SIDNEY — On a cold, gray winter day, a black and white cat found its way to a mail truck. It snuggled up around the underside of the warm vehicle as the mail carrier delivered a package to a house door.
Unbeknownst to the mailman, who came back and turned on the engine, the cat suddenly realized it needed to escape quickly, and so it tried to free itself and run away but got caught in the engine pulley.
The animal shelter is not mandated to take in cats, so Rachel Minniear, director of The Shelby County Ohio Humane Society (SCOHS), showed up at the scene and helped to free the cat, that had, by this time, twisted and turned to try to free itself without success. It was clear when Minniear untangled him from the pulley that he would need medical attention right away.
“A few years ago, a kitten was thrown out of a car by Lehman High School. The ODOT found her, and we took her as a walk-in directly to Flinn Veterinary Clinic,” Minniear said.
And so began a happy relationship between a pet rescue operation and a veterinary clinic that takes walk-in appointments in Sidney. That day, Minniear would take this cat, which she named “Pulley,”and there he would say goodbye to his leg.
“In the last year and a half, we started seeing SCOHS more frequently than we have in the past. They’re bringing us an animal about every other week now,” said Mychal Taubken, associate veterinarian at Flinn Veterinary Clinic. “Rachel has a series of people that will foster cats while she is in the process of finding them homes, and I think they come with her here just about every time she brings in a cat.”
Pulley’s situation may sound unique, but it is not. Despite the fact motor vehicles are noisy and move, cats nevertheless crawl into unseen spaces, particularly during the winter. That is why it is important for people to be vigilant and tap on the hood of their vehicles before getting in.
“It’s a combination of the vehicle being warm and it serving as a place of shelter to get out of the wind and cold. They don’t see a car as something that moves that could be painful or bad for them,” said Taubken. “They are looking for a place that they can curl up and hunker down and then let their body heat warm up their surroundings. If they can find a place that’s already a little warm, that’s an added bonus.”
When Pulley arrived at the clinic, he was seen by Dr. Greg Schmiesing, another veterinarian at the same clinic.
“Rachel brought Pulley in, and Dr. Greg Schmiesing had seen him as a walk-in. Pulley had an open fracture; that is, he had broken his leg and part of his bone was sticking out,” said Taubken. “At that time, Dr. Schmiesing decided it would be best to amputate Pulley’s leg.”
The procedure for an amputation surgery is straightforward, Taubken explained.
“You must cut through a series of different muscles and make sure that you tie off (ligate) all the important blood vessels that go to the leg. After that, it is mostly just putting muscles back together and closing the skin,” Taubken said.
Amputation recovery is quick.
“Animals do pretty well after leg amputations,” Taubken said. “Pulley’s was a back leg that we took off and they get around fairly well. Animals usually can stand up a couple of hours after surgery, and even run around afterward. Obviously, we try to limit that for 1-2 weeks, so everything has time to heal.”
Pulley had to wear a protective collar after the surgery that Taubken said was to stop him from licking and chewing at the surgery site.
“Animals will often scratch and chew at something that is painful,” Taubken explained. “While people tend to scratch areas after surgery, animals tend to chew at it, increasing the chances of infection.”
Several months after his injury, Pulley is doing much better, and his fur has grown back. He is neutered and is currently available for adoption.
“No matter what type of animals we take in, we always are sure to use funds to spay and neuter them,” said Minniear.
Cold weather is still in our area, so before spring breeding time approaches, Taubken said, this is the best time to catch and spay or neuter cats to help reduce the area’s feral cat population.
While Flinn Veterinary Clinic does not have a program per se for donations, if people want to donate, they should call and say they want to donate to Minniear and the SCOHS. They can also make donations that directly pay for specific customers’ pets’ needs or offer a gift card. (While there is not an actual card, the individual or organization is issued a credit on their account and the donor is issued a receipt.)
Additional clinics that take donations for SCOHS include: Oakview Veterinary Hospital, located at 3773 W. Brown Road in Piqua, and Tri-County Veterinary Service, located at 16200 County Road 25A in Anna.
Flinn Veterinary Clinic specializes in providing affordable cat and dog veterinary services. They are located at 2240 Wapakoneta Avenue in Sidney, and can be reached by calling 937-492-3422, emailing [email protected], or through their website flinnvet.com.
The Shelby County Ohio Humane Society (SCOHS) can be reached by mailing P.O. Box 203, Sidney, OH 45365, calling 937-658-4520, or visiting their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/shelbycountyohiohumanesociety.