How old are you?
I turn 3 years old in one week.
I have to ask, how did you end up being named Steve?
How did you come to your forever home?
The answers to these two questions kind of go together, so if it’s ok, I’m going to answer them together. My mom has been a foster mom for the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (one of the local shelters here in Upstate NY) for 5 years. In the middle of last summer, mom answered an email to foster an adult cat who needed a lot of extra care – meds to get through a routine URI, and post op care after a rear leg amputation. Can you guess who that adult cat was?! I got through my URI just fine, and while mom was waiting for my surgery to get scheduled, she and dad tried to think of a new name for me. They rename all of their fosters. They looked up cute names for tripods or names of famous amputees, but nothing was fitting and they didn’t want to keep calling me Mya. Then, one day, mom looked at me and said, “Sorry, Steve, that leg is gonna hafta come off!” (It’s a line from the Michael Keaton movie, Multiplicity.) Mom and dad both laughed and thought it was actually a funny name! It stuck! After my surgery, a few days into my recovery, mom had a migraine. She usually gets them, but the problem with this one was that it ended with her having vertigo. She went to several doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. As I recovered from my amputation, I could tell she didn’t feel good. I stuck by her side. I even sat on the side of the tub when she took a shower! She helped me feel better, I wanted to help her feel better. The day I went back to the humane society to get my stitches out, I got the best news ever! Mom and dad had signed my adoption papers! My foster parents were my furever parents!!
How long were you at the vet when you had your leg amputated?
My leg was amputated at the humane society that rescued me. I was actually only there for half of the day. They let me go home the afternoon of the surgery because mom has animal medical care experience. That was why mom asked to foster me. She had taken care of surgical patients in a hospital setting. She wanted to try it at home. She wanted a firsthand experience so she could better counsel clients on home care of their pets after surgery. How better to understand it than to go through it?
Did it take a while to adjust to life without it?
Not at all! My leg was useless before the surgery. It was bent the wrong way and just sort of flopped along beside me. It was in the way! The amputation got it out of the way and made me quicker! I think that made mom mad at first because I was climbing the baby gate when I was supposed to be on cage rest!! MOL!!!
How did your fursiblings react?
Well my slobbery brother thought that I smelled kind of funny. To be honest, I think I smelled kind of funny, too. Once Saxon realized I was faster, I think he saw me as an honest threat because he stepped up his wrestling game! And Spyder…well Spyder has been through the war. Nothing phases Spyder.
Have you caught the red dot yet?
No!! Have you seen it? Do you have any tips for catching it? It’s so fast and it can climb on the ceiling! Spyder ignores it. I wish I could show that kind of restraint!
What do you think of your little Yorkie fursibling?
Oh my little cousin? She’s got a mouth on her. She really has a lot to say. She doesn’t come to visit a lot, so as long as that remains the case, she’s ok. Mom keeps saying that Saxon and I could squish her if we really wanted to, but that if we did Uncle Mike wouldn’t be happy.
Question time for your mom, how did you get involved with animal welfare/advocacy?
I went to a lot of different colleges for a lot of different majors trying to find a career path that would make me happy. Then one day, five years ago, I had a heart to heart with my dad. We talked about my strengths and what really, truly made me happy. Animals made me happy. My dad suggested that I look into a job as a vet or a vet technician; but for starters, he said I should volunteer at a shelter. He said that the worst of the animal world is there, and if I’m willing to deal with that side of it, I would be able to handle the rest of it. I started at Mohawk Hudson and met the most incredible people who are willing to do anything to better the lives of homeless pets. I saw that those are the best people in the world, and I wanted to be one of them. -Amy
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced so far?
I don’t know if it’s being a part of the BSL argument, or being a part of the “adopt don’t shop” argument. The people who think that pit bulls are inherently dangerous are pretty stuck in their ways, but the argument is not so tough because statistics are on our side. Pit bull type dogs are great dogs, and banning what someone thinks is a single breed does not actually fix a dog bite epidemic. The “adopt don’t shop” argument is tough because it is not black and white. I don’t have an issue with breeding when it is done correctly, respectfully, and responsibly. However, I don’t know enough about breeding to be able to point to one breeder and say it’s good and another and say it’s bad. I can say puppy mills are bad. I can say most backyard breeders are bad. I can say I’d really prefer it if you didn’t breed your dog with your neighbor’s dog because they’re both cute and you think they’d make cute puppies. I can show you a couple of kennels full of cute puppies that no one wanted in South Carolina. -Amy
How did you overcome it?
Education is key. In this “business” you can’t be afraid to speak your mind. Someone is going to disagree with you, and that’s fine. You have to stand your ground and know that you’re right. Like I said with BSL, I know that I have statistics on my side. As far as adopting goes, the best I can do is give someone in the market for a dog or a cat some resources to look at. “Here are some websites listing dogs/cats/puppies/kittens available for adoption from a shelter. Did you know that shelters often have purebreds?” If they are still adamant about buying from a breeder, I can encourage them to do their research on the breeder. Never pick the first breeder you find out of ease. Ask questions, read reviews. -Amy
Is there anything you would like to say about yourself or Steve?
We know that adopting a special needs pet is not for everyone. We are lucky to have two here in this household! If you decide to adopt one, or of your regular needs pet turns into a special needs pet, remember that there are a lot of resources out there for you! Mom wanted to foster me as a challenge to herself, then fell in love and adopted me. She found Tripawds.com while looking for funny names for me and it turned out to be a great place to ask questions and share stories! You can learn from others’ troubles and others can learn from your troubles! The special needs community is just that…A COMMUNITY!!