Shadow Cats’ TNR Heroes Give A Sad Story A Happy Ending

Shadow Cats Cat RescueWe all want sad stories to have happy endings, right? What makes a happy ending so powerful and so welcomed? I’ll tell you, it’s the long, nasty, depressing bit in the middle.  With a happy ending, the sad parts somehow get fixed, and the story is brought to a triumphant end. Simple, right?

It usually goes like this: First, you have some terribly unpleasant situation, a desperate and seemingly impossible situation, and then miraculously, out of the blue, something happens to make it not only right, but even better than you could have ever imagined. Think about most of the stories by Charles Dickens.

I am no Charles Dickens, and this story doesn’t have the wonderfully complex plot twists and turns of, say David Copperfield, but it is still touchingly sad, and it has that beautifully happy ending that would warm the heart of anyone. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Shadow Cats – Past, Present and Future

Shadow Cats Cat RescueWell, this is the second part of an interview that I did with Shadow Cats’ Director of Sanctuary Operations, David Murphy. We had a great chat the first time and there was so much material that I thought a second post was right there under my nose. David and Jacki Quaile, a Board Member and Volunteer, gave me such a great amount of information on volunteer opportunities in that first interview, but there was so much more.

David also provided me with a lot of very interesting information on the past, present and future of Shadow Cats and on the tremendous amount of effort that has gone into making the sanctuary the remarkable place that it is. The vast majority of the information in this second video interview was not included in the first. While I was deciding on how to treat the remaining material, I wondered just how many of Shadow Cat’s friends and supporters really knew about how it got started and where it planned to go in the future. Shadow Cats really has a great story to tell and a great future to live out. Please watch the video to learn about Shadow Cats’ past, present and future.

The famously camera shy President and Founder of Shadow Cats, Sheila Smith, won’t go on camera to toot her own horn, but thank goodness that we have David Murphy who has an encyclopedic memory of past milestone events for which Sheila is responsible. This amazing woman has done so much to improve the quality of life for these forgotten and abused animals, and by doing so, she has improved the quality of all our lives as well. I am a happier person knowing someone like Sheila Smith exists. The equally selfless and devoted David Murphy also talks about the great future plans that Shadow Cats has to give cats with feline leukemia. [Read more…]

Jackson Galaxy Visits Round Rock’s Shadow Cats

Shadow Cats Cat RescueMy mom, Marion Speasmaker, was a total, over the top cat lady. At one point she had quite a few kitties in her home and they were at all stages of temperament – at least toward us but not mom. Mom had a way with cats and could communicate with them in ways we just couldn’t understand.

She taught us a lot and her lessons prove true even today. One lesson she taught me was that when a cat is looking at you and then slowly blinks its eyes as you make eye contact, it is a sign of affection. She called these eye blinks “kitty kisses.” I was fine with that lesson. All my life, with all of my cats, I would try it out and it seemed to be true but, who knew?

One night I was watching, along with my family, Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat from Hell TV program on the Animal Planet network and I found out that mom was right all Jackson Galaxy Shadow Catsalong. Jackson was working with a difficult cat and the cat was hiding under a bed when Jackson did the eye blink thing with the cat. I couldn’t believe it. I jumped up from the couch and started yelling, “that’s what mom used to say.” My kids and my wife looked at me like I had three heads. After I explained the whole matter, they understood why dad got so excited and settled in to watch the rest of the show. [Read more…]

A Chance For You to Give Back – Round Rock’s Shadow Cats

Shadow CatsI truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society. Since periods of change such as the present one come so rarely in human history, it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier world.

– The Dalai Lama

We are all looking for that happier world, right? However, when we open the paper or we watch the news, we are bombarded by unhappiness on a daily basis. Some say this constant flood of bad news is making us all numb to all of the pain and suffering. I don’t feel that way. I think that deep down inside it makes us hunger for the opportunity to make a difference on a personal level but, what can we do?

We’re busy people. We are not only flooded by bad news, but we also feel we are painted into a corner by all of the other responsibilities we have. We have to work to feed ourselves and our families. We have to keep up our homes and care for those we love. Who has time to make a difference? Who am I that I can make a difference? [Read more…]

Author Gwen Cooper’s Book Tour Stops at Shadow Cats in Round Rock

Gwen Cooper and Homer the blind wonder cat at Shadow Cats in Round Rock TexasGwen Cooper, author of New York Times Best Seller Homer’s Odyssey – How I learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat, made a stop on her book tour at Round Rock’s Shadow Cats sanctuary last Friday evening.  She visited with her human and feline fans and broadcasted an internet reading of her most recent book, Love Saves the Day: A Novel.

Gwen was gracious enough to give me a little time on camera to talk about her new book and go into some detail about what all went into the writing Homer's Odyssey Gwen Cooper and Homer the blind wonder cat at Shadow Cats in Round Rock Texasof this sweet story. As Gwen mentions in the video below, this heart warming novel is about the challenging relationship between a daughter and her mom and how the main character, Prudence the cat, is able to help them restore their damaged ties.

Prudence, a rescue kitty, narrates the story.  Her insights into human behavior are just as entertaining as her confusion about just why people do the thing they do. The story is set in New York City which also adds greatly to the entertainment value. It is a great mix of mother/daughter turmoil and how Prudence is not only in the business of teaching them both life lessons, but also in the middle of her own struggle to make sense of the interesting things her humans do.

Gwen and her husband Laurence, who is accompanying her on the book tour, also spent a lot of time entertaining the Shadow Cats audience about the day to day experiences they both have with their blind rescue kitty Homer who is the subject of Gwen’s last book, Homer’s Odyssey. Homer is quite a character and, in spite of his blindness, leads Gwen and Laurence through many happy experiences ranging from how he gets along with his human and feline roommates to his eccentric tastes in food. [Read more…]

Shadow Cats – Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration

Round Rock Texas Shadow Cats RescueSo, I have to talk about my mom again, Marion Speasmaker. This woman, who passed away recently, was a cat lady and, no, she wasn’t a bit crazy. She was English, funny, tiny, willful, spirited and she had a HUGE heart, especially for cats. I have a picture on my desk that I am looking at right now of my mom holding this giant, ginger cat she called Sandy. The interesting thing about the picture is that it was posed and professionally done. She dressed up, grabbed her kitty, went to photography studio in London, UK, and had her picture taken with a CAT!! Can you imagine such a thing going on? This was also sixty years ago in war time England. Don’t you think she would have bigger concerns? Nope!! If you knew my mom, you would know that her family and her kids came first but, a very close, second place would be her pets and, especially, her cats. That’s where I got it.

I’m an animal person. Mom taught me a lot about animals but, mom didn’t teach me that they were cute and lovable. She taught me that they were living beings and Round Rock Texas Shadow Cats RescueGod’s handiwork. She taught me that they form relationships, respond to kindness and are repulsed by cruelty. THAT’s what mom taught all of her kids – all five of them. We’re all that way. My brother, Bill, stopped on Valley Mills Drive in Waco and held up traffic for blocks so that he could rescue a kitten that some jerk had thrown out of his car. Well, I think you get the picture so you’ll know where I come from as I write this article.

I bumped into a bunch of like-minded people at Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration this past Saturday. I spoke with several of the women there working at the Shadow Cats booth. I interviewed Dr. Ilse Black, DVM, who does spaying and neutering for Shadow Cats and Pat Dames, who does volunteer work for Shadow Cats. I also spoke with Sheila Smith who is President of Round Rock’s Shadow Cats. They were all kind enough to give me a few minutes of their time to talk about what they do. [Read more…]