This is a somewhat long post but I promise it will be worth your time to read it clear to the surprise ending. Don’t cheat and skip to the end because then it wouldn’t make any sense.

For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28
Some of you are aware that we recently rescued a rescuer/foster…sort of. The unusual details of such are outside the scope of this post. Anyway, I was assured that we would only be bringing in “two or three cats at the most” and that the rest were “being taken in by other rescues.” When it was all said and done, we ultimately took in seventeen cats in various stages of physical distress and deterioration. Two died shortly after their arrival. We couldn’t save them. Others incurred life-saving medical expenses and medical expenses for some are ongoing. We don’t know how many cars may have died and were disposed of before we were notified of the mess.

This is where someone inserts the customary hope, smoke, and sunshine.

  • She did the best she could.
  • It wasn’t her fault.
  • Someone else was supposed to…

Hope, smoke, sunshine do not change the facts or excuse the guilty.

Fact: We did not create this mess.
Fact: We were told we would take in “two or three” cats.
Fact: Seventeen messed up cats were dumped on us.
Fact: The problem with the cats disappeared, the guilty avoided embarrassment and consequences…again.
Fact: The person responsible for this mess has some serious behavioral issues that need to be addressed. I will save that awesomeness for a future post.

Was I lied to? Absolutely. Someone once again blew hope, smoke and sunshine in my general vicinity. (I am being polite) Hope smoke and sunshine is nothing more than a lie when the story doesn’t match the facts and no matter how anyone wants to spin this story, our reality doesn’t change. An omission of facts is also a lie. We were not given the whole truth about the situation, those involved, or the true condition of the animals. As the old song says, “Take a load off, Fanny, and you put the load right on me.” Well, someone took a load off of themselves and put the load right on us.

Before anyone who has a favorite version of this particular story points a finger of blame at anyone else, please explain why that matters. Explain how the failure and refusal of anyone to fulfill their obligation and commitment makes it our responsibility to clean up the mess they made. Put that finger back in your nose where it belongs. Hope, smoke and sunshine do not change the facts.

While no one can predict the success or failure of an animal shelter/rescue/fill-in-the-blank with absolute certainty, potentially bad outcomes can certainly be anticipated and avoided. Over the course of many years WarmFuzzy’s has been asked to compensate for the folly of many others who failed either because they didn’t consider the cost or through sheer negligence. The word folly is used intentionally because the vast majority of these failures could have and should have been avoided with proper planning and management. The proprietors of said shelters/rescues/fill-in-the-blank failed because they  believed their own hope, smoke and sunshine.

Due to the folly of this last “rescued rescue/foster” WarmFuzzy’s incurred a long term debt of $17,000 per year and if that number seems incredible, I will break it down for you here and now. I told you not to jump to the end of this post, didn’t I? Pay close attention because here is where it gets interesting.

Please take the time now to examine the true cost of animal care at WarmFuzzy’s covered in this document.

I’ll wait.

Ten years ago, the ASPCA published this document estimating the cost of pet ownership. It refers to the average person owning the average animal with average expenses. Ten years ago they estimated a cost of $809 per cat per year. Obviously prices have gone up in the last ten years and WarmFuzzy’s does not typically care for the average animal under average conditions but you can get an idea of what the “pros” think it costs to care for an animal.

If you have managed to read this far and you have indeed examined the true cost of animal care at WarmFuzzy’s, I will leave you with this important tidbit of information. (Hint: This might be your surprise ending.) WarmFuzzy’s has been in operation for more than twenty five years and throughout those years I have funded the vast majority of its operations out of my own pocket. In the last few years we have received some charitable donations from many of you and we sincerely thank you for those but the fact remains that even still, we have been spending $38,000-$40,000 per year of our own money to fund operations. Do the math on that expense over the last twenty five years and you might get a hint of my reality.

So what?  So, I’m not getting any younger and I will be forced to retire soon. In fact, as I write this, I am currently unemployed and we have no income.  The cash cow that has nourished WarmFuzzy’s for years dried up and there is nothing I can do about it. Surprise! Those are the cold hard facts, devoid of any hope, smoke and sunshine.

So, what are we going to do here at WarmFuzzy’s?  What do you think we should to do? There have been times in the past when we sacrificed our own comfort and nourishment in order to care for our animals. Undoubtedly those sacrifices could resurface without fanfare because we made a commitment and we never quit.

This is the moment of truth, not only for WarmFuzzy’s but for you as well. We will once again deal with the mess dumped upon us and we would appreciate any help that we can get. After that, who knows. If you have made a mess, and I’m not just talking about this one, you need to fix it. Do it the right way or someone just might tell the truth and you probably won’t like that. You know who you are. Do the right thing and if you can’t fix the mess you made, the least you can do is apologize for what you did or what you said.

When confronted with her past failures and continued unacceptable behavior, the person responsible for the aforementioned mess chose to quickly relocate to another state. Will she create yet another mess? Probably. You can’t run from yourself.

Luke 8:17
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.


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About the Author

Joyce Ellis is the CEO and Caretaker of WarmFuzzy's Animal Shelter & Sanctuary. She was born with the vision, the Energizer Bunny who keeps going and going. She is Fuzzy1 of all WarmFuzzy's.

1 comment

  1. cab2016 -

    Ooookay. Not sure what the “surprise ending” was supposed to be, though. You and Joyce do what you can, and go above and beyond the call of duty for the sake of the critters. We outsiders do what we can to help you, contributing what we can, as we can. Most of us aren’t in a position where we can step up and help you with practical matters like doing repairs or taking a few of the critters off your hands. You’re getting older, as are all of us who are still above ground. I personally appreciate all you and Joyce do…no if’s, and’s, or but’s. Thank you.

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