Yesterday my day was consumed with following the news about a rescue friend of mine, Catherine Krzywicki, who lived through every dog owner’s greatest fear – a house fire with her dogs alone inside.
Thankfully a thoughtful teen, an aspiring firefighter amazingly, noticed the fire and contacted the fire department. If he hadn’t discovered it when he did, it would’ve been a much worse tragedy. One dog and one cat perished in the fire, and another cat went missing. Reports say around 17 animals were rescued, which I know is a shocking number of pets to some. No one who knows Catherine though, worries about how many pets she has (some are fosters and one she was pet sitting as she often does, by the way. Not all are her permanent dogs). We are just glad that these lost, unwanted animals have found a home with someone who will love them. I just want to emphasize here that these are animals no one wanted. She is not irresponsibly breeding animals and letting things get out of control. She is taking in animals that have no home, and likely won’t be adopted because they are sick and/or old. It’s a sad fact in the rescue world that there are far too many animals who need homes and far too few people caring for them.
Catherine takes in the elderly and sick dogs that no one wants and loves them more than most people love their family pets. She is one of my favorite friends on Facebook because of the photos she posts of her dogs -dressing them up for holidays, summer pool parties, whatever the occasion is. She was in my nosework class with her dog Spencer and I have seen her spend her whole day taking her dogs, on shifts, to the park for long walks. Her dogs, foster and permanent, are her whole life. I hate to see her being judged in the media merely for having a big heart. [Also, just to address media reports – her dogs have not gone to animal control nor are they going to rescue groups. Most have been at the vet and were taken in by friends yesterday to help her out until she can get back on her feet.]
At times like these, you have to look for the positive. The fortune of that teen walking by at that moment and the amazing support of the community who have now raised over $11,000 for her- really struck me. It shows that although terrible things happen to good people, when you’ve touched as many lives as Catherine has, you are never alone in times of tragedy.
I am in awe of the Cleveland dog community and so glad to live in this city with such passionate dog lovers. Although the outpouring of support has been immense, help is still needed. Several dogs are back at the vet and bills will likely be high. Fosters may be needed as well to help Catherine out until she can get back on feet. If you can help, there is a You Caring page set up for her: http://www.youcaring.com/catherine-krzywicki-and-dogs-360865#.VWcbo_uAkLM.facebook
A big thank you as well to the Euclid Fire Department for showing such care for these animals. Thankfully the department had gas masks for the dogs, something I am not sure that every department has.
I am hopeful one more positive thing will come out of this. I hope that others will be inspired by Catherine’s dedication to the animals in this community and look into fostering, donating their time or money to a rescue group, or adopting. Caring for homeless and forgotten dogs should be a community effort.