*** Chapter 4 Part 4
When Dell called in a panic from Pet Maxx she had just set free all the caged animals for sale and was on her way to the other 7 Pet Maxx’s in the greater Sacramento area. She asked Panda to come with her to let out the animals.
Dell’s oppressive feeling that morning had been the weight of all those animals failing in cages after 3 day without water or food. She could not feel the loss of humanity but the suffering of animals that were helpless to escape and find food and water for themselves was so terribly heavy on her heart. She felt guilty for having spent a day shopping and lollygagging, picking up garbage and parking cars when that valuable lost time could have been spent locating and freeing up the kitties and bunnies.
Panda agreed and also felt chagrined over the lost time. She didn’t want to inform Dell that small animals left without water for 3 days were going to be in serious kidney distress and possibly not worth saving. She could see, as Dell could not, that it wasn’t enough to just randomly stumble across animals and free them here and there. She knew they would have to focus on the best possible way to reach the most possible animals in the least amount of time. That meant finding pet sanctuaries, pet shops, puppy (or in this case piggy) and kitten breeders. Anywhere animals were likely to be caged in large numbers and unable to survive without human intervention and assistance.
In her usual organizational manner she split the map and took the 3 Pet Maxx locations on her side of the city. She knew there was a cat sanctuary and a small pet rescue center in the same vector as two of the Pet Maxx stores. She planned to go to them all and at least open cages, prop open doors to the outside world and open up the bags of food as she found them. She, too, felt the urgency and necessity of this most important work.
She had snagged a Toyota Sequoia for her personal use and it’s V8 engine and high tech GPS system really came in handy as she raced all over the greater Sacramento area that morning. In only two places was the road so clogged she had to get out and move vehicles. In one case, the car had been left running and was now out of gas and dead. She did not want to try and push it without Dell there to help but she was able to navigate around it by moving two other cars out of the way along the side.
She was at Snappy Tails Kitty Heaven cat sanctuary when the phone rang. She’d been petting the vocal and annoyed residents who had long ago chomped up their dry food and were feeling peckish and pissed. This place had a cat door that led into a nicely fenced back yard with cat trees and climbing poles and carpeted shelves along the garage wall for lounging about in the sun. However none of the 30+ cats were in the mood for a cat nap when she arrived. She could feel the distress and something like menace as she found the food cupboard and filled bowls, trays and feeders with dry cat food.
It was one of those places that prided itself in creating a loving home environment for unwanted cats. They were guaranteed for life to be kept secure and not sent to be euthanized. She felt a sense of loss as she knew this promise had come to an abrupt halt and they didn’t even know it. When she left here the front and side doors would be propped open. The cats would have to come and go as they pleased, but from now on there would be no one filling their bowls for them.
They’d have to go out and look for mice, birds, insects. The real cat food.
“Hi, what’s up?”
“Hi! How’s it going?”
“Great. I took care of all the Pet Maxx and the Waggy World pet rescue and I’m finishing up at Snappy Tails right now. I can barely hear you with the sound of 30 sets of hungry jaws chomping on kibble in the background. So what’s up?”
“Well, Panda, I am standing in the tool section of High Hardware. I need to know what you think is the best bolt cutter. Klein or HK Porter?”
“ Kleins.” Panda replied, “What are you doing?”
“Um.” Dell paused in what was obviously some bid to stall for time and withhold information. “Just, you know. You always told me to keep bolt cutters in my trunk in case of emergencies.”
“Yes. That’s true. Why the sudden interest though? You shouldn’t need bolt cutters for Pet Maxx all those cages open right up.”
“I need them for the zoo.” Dell answered in a rush.
A cold shot of panic hit Panda’s stomach. “THE ZOO?” she yelled into the phone. “You are NOT going to the ZOO! OMG!”