Meet Scrapper ~ Our Humane Society Story
Scrapper Helps Heal Our Broken Hearts
On July 6th 2009 our family lost our cat Kitty Wompuss when he was hit by a car. Our hearts were broken, but the loss was especially hard for our 12 year old Pit Bull Koko.
We never realized how deeply a dog could mourn the loss of the family cat. Koko became terribly depressed, she searched daily for her Kitty, whining because she couldn't find him. She spent hours just staring at the door, waiting for him to return. We got so worried about her that we took her to the cabin in hopes of taking her mind off it.
It worked for the week we spent at the cabin, but as soon as we returned home, Koko started looking for Kitty Wompuss again. We considered getting her a puppy, and still probably will in the near future, but thought it best to get her a new cat first.
I was checking the different pet adoption sites, looking for another Maine Coon cat, when I saw Scrapper on the Woodbury, MN Humane Society site. As soon as I saw him I knew he was the one.
Let's Start At The Beginning
Koko is a Rescued Pit Bull
12 years ago we had a cat named Scrivner. He was a mostly outdoor unaltered Male, a total Tom Cat. Sometimes gone for days, often coming home with battle scars from fighting.
One day he came home really torn up, but then soon disappeared again. That time he never came back. We searched the neighborhood for him and then decided to take a drive over to the local Humane Society and the Animal Control Center, which in St. Paul are right next door to each other.
While we were at the Humane Society asking if anyone had turned in our cat, a Hispanic couple came in with a pit bull puppy. Their English was limited, but the woman at the Humane Society managed to tell them to bring the puppy next door to the Animal Control Center.
Back then the Humane Society did not accept so-called bully breed dogs. We knew that if the couple surrendered the puppy at Animal Control that it would be put down, so we followed them out and asked them to give us the dog instead. Between hand gestures and my very limited Spanish, we were able to convey to the couple that the puppy would be killed at Animal Control.
The woman gave me a phone number where I could call someone who spoke English to find out more about the puppy, and told us the puppy's name was Koko. Once we got Koko home, I called the number and spoke to the woman's cousin who told me Koko was between 4 & 5 months old.
She also told me that Koko came from a puppy mill, but was thrown out because her mother accidentally mated with a Rotweiler as well as another Pit bull, so the entire litter was spoiled. She also told me that her cousin had kept the puppy hidden in a closet of her 3rd floor apartment for months until the landlord threatened to evict them.
Our Love Puppy
When we first brought Koko home, we really didn't know much about Pit Bulls, other than the horror stories you hear on T.V.
12 years ago, when we first brought Koko home, there was no google or Wikipedia, so we went to the library and checked out books about Pit bulls. With small children at the time, we were really glad to learn that most of the horror stories about Pit bulls were the exception and not the rule.
We learned that Pit bulls were once America's favorite dog breed. That the dog from the "Our Gang" show was a Pit Bull and that in reality Pit bulls are very good with children. We learned that just like with any breed, that the pit bulls from the horror stories were dogs that had been abused and trained to be aggressive.
Pit bulls natural personalities are friendly and gentle, so with what we had learned we raised Koko with love and after 12 years, she has proven to be the most loving and gentle dog I have ever had.
We had a friend who was in Veterinary School at the University of Minnesota, who spayed Koko for free as part of her training. As soon as Koko lost all of her baby teeth and stopped chewing up everything in our house, she settled in as a central part of our family.
Still, because she had been neglected as a puppy Koko has had some issues related to that. She hides food, just in case we suddenly decide to stop feeding her. She has separation anxiety and still tears things up if she is left alone for more than short periods of time. She was never potty trained before we got her, so it took us years to get her potty trained, and she was a poop eater, but now she only indulges occasionally in the winter when it's frozen. We call them Poopsicles and she always comes in looking really guilty after she's done it.
Koko Gets A Kitty
Koko was an only pet for 10 years.
Because Koko was neglected as a puppy, we didn't get any other cats or dogs for years, mostly just spoiling Koko rotten with lots of love. When Koko was 4 she got Lyme's Disease and after that she started having problems with her hips and arthritis.
Then 2 years ago, we had developed a mouse infestation and we knew that just having the scent of a cat in the house would fix the problem better than traps or poison that Koko could accidentally ingest. So we decided to adopt a cat. We prepared Koko while we were looking, letting her know that we were getting her a kitty.
Kitty Wompuss was 4 month old when we brought him home. After only 3 days of keeping them separated, they became the best of friends. Kitty established that he was the Alpha pet and Koko gladly followed.
Koko often pretended not to care one way or the other about Kitty Wompuss, but a real bond existed between them anyway.
Koko and Kitty Wompuss were never snuggly, but they enjoyed each other's company. Kitty enjoyed terrorizing her and Koko enjoyed ignoring him.
Kitty Wompuss was an indoor/outdoor cat, which of course we now regret, but he really did love to hunt. He would bring live bunnies home for Koko and they would chase them together in the yard. Koko really enjoyed that, since she was too old and chubby to catch them herself.
When Kitty Wompuss died, it was as if the whole World stopped turning...I cried for days. Koko of course didn't understand what was going on, but she knew he was gone...she kept looking for him and nudging me with her nose to go get him for her.
Pet Loss Affects the Surviving Pet
We had no idea that a dog could grieve the loss of another pet so profoundly.
Koko went into a depression after the loss of Kitty Wompuss. She spent hours every day staring at the door and whining, waiting for him to return. She searched for him all over the house and all around the yard.
Since she is an elderly dog, 12 years old is 84 in dog years, we became pretty worried that she was becoming more upset as each day passed and not better. Even though we had decided not to bring her to the cabin this year because of her age, we changed our minds and took her in hopes of helping her get her mind off the loss of her kitty.
It seemed to work, she was very happy at the cabin, but she wore herself out quickly and by the end of the week she could barely stand. Still, she was happy again, even exhausted...until we got home.
As soon as we got home, she immediately started looking for her cat. She returned to spending her days staring at the door and waiting for him to come home. It just about broke our hearts all over again.
Adopting A New Cat
My husband wanted to adopt a new cat right away, but I was too heart broken to even discuss it.
After we returned from the cabin and saw that Koko wasn't getting better, we decided that even if I wasn't ready yet, Koko was.
Still, I had some conditions that my hubby had to agree to first. He felt it was mean to force a cat to stay indoors all the time, but I countered that it was way meaner to let one out to get hit by a car and killed. So we now have a screen door to keep the new kitty safe, and he will be a completely indoor kitty.
Two days after returning home from the cabin, I went to the Humane Society website and found our little Scrapper. Before going to the cabin, I had been looking online for another Maine Coon like Kitty Wompuss was, but they were either too expensive or already adult cats.
We actually weren't expecting to find a baby Maine Coon, but there he was a little 8 week old kitten with all the right markings. He wasn't at our St. Paul Humane Society, but Woodbury was just a short drive away, so I called to see if he was still available.
My heart almost broke all over again when the woman on the phone said a little girl was holding him, but she told me to hang on and she would ask the parents if they were interested in adopting him. I said a little prayer while I was on hold. Then she came back on the line and assured me that he was still available. I asked her to hold on to him, because I was on my way to get him.
The Woodbury Minnesota Humane Society
I had never been to the Woodbury, Mn Humane Society before and had a little trouble finding it, but was pleasantly surprised when I did. It was very clean and the staff was very friendly and helpful.
It was Saturday and full of people visiting and adopting new pets, so at first I was worried that someone else might have adopted him while I was driving over. Soon though, I was holding him and totally in love.
The adoption process was fast and easy and I was really amazed by how thorough they are there. The young woman who processed the adoption informed me about all of the shots he had been given, what tests had been done and the results and even made sure I had medication he would need.
He came home with me neutered, micro-chipped and with a free bag of kitten food. The humane Society even pays for you to take your new pet for it's first check-up if your Vet is on their list. The adoption fee was way less than what I had paid for Kitty Wompuss to get neutered, micro-chipped and his shots & tests.
All in all, I would highly recommend pet adoption from the Humane Society. It was a much nicer experience than the agency we got Kitty Wompuss from.
Koko's New Kitten
The adjustment period between Koko and Scrapper took a bit longer than with Kitty Wompuss, but Kitty was 4 months old. Scrapper took almost a week to come out of the safe room by himself, and a few more days to warm up to Koko.
Koko has been amazing, moving very slowly around Scrapper so she doesn't startle him and patiently waiting for him to come to her. He of course, thought she was a giant monster at first.
Now they are just starting to get a rhythm going with each other. Scrapper has already established that he is the Alpha pet and is already bossing her around, and Koko is just happy as can be to let him. She knows he's not Kitty Wompuss, but she is no longer whining and waiting for him to come home.
Our Little Scrapper
We named him Scrapper because he is such a feisty little kitten. He is definitely a whole different cat than Kitty Wompuss was.
Kitty Wompuss was a very quiet and snuggly cat and even though he was quite the hunter, he really wasn't a very aggressive cat. Scrapper is a very verbal and bossy little guy. He is very aggressive and loves to play.
We're really happy that he has established his unique personality so quickly. Koko is feeling happy again and back to pretending like she doesn't care one way or the other about the cat, but she has the spring back in her step.