Lilly Agar could not ignore the posting.
“Franca ... has become depressed at the shelter,” read the capsule description of a cat needing a home before Monday, when the Toronto Humane Society will close for renovation.
Years ago, when Agar noticed a neighbour’s dog slowly starving, she would volunteer to walk the animal and feed it on the sly. Eventually, she negotiated to buy the dog for $50 to properly care for it.
“Raise them like your children — that’s my philosophy,” Agar said Thursday of pets generally as she completed adoption papers for Franca, a fluffy white 9-year-old with a black patch over one eye.
Franca’s initial withdrawal into a corner at Agar’s approach did nothing to deter the new owner’s affections.
“They soon catch on,” she said. “They learn to trust you. They learn to love you.”
The Humane Society’s shelter at 11 River St., at the corner of Queen St. E., closes at the end of the day Sunday for seven weeks, part of a renewal process reached in a legal dispute with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Fifteen cats were adopted Thursday, said Humane Society spokesman Ian McConachie, leaving behind 35 cats, eight white rats and a dog named Mary Sue.
Adoption hours are noon to 6 p.m. Any animals not finding a home by Sunday night will be sheltered at the society’s storefront location at 2802 Victoria Park Ave., near Finch Ave. E., where a few other cats are also available for adoption.
Prospective cat adopters at River St. are directed to the second floor, where they can view cats and ask questions of staff members. All animals can also be viewed online at www.torontohumanesociety.com.
Once a choice is made, a staff person checks that the visitor knows basic animal care. Adoption forms are filled out. Although all animals are free, a $50 donation is suggested and health records are handed over.
“The whole process takes about half an hour,” McConachie said.
The white rats are in the basement. The shelter’s last available dog, Mary Sue, came close to being taken into foster care this week but plans changed for the interested person.
Instead, she left $1,000 toward medical care for the pet, who might need further surgery on a leg ligament before an adoption can be finalized.
Anna Oster picked an auburn cat that matched her hair colour.
“She can be my new twin,” Oster said, with a hearty laugh, of the 3-year-old tortoiseshell cat, Renata that she and partner Jeff Grantham toted away in a cardboard carrier.
“It’s heartbreaking that people can just abandon animals,” Oster said. “When we heard they needed to get cats into homes we just said, ‘Yes, we’re going.’”
“I’m soft in the head for fluffy things,” said Grantham.
Lydia Radewych had her eye on Nigel, a black-and-white domestic shorthair which has lived at the shelter for six years and takes medication.
“All my cats are special needs in some way or another,” said Radewych, who owns two cats from the Humane Society and has taken two others into foster care. If Nigel does not find a home by the end of the weekend, she and Mike Decarolis will take him into foster care as well.
“Special needs cats are different,” Decarolis said. “They give more compassion, I think. Cats that are very healthy and skinny are more independent. They do their own thing.”
“About a month ago,” Radewych said, “I was stressed out with school and one of my cats came and sat with me until I calmed down.”
**Taken from the Toronto Star