back. The workers learned to activate the traps every morning and then they would tie them back at nights before leaving so that the cats would become accustomed to eating inside the trap.

Three full days went by and we took a few daytime and evening trips to the building, but there were no more sightings of the kitten. She would eat the tuna during the night when the traps were tied back, but not during the day when they were activated. Finally, four days after the mother and the sibling were taken, we got her: Mimi, a tabby/calico and exceptionally smart kitten. We left the traps for another four days just to be sure that no other cats were in the building. After four days in which the food was left uneaten we concluded that we had all the cats. The workers finished the boarding of the building and we started the socialization process of the three cats.

With Mimi it did not take long. She is watching the other cats in the household and learning how to use the scratching posts, how to politely ask to sample human food and how to entertain herself with all the cat toys. She is really showing her joy at being part of the domesticated cat population. Percy is less responsive, he is very reserved, but follows his sister and takes directions from her. They are both absolutely adorable and they are now ready to be adopted. For their mother Layla, it will take a bit longer. She was obviously on her own for awhile and she had learned to fear people; for her the change is very radical.

We want to express here our deepest gratitude to the members of Land Construction Company Ltd for their assistance and their help in saving these cats. We hope that their example of compassion towards the animals will be imitated by more builders and construction workers who in their daily activities encounter and displace all kind of animals.

Claudia Vecchio and Corinne Thaw
ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals

Monday, April 11, 2011

Daisy Got Away

Daisy, shown below, is, in fact, no longer available for adoption, but her sisters, her momma, and many of her friends at ORA are still seeking forever loving homes. If you've finally moved out of the apartment that doesn't allow pets into one that does, please call 416-726-5762 or 416-726-8895 to set up your very first ORA pet adoption today!

Jay Gatsby: "Why? Why didn't you wait for me?" Daisy Buchanan: "Because, rich girls don't marry poor boys, Jay Gatsby. Haven't you heard? Rich girls don't marry poor boys."

Credit: CHS

ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals