I was having a good day yesterday. Lots of little positive things. Then I got word that a cat named Tang had successfully been transferred from his humans to a rescue. That news was the capstone of the day.
Two weeks ago, Tangs owners contacted me. A married gay couple, they both had serious, unexpected health crisis at the same time and ended up in long-term rehabilitation. This left their two beloved cats, Simone and Tang, home alone. Friends were feeding them, but their dads knew the cats needed new homes.
They reached out to me, I reached out to others. Simone was rehomed first, then Tang went to a nearby rescue where he will remain until he’s adopted.
On Friday, I saw a Facebook post from a Northside neighborh – her younger cat was pestering the much older one and ended up with a bite.
We all know how hard unplanned vet trips can be, especially after the holidays when the furnace is churning away. I connected with Mittens’ human. We were able to get him into a local urgent care where he was examined, given antibiotics, and a cone. He’s going to be fine. And he won’t be left unsupervised around his elder sister.
For Simone and Tang, we hope to raise another $150 to ease their transitions. For Mittens, we’ve raised $200 so far. When folx are able, I ask them to participate or at least permit a crowdfund to raise awareness and to share the financial obligations. It isn’t viable to do this for every situation and we can’t run non-stop crowdfunds, but PLC is now establishing a matrix to determine when we should and how we do that.
This is part of the reason I established Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities – to hold myself accountable to other board directors and through financial reporting. It is very easy for allegations of malfeasance to take on a life of their own. While I feel I’ve earned your faith, I want you to expect more than my reputation when you donate.
I want you to expect results. My wife took me out to breakfast on Friday and I spent a lot of that time on the phone helping Mittens. The previous Saturday, I spent several hours moving pieces of a donated shed into a storage unit. Then I sat in the ER vet office for five hours for our cat (she’s okay). The chair in our living room is filled with cat food donations from a 10-year-old neighbor who did a drive among her family and friends. I have a dog bed wedged behind a cat tree in the kitchen to keep it off the ground. It is all going to the storage unit on Friday (not the food.)
Right now, I’m sifting through opportunities to table for #ProtectTransKids. My wife is so patient.
But someone posted some unkind comments about me on Facebook including references to my copious crowdfunding.
It is easy to dump on me. I’m a slightly moving target, but I am a white cisgender middle-aged, middle-class woman (thanks to my wife) with a master’s degree and a lot of opinions. I’m relatively new to setting boundaries and still wince when the fallout hits. I understand how white privilege has shaped my life and that there are many ways I still have to figure it out. I wrote a blog post exploring how in just three generations, my Southern maternal relatives rebounded from the Civil War into the upper middle class (not me, but my cousins.) I am grateful to be able to continue to understand these dynamics and work to undo the damage white supremacy has inflicted.
But I’ll probably never get used to people just being plain mean to me. It will always smart when people don’t give me the benefit of the doubt. It isn’t always warranted, granted. But it is hard to accept that most people simply don’t give the benefit of the doubt. That’s such a harsh way to live. It damages relationships, it probably causes ruptures based on anxiety, fear, and bitterness.
As a community organizer, a social worker, and just a general person, I honestly believe that people, that my neighbors, want to help each other. Not each one and not every time. But many of us feel that obligation to serve our communities, to offer support when we can, and to do more than pay it forward to other Starbucks customers. It is a moral obligation, but also one that serves us, too. Our lives improve when we are involved in our community.
We understand when $10 is lifesaving and when it is out of reach. We know that the burdens we shoulder aren’t ours alone and that sharing them with others is the only way to move through them relatively unscathed. Or perhaps just minimally?
One thing I often say is that I’m not just helping cats – I’m helping their humans, be they pet owners or neighbors. Last week, we helped six human beings – Tang and Simone’s two owners and the four person household that includes Mittens. All of those people slept a little easier because you cared enough to chip in $5. All three cats are better off. So much tragedy was avoided, so much expense as well.
I’m glad I stopped scrolling when I saw the original posts in both situations looking for support. Stepping out to do something is still the person I want to be. I appreciate that so many of you join me.
Congrats to Mittens, Tang, and Simone. Good luck, yinz.
Financial donations for general operating expenses for PLC are also very much welcome.
GoFundMe Charities (no fees) https://www.gofundme.com/charity/pittsburgh-lgbtq-charities
Facebook.com/PittsburghLGBTQ – click on Donate button
Checks can be made payable to “Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities” and mailed to 1439 W. North Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15233
If you’d like to make us the beneficiary of an event (a 50/50 raffle, a pass-the-basket type event), please let me know so we can promote your event.
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