Trash Cats and Dumpster Dogs: An Overseas TNR Initiative With Shawn Simons (And A Raffle Fundraiser)

You guys,

Today, I have a very special guest named Shawn Simons. Many of you know her as the former Headmistress of Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats in Los Angeles. She is now off in a seaside town called Saranda, Albania, learning to speak Shqip (yup, that’s what it’s called) and opening her heart to overseas cats and dogs who have no aid, no healthcare, and no homes. Her effort is called Trash Cats and Dumpster Dogs International Spay Neuter Initiative.

“Ah. A dead fish. I shall make it deader.” – Saranda Cat.

Albania doesn’t have many veterinarians, and the country isn’t very open to spay/neuter efforts in companion animals, let alone with street animals. Shawn’s program aims to help train local vets and provide these services to the animals who most need them. How did she get this started? One step at a time.

  1. Data Collection. Shawn’s volunteers separated into teams and divided the area into 6 quadrants. They took notes and photos of all the cats they encountered to get a good idea of the number of animals needing the services. They then added 40% to the number of visible cats and 20% to the dogs since dogs are less prone to hiding. They have currently identified 147 cats and 123 dogs needing services based on this method.
  2. Identify obstacles and factors in the size of the population. They identified which categories of animal such a roaming owned, roaming semi-owned, or roaming un-owned is creating the largest influx of cats. They also looked at obstacles like religion and social factors. Due to its previous communist regime, Albanian residents look more towards feeding people before feeding strays so the idea of caring for unowned animals can be a challenging subject to broach.
  3. Education. Shawn is focusing on educating the population. Cat owners need to understand the concept of sterilization and what resources are available to them. She’s also trying to provide animal welfare education to local schools to help influence future generations.
  4. Resources. Although money is one thing, manpower and government support are still necessary. Since Saranda has relatively few vets, and those that they do have are trained in farm animals, the initiative will focus on bringing in vets from around the world to help provide the spay/neuter services.

With these steps completed, the organization is meeting with the local government to create relationships and next steps. They plan to provide free medical assessments and sterilization to owned cats starting in the fall and will start trapping efforts later in the year.

If Shawn hasn’t already proven that she’s amazing with her past efforts (she has), she’s really impressing with this one. Taking a look at the steps above, though, we know that she still needs resources. Do you want to help? Think you’re too far? Think again! She’s hosting a raffle that you can win from anywhere. The prize? 7 fab days in the seaside Saranda Grand Hotel so you can get up in the action yourself. Each entry is $1, and they get cheaper if you buy more. Fancy, we know.

He looks happy. In reality, he’s really hoping someone will neuter him and make his life even better.

Uncertain about the location? Shawn says: Saranda is the gateway to the Albania Riviera and there you can find beaches that mimic Greece and the Caribbean. You have it all: beautiful beaches, fresh healthy food, friendly people, and a lot of homeless kittens!

ENTER HERE to help support Trash Cats and Dumpster Dogs Spay Neuter Initiative.

Any questions for Shawn on her ambitious and already-impressive TNR efforts? Comment below and we’ll make sure she sees them.



**FTC Disclosure: No payment was taken for this post and this blog has no stake in this raffle. It’s all for the cats and dogs of Sarande. **

UPDATED: Delia is Safe But Could I Do More and 30 Cats Rescued from Oklahoma

Well, I posted this morning about a doggie that I wanted to help. I spent most of my weekend trying to figure out how to help her and decided that, if I couldn’t find a rescue who would take her, I’d step up and foster her myself, with my tenant, as a household.

Then I got an email this morning stating she was safe; a rescue is taking her, and asking me to take down the blog post. So I have. But it gets me to thinking: how many of us put our money where our mouths are, so to speak? How many people love animals but don’t want to inconvenience their lives in order to save them? I know most readers of this blog do just that; you put them before yourself. I guess I do, too, every day.

And I hope that more people begin to do that. I guess not even just for fostering, but for life in general. What would be better for animals, the world, the environment, even our own health if we made more efforts to do the things that are right?

I guess I’m just thinking out loud right now. I’m glad Delia is safe. And through this, I learned something about myself.

And since you came here to read something, I’ll refer you to this:

That’s what I had the privilege to do last week. Have I mentioned I love my new job?



Cat Vows To Wear Chicken Hat* – Meet Leonardo Pescatore #ChickenHatProtest

You Guys,

Pinkle here. Today, I’m interviewing Mr. Leonard Pescatore. From what I understand, he has been in the shelter system for almost two years and therefore, he’s vowed to wear a chicken hat* until he finds a home. Let’s see what he has to say.

Mr. Pescatore during day 1 of his quiet protest

Pinkle: Welcome, Leonardo.

Leonardo: Thank you, Pinkle. It’s good to be here.

P: Tell me, Leo. What’s this protest you are staging today?

L: Well, it’s about finding a home. Tree House is great, but I’m searching for more permanent floors to sit on.

P: I prefer putting my ass on tables but I can understand your desire for your own floor. Continue.

L: I’ve been told I’m mildly less desirable to adopt.

P: Ah, it’s your face.

L: What’s wrong with my face?

P: Oh. No. It’s not your face. Sorry. Go on.

L: Well, I have what they call The FeLV, and I also have what they tell me is The FIV. My eye is a little runny, and I’m not big on too much touch, tho I am happy to sit beside you and get a good back scratch. And now, thanks to you, I also have some serious concerns about my face.

P: Your face is lovely. Very weathered. Like Clint Eastwood.

L: …

The face.

P: And where does the chicken hat come in?

L: I just needed a shtick.

P: And the asterisk? There’s an asterisk in your press release that says ” *for limited amounts of time and only at his own discretion.”

L: I can’t just wear the hat all the time. That would be ridiculous.

P: Isn’t that the point of a protest, tho?

L: What?

P: …nevermind. Anyway folks, Leonardo is searching. Find him in Colony 10 at Tree House Humane Society in Chicago. They’re doing great, cutting edge things for FeLV-positive cats, including some new guidelines on what kind of households can adopt them, so if you’re interested in meeting Leo, hurry over!

L: Yeah, hurry. I’m sick of wearing this chicken hat.

P: You’re not even wearing it.

L: Wasn’t once enough suffering?

P: You’ll be remembered by history.


PS Don’t forget Alana works at Tree House now, so she’s in the know! If you guys have any questions for her, comment below!