Bradley's Page

Nothing to see here.
Just singing to some goats.

Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
Delude the one who sees its unity?

--The Isha Upanishad (verses 6-7)

I have a lot of fun pretending to be a shady, cynical bastard here at Million Monkey Theater. It's a great venue for sharing my love of bargain-basement cinema and I get to swear as much as I like, but I have to be honest with you...I'm a bit of a fraud. I'm not particularly cynical, not at all shady and have failed utterly to become a curmudgeon and misanthrope. Not for lack of trying, mind you.

Please join me on a brief tour of my life when I'm not here at MMT being a dick.

Mental Health and Animal Rescue

Arch Street Center. My day job.

Arch Street Center is a non-profit, membership-based day center for adults living with serious mental illness in Lancaster, PA. We provide a community safe space, recreation facilities, daily meals, laundry, locker and shower facilities, planned and spontaneous activities and a sense of community and belonging. We serve a diverse demographic, cutting across boundaries of ethnicity, age and socio-economic backgrounds to provide social, moral and material support to a vulnerable and often marginalized population.

My assistant. He likes to eat.

I'm privileged to be a part of this organization and proud to assist in our members' recovery journeys. I encourage you to follow the link and learn more about the center and our mission.

"Compassion for all things
is the engine of the universe."

Feral Friends and City Kitties is not really an official thing, it's just what I collectively call my wife and I, a trap, some hutches and about 15 years' worth of rescued cats. Friends or family have occasionally helped with spay/neutering and food costs, but it's mostly just us emptying out our piggy banks to do what we can for animals in need.

We care for a clowder of feral and stray kitties in our city neighborhood, feeding and providing them veterinary care as needed. We practice trap-neuter-return, a process where cats are fixed, ear-tipped and released back into their colony. This is the most humane way to keep cat populations under control and helps assure that a colony's territory is not depleted of the resources needed to keep them healthy.

We work to socialize our ferals and if they are amenable to becoming pets we find them loving homes. We've either homed or provided potentially lifesaving medical assistance to 68 cats and kittens over the years, and we've cared for or spay/neutered many more.

Let's meet a few of the friends we've rescued, shall we?

Ms. Heidi currently lives on our porch and is starting to show a more than passing interest in coming inside the house. I have a feeling we're going to have one more inside kitty by the end of the summer.

We had Ms. Penelopeeps and her brother Mr. Gooseberry spayed at the same time and she spent her entire life living mainly on our front porch. Like her brother she did not wish to be a pet, but enjoyed spending time with us outside. She passed away of a congenital heart condition, but had eight happy years with us, well fed and well-loved

As demonstrated by Mr. Gooseberry and his magnificent buttocks, this internally heated cherry wood hutch is more spacious and comfortable than my first apartment. Goose still lives on our property and never misses a meal. Another brother from this litter, Mr. Ferdinand, lives inside with us.

Princess Fatty Bumbalatty was a friendly fixture on our porch for almost 15 years, and neighbors say she had been living in the area for a couple of years before we even moved in. We had to take her to the vet for an infected wound when we'd been in the house just a year or so, and to thank us she adopted us as her humans. She would often wait on our doormat for us to return from work in the evenings and enjoyed rolling around and spending time with us on the porch. Sometimes she'd even let us pet her, but she always made it clear it was only because she knew we wanted to, not because she wanted us to. She passed away last year and is buried in her favorite spot in our front garden.

Ms. Eloise used to sit on my lap each morning as I sipped my coffee before work. Now she lives as a spoiled domestic kitty a few blocks away.

Little Mr. Leo showed up unannounced as a wee kitten just a few houses down from us and within a day my sister and law and her family adopted him. My nieces make sure he gets lots of attention.

I've seen some stunning transformations from miserable, skinny and terrified animals to happy, healthy and joyful pets. We've helped some desperate creatures who had completely given up on life learn to thrive and we've even snatched a few kitties from the jaws of death.

Mr. Blackburn was in the hutch dying when I found him during a record-setting blizzard in 2016. After an initial vet visit where we were told to make him comfortable and prepare for the worst, we were snowed in and couldn't leave the house for three days. He took a bad turn and I had to manually unblock an obstruction in his bowels to save him. Now he sleeps in my arms every night.

Mr. Tizwin was so weak he could barely move when we found him. His eyes were swollen shut with infection and his face was encrusted with dried mucous. He couldn't even meow. Now he's all grown up, loves to get scooped up and draped over my shoulder while I sing to him and never leaves me alone for more than an hour.

When I first saw Mr. Woody in our yard he was already a feral adult. He was the saddest creature I'd ever encountered. He walked as if each step carried the weight of every cruelty the world could inflict. After three months of patience and love he joined us inside and gave me seven beautiful years of absolute joy.

It's not always cats who need help. This little fellow had gotten some twine wrapped around his neck and was suffocating, fluttering helplessly against a wire fence. I managed to remove it and revive him.

I found Ms. Archibelle just off the parking lot at Arch Street Center and rescued her when her mother died. She had the worst flea infestation I've ever seen, so bad she would have died from anaemia if we hadn't taken her in. The flea removal was an hours-long process involving an herbal deterrent (chemical flea treatments are toxic to young kittens), running water and a pair of tweezers. There were hundreds on her tiny body. She required bottle feeding for two weeks before being weaned onto solid food. One of my coworkers adopted her.

We see a lot of possums. They're attracted by the cat food. Occasionally they get stuck somplace, like in a trash can, and need a little help, but mostly they just eat and leave. Most feral kitties are willing to share their space with them, though sometimes only grudgingly. Possums often get a bad rap, but they're completely harmless. They can't get rabies due to their low blood temperature and they consume fleas and ticks by the hundreds per day. They're also freaking adorable.

Some kitties are ready for love immediately. We found a home for Ms. Theadora Hissyhosen within 48 hours and she had such a strong, friendly personality she basically waltzed in and took over. She was feral but walked right up to me the day I met her and basically asked me to find her a home.

Some kitties wait years for a forever home. Mr. Wonka was part of another colony in our city looked after by a friend. We cared for him whenever she traveled. I just fell in love with him. When she had to move to another city I knew we needed to find him a home. He was about four years old, and although he was a friendly and loving we knew the transition would be a challenge for him. Thankfully we found a family willing to be patient and he's now a fat, happy, spoiled housecat.

It's been a long, bumpy road running an unofficial, unfunded, impromptu rescue. There are moments of triumph and moments of pain, but you learn to persevere and continue to do what's best for the animals who need you. Each animal you save adds a little bit of love into the world and eases a little bit of suffering, and that's perhaps the best use a life can be put to.

I value the relationships I've developed with my own cats, my feral friends and the many other dogs, cats, lizards, snakes, pigs, rats and goats my wife and I care for in our other business as dog walkers and pet sitters. Animals have rich and complex emotional lives. They want to be safe and fed, of course, but what they crave most is unconditional love.

When you strip away all the layers of social artifice we humans use to protect ourselves isn't that what we all crave, too?

For more information on trap-neuter-return and cat rescue in general visit Alleycat Allies. They're a great resource and a stellar organization.

comments powered by Disqus

Go ahead, steal anything you want from this page,
that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...