MHAA Summer Newsletter Editorial
Jane Hanley, July 2019

Anyone who has been to Mid Hudson Animal Aid’s Cat Sanctuary, or to a fundraiser, knows just how extraordinary this organization is. MHAA has been there for thousands of animals in need: in the middle of the night; in the early morning; after a fire; in times of financial stress; at times when one more cat couldn’t possibly fit; and at times when only one employee could report to work that day.

Staff, volunteers, and board members medicated, soothed, tamed, and found homes for cats and kittens that were frightened and desperately hurt over the years. They saved as many as could be saved in minutes, during a fire in 2013.  They showed up at the shelter at 1 a.m. on the coldest night of the year in January 2002, conducting population counts and making sure all cats were present, after firefighters broke down doors and windows to get in.

They kept the shelter running while the Great Room didn’t have a floor, and carried on as best as they could, walking on plywood platforms. They celebrated triumphs while saving lives, and watching cats adopted that other organizations would consider unadoptable.  Many times, they were the last soothing voice and touch that injured and terminally ill animals felt before passing away, in warmth and comfort, far from the terrors that damaged their lives.

And the kittens: oh, the thousands and thousands of kittens that passed through those doors over the years!  I recall driving with two tiny, sick foster kittens on my lap from Cold Spring to the Poughkeepsie emergency clinic during a wicked thunderstorm at 2 a.m., only to find that they were dying from FIP. I was heartbroken, and I was never going to foster again…until the following week.

There were wonderful, caring, compassionate, and efficient managers over the years that enhanced the shelter and the lives of the cats. There were volunteers who showed up on holidays to scrub cages and wash litter pans. There were the hardworking board members (and volunteers), particularly the long-time board members Mary and Don Petruncola, who masterminded fundraising events, published newsletters, managed adoptions and finances, fostered cats during tragedies, ran Kitty Kompanion, transported cats, served on the board, hired and fired staff, cleaned the shelter, and showed up for the cats when their lives were too busy to fit even one more activity in them.  How was MHAA fortunate enough to find people like that?

That is what keeps our hearts attached to MHAA. We all remember the cats that won our hearts and then broke them; and the corners of the shelter population (the kittens, elderly cats, or the Feline Leukemia or AIDS cats) that kept us coming back.

But you, the public, are the constant. You are MHAA’s partners. You are the cats’ guardian angels. You don’t just donate; you give a part of your heart and a lasting commitment to a sanctuary that has never given up on its cats, or strayed from its mission to save abandoned and abused animals, even when staying open for six more months seemed an impossible feat.

Some things remain constant: for each cat or kitten we adopt out, two more come in. Veterinarian bills escalate, and there will always be a major repair needed at the shelter.  But you continue to give. You are the ones who come through in the end. You have been a part of a 36-year legacy of compassion and extraordinary care that we created as partners.

And that’s what makes MHAA the best. Let’s keep working together for the animals.