For Ed, the decision to go to a pet store or a rescue shelter was never a question in his mind. He believes that you do not go to a pet store or a breeder knowing that there are so many loving animals waiting for homes in shelters all over the world. He adopted his first cats from the SPCA, before he knew about Mighty Mutts & Ollie’s Place. Back in early 2004, Ed came across an article in the NY Daily News that talked about a new cat adoption center called Ollie’s Place. He read the article but didn’t really give it any further thought. Later that year, Ed found himself out of a job so he decided that he wanted to give back and volunteer his time. He was talking to a friend of his who brought up the idea of volunteering at Ollie’s Place. This past July, Ed marked his ten year anniversary being a volunteer for Ollie’s Place.
Throughout these past ten years, Ed has adopted numerous pets from Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place. Below are the stories of the dog and three cats he currently has:
Fred – Ed adopted Fred in November 2004, shortly after he started volunteering at Ollie’s Place. Fred was a “good sized”, orange and white tabby. At the time, he was somewhere around 3 or 4 years old. Ed remembers that Fred was in one of the crates lower to the floor. He told me that when he went down on his hands and knees to say hello, Fred came running from the back of the crate, head-butted him, and then started to rub his face against Ed’s cheeks. The behavior was somewhat strange since Fred seemed to be disengaged from other cats and people and would spend a lot of time in his crate. That interaction was enough for Ed, and Fred became his first adoption from Ollie’s Place. Now, Fred is a senior cat. Ed says “he follows me around, sits on my lap at night, and talks to me in his high-pitched, squeaky voice. He even begrudgingly shares the pillow with me at night!”
Daisy – Ed took Daisy home in October 2010. To Ed, this was the most unexpected addition to the family. It had nothing to do with him not necessarily looking for another pet. It is because Daisy was a dog – Ed’s first ever. A month before, Ed was volunteering at Ollie’s Place when Mighty Mutts volunteer, Irene, came in with her foster dog, Daisy. She needed to take care of something for only a few minutes so she asked Ed to keep an eye on Daisy. He fell in love. Not just with Daisy, but with Beagles in general. Before coming to Mighty Mutts, Daisy was taken from a home where people were being abused. Ed attributes Daisy’s fear of loud noises to being in that environment. After giving it some thought, and considering how having a dog would play out in the home, he decided to take a chance and adopted Daisy. He was lucky – he believes that his cats think of Daisy as a larger version of them and therefore they all seem to get along well. While he never planned to have a dog, Ed can honestly say that his life would not be as rich without Daisy. He says that she is the “sweetest and most loving creature he’s ever met.”
Sebastian – Sebastian and his sister Viola came to Ollie’s Place after their previous owner passed away and there was nobody that could care for them anymore. Since they had spent their entire lives together, the hope was that they would be adopted as a pair. This proved to be difficult as they were roughly 11 years old and it is hard enough as it is to get older cats new homes – let alone two together. Unfortunately, over time, Viola became ill and rather than let her suffer, the difficult decision to put her down had to be made. Sebastian’s loneliness was obvious to Ed. Having lost two of his cats at home, Ed decided that he wanted to give Sebastian a new home and new siblings to cheer him up. So in March 2012, Ed brought Sebastian into the family. He was immediately accepted by Fred and Daisy. In fact, as soon as Sebastian came into the apartment, Daisy went over and licked the side of his face – they have become good friends ever since. Ed says that Sebastian is a good cat, but is also the bossiest and has to be watched a little more than the others.
Terin – Terin is Ed’s newest cat. Back in February 2011, Terin was adopted by another family. While Ed was happy he was going home with someone, he always loved playing with him when he would volunteer. Last summer, Ollie’s Place received notice from the owners that they were going to return Terin (per the written agreement built into every adoption contract). Ed did not have the heart to let Terin go back into a cage so he talked with John and made the decision to adopt. Ed’s luck continued and the rest of his pets had no problem letting Terin into the family. Ed describes Terin as “very intelligent” and that he shows “just the right amount of defiance to Sebastian.”
Throughout his time at Ollie’s Place, Ed also adopted two other cats that are no longer with him. Both cats were older and had their health challenges. But, that did not stop Ed from providing them the love and support they needed – including the financial burden that came along with each. Jake passed away in 2008 after a battle with cancer. The other one was Sascha, a Russian Blue that was about 12 years old when he got her. She was found dumped by the side of the road. Ed knew that she had health issues, one that even led to her losing a leg. But, Ed continued to make sure that Sascha had the best life. She was about 17 when she died.
With all of the animals that Ed has brought into his home, other than the occasional accident in the apartment, there have not been too many challenges. He said one of the things about having both cats and dogs is that “when you have a dog, it’s like a game to keep the dog out of the cat food, but it becomes good exercise chasing them around.”
Ed’s passion, loyalty, and commitment to giving these animals the best life possible is clear. He is also deeply committed to the principles of Mighty Mutts and Ollie’s Place. He has always adopted older cats, which sometimes means more medical issues than a kitten, but he feels he is equipped to deal with those issues. He also believes “there is something special about growing older with an older cat or dog – they love you in a special way.”
Ed believes that having a dog or cat helps him stay grounded and focused on what is important- sharing love. He says that “even when you are tired, or beat down a cat or dog loving you just makes the whole world seem better.” In addition, another benefit for him is that having a dog means getting out of the house and meeting other people and their dogs. He has also learned to be more patient as a result of both the volume of animals he has and the various challenges he faces with the pets he brings in.
He knows that he will adopt again when the timing is right. Despite the rare frustrations with the various behaviors, the love and joy he has experienced with his pets are an important part of his history. They have left him to be more concerned about the well fare of others – cats, dogs, and humans.
He also feels that it’s important to adopt from an organization like Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place because these groups are the ones who give these animals a second chance and loving home. So many of them come in abused or neglected and they don’t trust people. Mighty Mutts helps these animals overcome that fear and they take the time to find them the perfect home to call their own. In his time volunteering for Ollie’s Place, he has seen so many timid cats that are emotionally scarred blossom into sweet loving animals that bring joy to their humans each and every day.