We met Jacob on one of our “freedom rides” when we head to the City of Houston shelter and pull animals from its kill list to place them for adoption. We place a priority on the sickest, youngest, oldest and most “busted up.” In other words, we pull the ones who would only survive in a no kill program.
Jacob is just a little guy. The odds were pretty stacked against him already, and to make matters worse, somewhere on the streets where Jacob roamed, someone had tightly wrapped a rubber band around his foot. Unable to remove it himself, he lived with it. His paw swelled with blood. It throbbed and ultimately, the tissue began to die. Infection crept its way from Jacob’s paw throughout his body. He got sicker and weaker.
Wanton cruelty like this is troubling. No kill shelters are that chance at redemption we humans can offer to animals so badly treated by our kind.
This bewildered little cat was in such excruciating pain, he had to be sedated to even be examined. Our veterinarian told us Jacob needed a life-saving amputation surgery, so we made sure Jacob received the life-saving surgery to amputate the leg that was killing him.
After surgery and weeks of recovery and rehabilitation, Jacob’s body has healed.
But his story gets even cooler!
He’s working with our animal behavior department and is a perfect student! From our behavior team volunteer D’Andrea Kenner who is leading his training:
“Jacob is learning touch. Every time he touched a part of my hand or my fingers, Jacob was rewarded with baby food on the spoon. So the targeted behavior was touch. Jacob learns that a desirable behavior or a particular behavior (e.g. touch) = reward. The value of learning this behavior is that animals are more adoptable and more comfortable in social settings interacting with humans. People want to touch animals. If shelter animals learn that touch is positive they will lean in and not shrink back. The animal feels comfortable and the people feel they can interact with them more readily.
It is also a way to help nervous or socially awkward animals relax and focus on a trainer/handler in new or uncomfortable situations.
It is a technique most often used in dogs but that works great to help cats get more acclimated to people and handling.”
Jacob is now available for adoption, and we can’t wait until this incredible little guy finds his forever home!
Jacob is two years old, and he currently lives at Friends For Life where he’s won the hearts of everyone who meets him. His resilience is inspiring, and we adore him.
“Even after going through all of this pain he is one of the sweetest cats at FFL,” said Angie Drach. “Keri Meyer and I had the privilege of giving Jacob his freedom ride from the city shelter to a future filled with hope.”