Weird. Fucking. Day.
Remember back when I said I was going to start volunteering at the animal shelter near my house? Remember when I still haven't done it yet?
Today a lightning bolt came out of the sky/the ceiling in my office and hit me - and then there I was, typing in the website for the shelter and saving their phone number in my cell phone.
Then, like, 15 minutes later, I was overcome by the urge to sneak a cigarette. For those who do not know me, I've been battling a nicotine addiction for approximately a million years. Lately I've been winning (unless we have a unit in training or I'm in Iraq - what is it about the Army that makes me want to smoke more?). So today, not training and not in Iraq, it was odd but overpowering, my need for a Marlboro. I walked down to S6 and hit up one of the civilians, who was happy to get away from his desk for a bit.
We walked out back and sat on the picnic table and talked about his impending divorce (that sucks) and why no one wants to live in New Jersey (true story). He smoked a second one (I didn't) and then we headed back toward the building.
"Hey, Sgt. Malibu, want to see some kittens?" I turned to see a MSG who works downstairs standing off in the grass near our parking lot. [It reads that way, but she really didn't sound so much like a pedo trying to lure me into a van as it looks here, I promise.]
"Um, ok?" I said, confused, and walked toward her. "Where are they?"
She pointed to the storm drain, hidden in the grass next to her. I peeked in, and at the bottom, about 4 feet down, three teeny kittens huddled together in the wet leaves. My heart melted.
"I called DPW [Department of Public Works] and they referred me to Pest Control - the guy is on his way here with something to scoop them out of there." She looked worried. "I don't know where the mother is, I think she may have been that cat that got hit earlier... and it's supposed to rain tonight and for the next few days. They'll drown down there, you know?" She knelt down and peered in. "But I don't know... I asked the Pest Control guy what he was going to do with them and he didn't really answer me."
Um. "What do you mean, he didn't answer you?"
"I don't know. But he's the Pest Control guy."
Lightbulb! "I can take them to a shelter that's near here. I was literally just looking up their phone number. Seriously."
She stood up, looking relieved. "Ok, want to go get a box then? I think we have some inside?"
We walked back in, got a box, sat back in the grass and waited for the Pest Control guy. He arrived a few minutes later with fucking Havahart traps (their spelling, not mine) and a long hook/pincher thing. It took a few tries, but by gingerly picking up the kittens with the pincher thing and lifting them up to the grate, he was able to place them in my hands so I could ease them through the grate.
They turned out to be smaller than I'd thought - little feet smaller than my smallest fingernail, and their eyes weren't even open. From torso to the base of their tail, they were about 4, maybe 5 inches. They mewed softly and found each other in the box and resumed huddling. Are they cold? I wondered. It's like 90 degrees out here!
"They can't be more than a few days old," said the Pest Control guy, perhaps rethinking his previous plan of
murdering "disposing of" the kittens. "You'll need to get them to the shelter right away so someone can start feeding them."
I nodded and said goodbye to the MSG (and asked her to let the others in my office know where I was going) and got into my car. I plugged the shelter's address into my Garmin and drove off post, glancing into the box every couple seconds. The orphaned kittens - two gray and one orange - remained wedged into the corner of the box, their faces pressed into each other's fur.
It occurred to me I should give the shelter a heads up that I was coming with three newborns, and it proved to be a good idea: they can't take wild animals unless they come from Animal Control (which Fort Dix does not have, evidently). The shelter gave me the number to the Animal Control for the closest country and I tried it: no answer, mailbox is full. Shit.
Called the shelter again to see what I should do now. She said the only other thing I could do was call the non-emergency number of the local police. Um, the DoD police on Fort Dix? Yeah, probably not. But I didn't know any other police stations to contact. I drove back onto Dix and parked in front of the DoD police station, carried the box in with me so the kittens wouldn't roast in my car.
The woman in the lobby (behind the bulletproof glass, that is) was surprised and very helpful, as were the police officers who came out to the main part of the lobby to peer into the box and coo at the kittens. They were able to get in touch with another county's Animal Control, who agreed to meet there at the DoD police station to pick up the kittens for transport to a shelter (probably the shelter I'd previously talked to, but oh well, I'm no stranger to slightly-ridiculous SOPs). I waited until they arrived so I could ensure the kittens wouldn't be destroyed (Animal Control promised me they wouldn't be unless they were rabid/whatever).
Drove back to work.
I know this picture is blurry, but I took it with my phone while I was driving to the DoD police station (pretty sure that's illegal or something). Anyway, here they are:
Also, and completely unrelated, I am pretty sure I broke one of my toes, possibly two. I walked around in pain all day.
"but now I'm dry of thoughts, wait for the rain
then it's replaced, sun setting..."
- Badly Drawn Boy "The Shining" -