On our recent trip to Nicaragua for our mission trip and clinic, we accumulated quite a few crazy stories about the people and animals there, and situations we encountered. My favorite one from this trip though, has got to be the kitten in the tube. Mainly because it’s a fun story to tell, but also because it has a happy ending.
As we got started the second day of our clinic, it was a madhouse. We walked up to the clinic to a HUGE line of people and their dogs and cats. Dogs were tied to every fence or post imaginable around the school where we were set up, and there was a giant cluster of people around the gate at the front door. We waded through them and got inside and promptly started taking people onto the list for services/care. Within 20 minutes every day, our surgery line would be full – the need was so great, it was insane. It made me so happy that so many people there now see the value in spay/neuter, but also sad that we could only do so many every day and had to turn a lot of people away once the line was full. The clinic line though, would keep filling for the whole day, and Dr Deborah and Dr Pedro crushed it on that side with vaccinating and addressing medical concerns! So we started the day by filling the line, and once it was up to 20 animals, I moved over to the surgery side to start prepping with the team and performing exams on the surgery patients.
At this point, a younger guy pushed his way through the crowd with a giant piece of PVC piping – it had to be about 5 feet long – he grabbed Bruce at the front, and exclaimed that he heard meowing as he was waiting, and found this tube with a kitten wedged inside in the field next to the clinic. Bruce rushed the pipe over to me while explaining what the guy said, and I peered inside to see two tiny eyes staring back at me with a pitiful ‘mew’. ‘Oh my god,’ I breathed and immediately went into problem solving mode.
Bruce had a pair of pliers and we used a pair of our nail clippers to cut and pull the pipe apart and slowly worked our way down towards the kitten. It felt like forever, but it was actually probably only about 10 minutes until we were close to the little guy, and cut the entire pipe away so the opening was right at his little face, peeping out. He was so stuck – I have no idea how he crawled that far in, but he must have been terrified of something, and then got himself wedged. I tried to gently pull him out, but he wasn’t budging. Then Donna suggested some soapy water – so I soaped up his front end, and we gently tilted the tube and poured a small amount in behind him. After a few more tense minutes and everyone working together to suds him up, I was able to carefully pull him out until – pop! Out he came!
After a quick inspection, it appeared that he was ok – just a little scared and I’m sure exhausted, but unharmed! We tucked him into the crate we had set up with Kira’s tiny 3-legged kitten, and gave him some fresh food and water, and applied flea medicine. Now we had 2 kittens to find homes for in 2 days – great. But we couldn’t abandon him, so he became our charge.
Luckily that was very short-lived – the young man who found him had gotten back in line, and when he made it up to the front of the line, he asked about the kitten, and we told him he was ok! He had brought in his dog for care and had a cat at home as well that he was planning to bring in the next day (which he did come back the next day too!) – and he said he had been considering getting another cat, so was willing to take the little one! What a relief!! We asked if he had a name in mind, and he said he didn’t, so we asked if he would name him ‘Eddie’ in memory of Ed, the man behind our trip with his wife Cynthia, and also in honor of Donna’s husband Ed, since it was his birthday! He said sure, and off he went with ‘Eddie’ – happy life little man!
I’m SO glad we were there that day to help that little guy….it makes my heart hurt to think what could have happened if we weren’t. But thankfully we were, and that’s one more little life saved by our efforts – and getting him out truly was a team effort! Lots more stories to come, this trip was extremely grueling, but also so heart-warming and I’m so glad we went again to make the lives of the animals there just a bit better. This save is in your memory Eddie – we miss you, sending you love from your BCI ladies.