Dumped in the Normans Kill, Chance Did Not Have a Prayer in Hell Until a Jogger Who Had Turned Off the Music Heard His Desperate Cries for Help
|Chance Is Soaked to the Bone Following His Last-Minute Rescue|
"I usually run with earbuds in, but didn't that day because of the rain. It's a good thing I didn't, otherwise I couldn't have been the tool God used to save the cat."
-- Matt Guidarelli
Chance was not given any chance at all. His death not only was a foregone conclusion but imminent as well.
On June 3rd, the eight-year-old brown and gray diabetic tom found himself hopelessly trapped with a thirty-pound rock inside a pet carrier that was rapidly sinking below the surface of the Normans Kill in the Slingerlands section of Bethlehem, just west of Albany. Compounding his already extremely dire situation, the rain was coming down in buckets and as a consequence the water inside his makeshift tomb already was almost up to his eyeballs.
At that point it sure looked like it was curtains for the sixteen-pound, six-ounce cat but he was not about to throw in the towel. Instead, he kept crying out for help all the while hoping against hope that someone out there would be able to hear him over the din of the falling precipitation.
Although some people consider them to be a little touched in the head, it is difficult to keep die-hard joggers cooped up indoors for very long. They run in the blazing sun, the freezing cold, and even in cloudbursts.
It thus so happened that twenty-five-year-old Matt Guidarelli was striding across a footbridge at around 5 p.m. on that fateful day when he accidentally overheard what he at first mistook to be an infant crying. Stopping to investigate, he spied the partially-submerged pet carrier ten feet below in the Normans Kill. ("Norwegian Creek" is the usual translation of the Dutch.)
Chance's yellow eyes and head were about all that were visible, however, as the remainder of his body already had been enveloped in water. Time also was running out fast in that he had only about three inches of breathing space remaining before he surely would have drowned.
Without wasting any time, Guidarelli climbed down into the creek and retrieved the pet carrier. Back on terra firma, he unlatched the cage and Chance stepped out apparently unharmed. He doubtlessly, however, had been given the scare of a lifetime.
Although the torrential rain had all but sealed his fate, it simultaneously had prompted Guidarelli to forgo his customary habit of listening to music while he jogged and that enabled him to hear Chance's plaintive cries for deliverance. Otherwise, the cat would have died a lonely and horrifying death in that the pet carrier likely soon would have been swept downstream and absolutely no one, save his attempted executioner, ever would have even known either that he had lived or how that he had died. It would have been the perfect crime.
"I usually run with earbuds in, but didn't that day because of the rain," Guidarelli told the Albany Times-Union on June 18th. (See "Jogger Rescues Drowning Cat in Carrier.") "It was a good thing I didn't otherwise I couldn't have been the tool God used to save the cat."
Wonderful and unexpected things occur whenever mass culture and all its trappings are shown a deaf ear. Once upon a time the human mind served as something other than a landfill between the ears for the lies, prejudices, and piles of filth that are disseminated so profusely by Hollywood, the television networks, Madison Avenue, the recording industry, theologians, and academicians but those halcyon days are now largely a thing of the past.
Much more to the point, the media moguls and propagandists have yet to come up with anything that is in any way half as beautiful, diverse, and as noble as the animals and Mother Earth. Man's preference for artifice at the expense of the genuine articles demonstrates not only his abhorrently bad taste but his total lack of discernment as well.
It nevertheless is refreshing that in this instance a self-professed godly individual actually went out of his way in order to save the life of a cat. That is especially the case in that Christians, if that is indeed what Guidarelli professes to be, are far better known for killing, abusing, and defaming cats than they are for doing them any favors.
|Sticker Inside Chance's Would-Be Tomb|
For example, Pastor Rick Bartlett of Bastrop Christian Church not only illegally trapped and stole a twelve-year-old brown and white domesticated cat named Moody in January of 2012 but he later hurled him to his death from high atop the Loop 150 Bridge in Bastrop. (See Cat Defender post of January 10, 2014 entitled "Texas Judge Idiotically Allows Pastor Rick Bartlett to Get Away with Stealing and Killing Moody but a Civil Court May Yet Hold Him Accountable.")
Every bit as reprehensible, many Christian churches, both Protestant and Catholic alike, kill and mistreat homeless felines with impunity. (See Cat Defender posts of February 12, 2007, July 30, 2009, and May 1, 2010 entitled, respectively, "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break," "Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way That Hatred of Cats Is Every Bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine," and "When It Comes to Cats, Acts of Faith Count for Absolutely Nothing with the Good Christians at Northside Baptist.")
True to his creed, Guidarelli likewise is anything but a cat fancier. "I'm not a cat person at all, and am actually allergic to them," he confessed to the Albany Times-Union. "What I did is what anyone should do if they have the physical ability to do it."
That type of crabbed thinking and behavior is so typical of Christians in that the vast majority of them care absolutely nothing about their fellow human beings, the animals, and Mother Earth. Rather, on those rare occasions when they are moved to extend a kindness of one sort or another to any of them they are motivated solely by the hope of being handsomely rewarded for doing so with eternal life in the sweet-by-and-by.
Regardless of his motivation, Chance would not be alive today if Guidarelli had not interceded on his behalf and for that act of compassion he is to be commended. It nonetheless is lamentable that he and his fellow Christians are so selfish and pigheaded as to be totally incapable of looking upon the animals and Mother Earth as anything other than objects of exploitation.
The only clue as to Chance's identity was a pink sticker attached to the inside of his cage. In particular, it included a weight measurement and a space for a cat's name. It has not been disclosed, however, if the weight recorded on the sticker corresponds with Chance's poundage.
Furthermore, officials are not even certain if the sticker was placed there by a veterinary clinic, shelter, kennel, or airline. Confounding the investigation ever further, apparently no decipherable fingerprints were recovered from the cage.
Not surprisingly, both the Albany Police and local Animal Control officials immediately seized upon the lack of readily available incriminating evidence as a convenient excuse in order to wash their hands of the entire matter. Instead, they have issued their customary plea for the public to intervene and do their jobs for them.
That in a nutshell demonstrates writ large everything that is so terribly wrong with the enforcement of the anti-cruelty statutes. Specifically, private individuals and professional cat killers, such as ornithologists, wildlife biologists, and PETA, are going to continue to commit their atrocities so long as they are able to rely upon the authorities not to either investigate or to hold them accountable under the law.
In this case, it is inexcusable that the Albany Police, Animal Control, and other humane groups did not have enough initiative in order to circulate photographs of Chance to all local veterinarians, shelters, and kennels because one of them surely would have remembered treating an obese and diabetic cat. A corresponding effort likewise should have been undertaken in order to locate the pharmacy that supplied Chance's owner with insulin.
Thirdly, police and Animal Control could have blanketed the hamlet of Slingerlands with Lost Cat posters. Fourthly, they could have conducted door-to-door interviews in the area where Chance was found.
While it is conceivable that the attempt on Chance's life was made by someone from out of town, facts and circumstances tend to indicate that the assailant was a local resident. It thus would appear that this was a preeminently solvable case of animal cruelty but due to the intransigence of the authorities the culprit not only has escaped justice but remains free to strike again as so many others like him have done so in the past.
|Chance Is All Dried Out and Ready for a New Start in Life|
For example, on May 5, 2008 a motorist in the Ithaca suburb of Newfield, two-hundred-eighty kilometers to the west of Slingerlands, accidentally spotted something moving inside a sack that had lodged in a branch of a dead tree above the West Branch of Cayuga Inlet Creek. Upon investigation, the driver discovered a gray mother cat trapped inside the sack.
As was the case with Chance, the sack had been weighted down with a brick and the American Shorthair surely would have drowned long ago if if had not been for the tree. She was lucky a second time in that she was not injured although neither her newly-born kittens nor her assailant ever were located.
"I don't know what drives people to kill an animal when there is a place for them in their community," Abigail Smith of the Tompkins County SPCA in Ithaca, which assumed custody of the nameless cat, remarked afterwards. (See Cat Defender post of May 20, 2008 entitled "Malice Aforethought: Upstate New York Cat Is Saved from a Watery Grave by a Dead Tree and a Passerby; New Hampshire Cat Is Not So Fortunate.")
A huge part of the problem is attributable to the fact that just about all conventional shelters kill upon arrival every cat that passes through their portals. That logic is inapplicable however in respect to both Chance and the Newfield female because their owners not only wanted to kill them but to inflict as much pain and suffering as possible in the process.
Despite the morally repugnant nature of such reprehensible acts of ailurophobia, Guidarelli's sympathies clearly lie with Chance's would-be executioner. "I can't be angry with the person who did this because I don't know the circumstances they (sic) were in, but there are so many other alternatives to get rid of an unwanted pet," he plainly told the Albany Times-Union.
The implied assumption in Guidarelli's declaration is that it is perfectly acceptable under certain circumstances to hideously murder an innocent cat. He also apparently views unwanted cats as something to be gotten rid of much like either la grippe or an especially virulent strain of venereal disease. Carried to its logical conclusion, such a warped morality could be employed in order to sanction the commission of almost any crime.
Followers of Christ can always be counted upon to sooner or later expose the baseness that lies hidden in the pits of their rotten souls. In the end, they seldom fail to put the screws to the animals, Mother Earth, and everyone else who is unwilling to go along with their blatant hypocrisies and evil deeds.
"I realized that Eastern thought had somewhat more compassion for all living things. Man was a form of life and that in another reincarnation might possibly be a horsefly or a bird of paradise or a deer," is how former United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once summed up the difference between Western and Eastern religions. "So a man of such a faith, looking at animals, might be looking at old friends or ancestors. In the East the wilderness has no evil connotation; it is thought of as an expression of the unity and harmony of the universe."
Just like in a storybook, everything eventually worked out extremely well for Chance in that a fortnight or so after his terrible ordeal in the Normans Kill he was adopted by Megan McGinnis and Dena Sanders of Schenectady. "It was love at first sight," McGinnis declared to the Albany Times-Union. "There was just something about him, and we had to adopt him."
For better or worse, Chance's past experiences apparently have done absolutely nothing in order to diminish his trust in those devils who strut around on two legs with their noses poked high in the air and running off at the mouth. "It's amazing," Sanders told to the Albany Times-Union. "He's very cuddly and loves to chase a laser pointer."
She additionally is the one that he has to thank for his new moniker. "He's getting a second chance at life," she added.
|Mother Cat Dumped in Cayuga Inlet Creek|
McGinnis and Sanders are to be commended for opening up their hearts and home to him not only because of all that he has been put through but also due to the fact that attending to a diabetic cat is both time-consuming and expensive. In Chance's case, he suffers from type one diabetes mellitus and thus requires twice daily insulin injections and biweekly veterinary visits.
According to the report in the Albany Times-Union, Chance's insulin costs McGinnis and Sanders $250 a vial but it is difficult to decipher that statement because insulin is usually sold in bottles. For example, a ten milliliter bottle of the brand Humulin retails for $100 at ShopRite; Rite-Aid charges $139 for the same thing.
By way of contrast Glargine, which is sold under the brand name of Lantas, ranges in cost from $357 at Walmart to $442 at Kmart. It does have the advantage of reportedly being better suited for cats in that it not only is long-acting but is released into the bloodstream in small and equal amounts.
On top of the cost of the insulin itself, one-hundred syringes with needles are advertised on the web at around $25. Plus, diabetic cats require regular visits to the vet, blood-sugar testing at home, a specialized diet, and a healthy, stress-free lifestyle. (See "Regulating and Monitoring a Diabetic Cat Using Insulin" at www.peteducation.com and "Feline Diabetes. What Is Diabetes Mellitus?" on the web site of Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine.")
"He's an expensive kitty," McGinnis admitted to the Albany Times-Union. "But he's worth it."
That unquestionably is true and no one knows any better than McGinnis and Sanders just how fortunate they are to have him share their lives. Press reports have not broached the subject of Chance's prognosis, but generally speaking diabetic cats are capable of living long and full lives provided that their blood-sugar levels can be stabilized and they are blessed with diligent guardians.
One of his guardians' top priorities should be to get him on a diet. Simply shedding some of his excess weight might possibly either reduce or, perhaps, totally eliminate over time his dependency upon insulin injections.
Being in a home where he is both loved and wanted also should produce a marked improvement in his overall health. That is especially the case in that it is difficult to imagine that he previously enjoyed anything even remotely resembling a happy and tranquil life considering the diabolical extreme that his former owner went to in order to get shed of him.
Furthermore, since numerous cats have intervened in order to save the lives of their caretakers whenever they have suffered diabetic seizures, it is only fitting that Chance's new guardians are returning that life-saving kindness to him. (See Cat Defender posts of May 18, 2009 and April 21, 2012 entitled, respectively, "Elijah Teaches Himself How to Detect Low Blood Sugar Levels in His Guardians and Others" and "Adopted from a Shelter Only Hours Previously, Pudding Saves His Rescuer's Life by Awakening Her from a Diabetic Seizure.")
There also is much to be learned from Chance's trials and tribulations. First and foremost, is never to give up no matter how difficult and hopeless the circumstances. Dum vita est spes est.
Secondly, there are a few, but not very many, decent individuals left in this world. The trick is finding them and even that rests with The Fates.
It additionally could be argued that the best therapy for anyone feeling down in the dumps would be to simply think of Chance trapped in the Normans Kill. He got out of that jam and few individuals, if any, ever will be called upon to experience anything even remotely as harrowing and hopeless as that in their lifetimes.
He accordingly is an inspiration to one and all and his stunning, turnaround victory over outrageous misfortune is a celebration of life over death and of hope over despair. Hopefully, he will have a long life that is characterized by both good health and happiness.
Photos: the Albany Times-Union (Chance and pet carrier) and the Tompkins County SPCA (Newfield mother cat).