Monday, August 19, 2013

A Very "Happy Tail"

I  could hardly wait to get to the BARCS animal shelter in
Baltimore on Saturday to get my 2014 Orioles pet calendar! 
Every year the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) partners with the Baltimore Orioles baseball team to put out a handsome wall calendar featuring Orioles players and their pets, as well as adorable animals at BARCS who desperately need loving, permanent homes.  These limited edition calendars are a hot commodity, flying off the shelves at Orioles’ outlets and at the BARCS shelter as soon as they go on sale each August, with hundreds of people standing in line for hours to have their glossy almanacs autographed by several players who generously give their time for this important BARCS fundraising event.

I am so excited to share with you all the most recent news about my rescue kitty, Ember.  You will recall that back in 2011 Ember was set on fire as a kitten by a juvenile delinquent in Baltimore City. She underwent a long and miraculous rehabilitation under the conscientious care of BARCS surgeons and staff before being taken in by me in April 2012.  For the complete story and lots of photos, see my posts: Introducing EmberEmber Returns, Ember Update and Pawsitively Purrfect.

A few months ago a friend of mine, television journalist, BARCS volunteer and Ember’s original foster mom Cindy Wright, submitted Ember’s story to the creative team who designed the 2014 Orioles-BARCS calendar. There were thousands of entries for the judges to choose from, each describing a compelling animal story of heartbreak and redemption.  Only fifteen narratives would make the final cut (the 15-month calendar starts with October 2013) to become a “happy tail”, a small insert at the top of each month with a photo and a short paragraph describing a happily-ever-after ending.

Ember's story and photo are
featured on the September page
of the 2014 Orioles pet calendar
I learned on Friday in a surprise telephone call from Cindy that my little Ember was one of the fifteen winning entries.  Her photo and an accompanying snippet of her life’s story had been featured on the September page of the Orioles 2014 calendar!  So you can imagine how eager I was to visit the BARCS facility Saturday morning to buy a calendar depicting my little angel as hundreds of Orioles fans lined up to have their calendars, T-shirts, ball caps and other Orioles and BARCS-themed accoutrements autographed by Wei-Yin Chen, J.J. Hardy, Nate McLouth, Troy Patton, Chris Tillman and Matt Wieters. In fact, when the event ended at 1:00 p.m., the line of autograph-seekers still stretched down the street.  Big-hearted outfielder Nate McLouth insisted on staying until every calendar had been autographed, an extremely generous gift of his time.  His wife, Lindsay, is equally magnanimous. She volunteers at BARCS, walking and exercising dogs awaiting adoption. Now, there is a power couple worthy of admiration. 

My gray kitties, Underfoot, left, and
Elfie, keep loving watch over Ember
Ember is very comfy
in her protective
"kritter kover"
My little Ember may have to wear the protective shirts I designed for the rest of her life.  Her burn wounds have long since healed, but without a soft cotton “Kritter Kover” to keep her from compulsively licking the old injury sites, she creates new sores, most likely a result of post traumatic stress disorder resulting from her harrowing ordeal.  No matter.  Ember seems utterly content when she is wearing her designer duds, and it’s a happy alternative to the stiff Elizabethan medical collar she would be forced to wear otherwise.  In my care Ember has thrived.  She plays with my other two furry residents, four-year-old Elfie and eleven-year-old Underfoot, and scampers throughout my farmhouse in Baltimore County as if she hasn’t a care in the world.  And now, Ember can bask happily in her fifteen minutes (months) of fame, featured as a “happy tail” in the 2014 Orioles Pet Calendar.

Ember says: "Support BARCS!!"
Every penny from each $15 calendar purchase goes to benefit the BARCS shelter.  Get your 2014 calendar today by clicking here.  And be sure to look for Ember in September!

"You're not famous until my mother has heard of you."
~Jay Leno