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By The Plain Dealer's Donna J. Miller on 9-19-2013.
Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary in Concord Township is streaming video 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the Internet and attracting followers from around the world.
One of the people who enjoys watching the cats at play, or napping, as the staff cleans around them at the house-turned-shelter is Jenny Wren, 39, of Northern Ireland.
"I've been watching since May and have been amazed at the work Caroline's Kids does as a no-kill shelter," Wren said in an email. "This touched my heart, as there are not too many places like it, and the staff and volunteers work so hard caring for 290 cats."
Wren, taking time off work at a daycare for people with learning disabilities, will fly into Cleveland Oct. 10 and spend a week volunteering at the shelter, which has been streaming video from one camera in the kitchen since May 29.
Viewers can see the cats being fed at 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, shelter manager Ellen Distler introduces a cat to the audience and tells its rescue story. Packages of donations are also opened at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays, and every Friday at 5 p.m., the staff turns on a bubble machine to really liven the place up.
A second donated camera will be installed in mid-October in the shelter's main room, which features a 10-foot-tall tree trunk with limbs under a vaulted ceiling and cat walkways on the walls.
The sanctuary's YouTube site has been viewed more than 15,000 times, with people signing in to chat from Europe, Asia and across the U.S., sanctuary founder Judie Brown said.
"We have two daily followers, in Kentucky and Indiana, who have learned so much about the sanctuary and know the cats' names, they answer viewer questions when I'm not available," Brown said.
And soon, viewers will meet Wren.
"This is my dream to visit such a great and loving cat sanctuary for the old and sick and special needs cats," Wren said. "I'm counting the days to my visit."
This article is from news-herald.com 12-15-2012
Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary in Concord Township is in dire need of donations to help offset medical bills totaling more than $11,000.
The sanctuary is unique in the Lake County area because of its mission to take in and care for felines that are older, have special needs or are strays with medical emergencies. These types of cats often would have nowhere else to go for help and a second chance to find a home. But as co-founder Judie Brown says, "At Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary, they are home."
The sanctuary's mission is to provide all the medical care needed, never to euthanize for convenience or because of money. Brown says each life is precious. She says these cats deserve the very best effort to give each one a second chance or care for them with dignity and compassion during their final days. To be able to do this, the sanctuary relies on expert veterinary care and oftentimes donations do not pay the monthly vet bills, Brown says.
Brown and the staff of the sanctuary are hoping to raise money to pay outstanding veterinary care bills of $11,415.
If someone would like to donate to the care of the cats for medical expenses, donations can be sent to Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue, P.O. Box 24068, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124 and mark for vet bills on the memo of the check.
Memorial gardens meaningful to pet owners
This article is from news-herald.com 10-18-2012
Peek-a-Boo, Sweet Pea and Black Jack are commemorated in a special memory garden at Rescue Village in Russell Township. Their names, neatly written on stones of varied shapes and sizes, are among dozens of others resting atop large rugged boulders at Cody's Crossing, a place for people to remember and honor their lost pets. Helping to create a peaceful mood in the outdoor garden are a large wind chime sculpture and benches for those who care to sit and reflect.
Opened in July, Cody's Crossing has become such a sought-after locale that more boulders are needed to hold the many stones brought there by pet owners and an expansion of the site may be forthcoming, according to Katie Schlesinger, Rescue Village marketing and events coordinator. She noted that visits to the destination are increasing as word of its purpose and effectiveness increase and that "a good chunk of our volunteers" have placed their own stones there. "We don't want it to be a sad place … just a place for people to reflect and remember," she said. "We were a little afraid it was going to be too somber. But it's not. It's joyful. It's a celebration of their lives and their memories."
Hope Brustein, executive director of Geauga Humane Society, and longtime volunteer Jan Glasser brought the idea for the comforting spot to Rescue Village after visiting "Angel's Rest" garden in Utah run by Best Friends Animal Society. "It was so beautiful, peaceful and special and Hope and I started talking and said we could create something on a smaller scale," Glasser said. "There's really a need for it.
(Cody's Crossing) is not a cemetery. We don't bury animals there. It's just a place to remember them. I just really believe in honoring (our pets). There's a need and a desire for it." The animal lover has placed five stones in the garden to memorialize former furry friends who've played an important part in her life.
"They're always with me, they're always in my heart," Glasser said. "It's a way to honor them to say we miss you, we love you and you'll always be with me."
Ed Pashkin, who was recently named manager of Rescue Village, thinks the garden is a great way to recall former pets as the family members they once were. "You want to remember all that they meant in your life," he said. Schlesinger said she hopes more community members make use of the garden. Visitors need only stop by during regular shelter hours. Adopting or having adopted a pet from Rescue Village is not a requirement.
Another such place set in nature to remember pets who have passed away is at Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary on the corner of Morley and Hoose roads in Concord Township. The nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to the care and humane treatment of aged, chronically ill and abused cats houses about 300 felines. Rural grounds of the sanctuary are dotted with remembrances of cats who have died. Unlike Cody's Crossing, however, some pets' remains are buried there. "We have a lot of different memorials, but they're spread out," said Judie Brown, founder and director of the organization. Some are for individuals while others mark groupings of pets.
Among the varied memorials is a Walk of Love lined with memorial bricks leading to a Garden of Angels. The phrase "All God's angels come disguised" is engraved on one of the bricks prominently displayed in the garden. Landscaping stones and several statues, including one of Lucky Boy, a wildcat, also are placed on the manicured grounds. People often walk through the area when special events take place or during open houses. "The feedback is positive in that they now realize that our furkids get the utmost respect in life and it continues on when they are gone," she said.
Those wishing to remember their pets during the holidays are welcome to a Christmas Tree of Love ceremony in December. People may purchase special lights which then adorn the tree. "I think we all need to have some sort of permanent memorial for those we love to give us closure, to make us feel better," Brown said.
Moosee the cat is fighting a severe infection after being abandoned outside a Concord animal shelter. Moosee and another cat were left in a small hamper taped shut outside 'Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue.' The shelter said when they discovered the cats there was a note that said the owners couldn't take care of the cats anymore. There was a pool of urine in the bottom of the hamper that severely burned Moosee. "So the bottom cat all the urine that it had been laying in had gotten all over its skin, burned it, scalded it, and caused a severe infection," said Ellen Distler, Caroline's Kids Pet Manager.
The cat was taken to Big Creek Veterinarian Hospital where doctors said the cat will need surgery to survive.
see more Thanksgiving Photos.
CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A $1,000 raffle prize could be a big help towards paying a heating bill. That's the amount up for grabs to people who buy a ticket to help a cat rescue house in Lake County.
Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue is home to more than 250 felines. The cats all are old and sick and need constant care. Caroline's is a no-kill sanctuary for felines. Some cats may be adopted, but others are in retirement or hospice care.
The raffle drawing is thanks to a generous donor. The drawing takes place January 27. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25.
Caroline's Executive Director Judy Brown says it costs $17,000 a month to run the sanctuary, including utilities, so she understands how heating bills can take a big bite out of a budget.
Caroline's mission is "To give cats who are adoptable an opportunity for a permanent, loving home through adoption. To provide lifelong care and love in a cageless sanctuary to old and special needs cats.
For tickets, click here.
Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue has a quote it likes to repeat:
"We are not in this for the money, but we need the money to be in it."
Taking care of more than 250 cats at its Concord Township sanctuary is no easy job, and it certainly doesn't come cheap.
Judie Brown, co-owner with her husband Tom, says it takes $15,000 to $17,000 a month to run the no-kill, no-cage shelter that serves many special-needs cats.
Two of those cats are Pele and Scotch, who last month had dental surgery costing more than $3,000.
Pele is a 21⁄2-year-old petite black cat who came to Caroline's Kids in 2008 after giving birth to four kittens.
Last year, Pele began having mouth issues that were categorized by veterinarians as a sore or granuloma, Brown said.
In October a few of Pele's teeth were removed.
Brown said she was told that the cat would have chronic slobbering because of ulcers in her throat, and her tongue would hanging be out of the mouth all the time.
Brown said what followed were many more vet appointments, antibiotics and steroids, but no cure.
It wasn't until November that Pele was diagnosed with stomatitis, Brown said.
"The remedy we were told was to remove all her teeth," she said.
Brown said what followed were more vets, more opinions, and the fact that no one wanted to do the surgery because it required a specialist.
That's when shelter manager Ellen Distler went to work, Brown said. She called another six to eight vets, and was finally put in touch with a specialist in North Ridgeville.
On Feb. 11, half of Pele's teeth were removed, and on March 11, the remainder were taken out.
According to Brown, Pele was eating, out walking and "tongue in" the day she returned to the shelter.
Total cost for Pele's surgery: $1,650.
Scotch is an 11-year-old gentle black and white male cat who came to the shelter in September 2009.
A year later, Scotch began to slobber and have mouth issues.
A vet diagnosed him with a swollen tongue and gave him steroids and antibiotics. Brown said what followed were more appointments.
In the end, Scotch had the same surgery as Pele, costing the shelter another $1,650.
"For these very fortunate two kittens this was the cure and their pain is over," Brown said. "We were told this is one of the most painful conditions a feline can have."
Brown is hoping people who read about the cats' ordeal will donate to help cover the cost of the dental surgeries.
Donations can be sent to Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue, P.O. Box 24068, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124.
Visitors to the sanctuary, at 7394 Morley Road, are welcome, It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
By WEWS Channel 5's Ted Kortan Newscast broadcasted 4-13-2011.
CONCORD TWP. - It's taken a few days, but contact has been made with the winner of the $1,000 gas card recently raffled off by a Lake County animal sanctuary
What's more, the winner of the big prize has told the pet rescue giving away the card to keep half of the award.
Caroline's Kids Executive Director Judie Brown told newsnet5.com that Donald Case of Elyria was the holder of the winning ticket stub in the raffle drawing that was held last Friday. But Case had only written his address on his ticket - no phone number. Brown said she sent Case notice of his winning entry via regular US mail. And after three days of waiting, Case called her back - with a big surprise.
"His generosity is overwhelming. I was taken aback." Brown said. "He asked if we used a lot of gas in our work at the shelter? When I said yes, he told me to keep half of the $1,000 for our own needs."
Brown said Case wasn't seeking publicity and did not want to do any television interviews. But he did say that he saw the story about the gas card raffle on NewsChannel5. Brown said her organization received Case's ticket in the mail on April 6. The story was shown on NewsChannel5 April 3.
Director Brown said more than $2,500 worth of raffle entries were received in the days after the story was aired on WEWS. In all, more than $10,000 was raised for the care of the more than 250 sick and senior cats that live at Caroline' Kids Pet Rescue.
Brown said the 'give-back' of gasoline is especially appreciated, as the sanctuary does incur substantial transportation expenses when seeking specialized medical care for some of the felines.
For example, a veterinarian in North Ridgeville is the only one in the area that performs a specific dental surgery for cats. According to Google maps, the distance from Concord Twp. to North Ridgeville is more than 42 miles each way.
In a current case, 'Antonio,' a 6-month-old tabby kitten, has been making repeated trips to a vet in Perry. Found nearly frozen to death after a March snowstorm outside Tony's Bar in Painesville, the so named 'Antonio' has been struggling to recover from double pneumonia.
"Antonio is a fighter," said Brown. "And Caroline's Kids is fighting for him too--so he has a chance for a great life in a forever loving home."
Antonio's picture is attached to this story.
Finally, Director Brown told newsnet5.com the April 8 gas card raffle was such a success that the sanctuary will be holding another such promotion. According to Brown, a generous Californian supporter of Caroline's Kids has donated another $1,000 gas card to be raffled on June 24.
By WEWS Channel 5's Ted Kortan Newscast broadcasted 3-31-2011.
CONCORD TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Turkey for 280. That was the task at Caroline's
Kids Pet Rescue in Concord Township.
Fortunately, the cats who reside in the sanctuary are well fed -- so three 20-pound turkeys were plenty as a holiday treat.
Still, distributing the food to the six rooms filled with furry felines was something of an adventure. Volunteers quickly divided the shredded meat onto individual serving dishes and made sure each cat had one.
A NewChannel5 camera captured the special moment and meal.
Caroline's is a former single-family residence which is now home to the mainly senior and special needs cats. Founder and Director Judie Brown said the facility is legally located in an agriculturally zoned area of Lake County.
The sanctuary has been at its current location for about seven years. This is the third year for the Thanksgiving cat treat.
Brown told NewsChannel5 it costs between $15,000 and $17,000 per month to operate the facility.
Brown said monetary donations and volunteers are always needed.
By WKYC Fox 8's Kristen Jones, Fox 8 Producer broadcasted 11-25-2010.
CONCORD TWP., Ohio - This Thanksgiving wasn't just about people. A very special feline feast took place in Concord Township.
Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue is home to 280 older and special needs cats, And today they got a turkey dinner, too.
Volunteers bought and roasted three 21-pound turkeys. The meal was served to every cat in the shelter.
"It's just a special day for them," Judie Brown, the founder and director of the facility said. "It's about sharing, not just on Thanksgiving, but any day, but most especially today. They should have a special day just like the rest of us."
Caroline's Kids said it receives about sixty requests to take cats every day.
They operate solely on donations and are always looking for help.
as seen in the News Herald article written by Jean Bonchak on 12-17-2009.
Edward, a long-haired Himalayan mix cat, contentedly rested on his side, stretching out to receive the gentle touches of Reiki practitioner Denise Harding at Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary.
"May you be safe ... happy ... healthy... and may you be at ease," Harding quietly and calmly told her furry, buff-colored patient.
Reiki is an ancient natural healing technique involving the placement of hands onto the body to channel energy. Its purpose is to reduce stress and provide relaxation.
The 1-year-old abandoned stray, who was found in the Madison area and brought to the sanctuary in Concord Township, suffers from a leukemia virus.
Harding, who lives in Mentor, owns five cats and provides foster care for others. She has volunteered her services at the refuge since it opened more than two years ago.
In addition to feeding, watering, scooping and cleaning, her skills as a Reiki practitioner are being used on resident animals in distress.
She became interested in the technique through Reiki Rays of Hope Caregivers Inc. in Mentor and through training, or "attunement," reached the status of a level two practitioner.
Cheryl Kanetsky, a teacher at the facility, said that more people are beginning to dabble in Reiki for pets, and that one of her training sessions included a veterinarian who was considering using it in her practice.
Considering Harding's affinity for felines, the transition from people to pets came easily.
"I'm just a conduit," Harding said. "I ground myself and the universal life force energy is able to flow through me to wherever it's needed. It's all about the greater good. Whatever we think might be the best thing to happen may not happen."
Because of her background in Western medicine, she maintained that at one time she may have viewed the theory differently.
"I would have previously been a skeptic except that I personally have received benefits and I see the animals benefiting," she said.
At one session, a cat whose owner thought that the feline wouldn't leave his carrier because of a nervous personality stepped out of his safe enclosure, purred and "couldn't get enough of me," Harding said.
Another time, a formerly hesitant cat directly approached her and placed his injured paw in her hand.
"Animals are much more perceptive because they don't have any preconceived notions or skepticisms that are sometimes found in humans," Harding said.
Sessions are conducted in "The Healing Cove," a transformed closet in a building on the sanctuary's grounds.
She painted the interior a cool, sage green, draped sheer fabric over the ceiling to soften hard edges and placed a pillow covered in soft fleece on the floor. The Buddhist phrase, "May all beings be free from suffering and the cause of suffering" is scripted on the wall.
"It really resembles a massage room sized for a cat rather than a human," she said.
After several minutes of tender stroking and encouraging words, Edward's session concluded with a final cleansing and blessing to fling off negative energy.
"I just feel like Edward gets it," Harding said. "He wants it and loves it."
In addition to practicing Reiki for cats living at the sanctuary, Harding will offer 20-minute sessions for other cats once a month beginning Jan. 10. A donation of $20 to Caroline's Kids is required.
as seen in the News Herald article on 12-15-2009.
Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary in Concord Township is offering a new program to pet guardians who want to provide another level of care for their felines.
Reiki for pets is a form of spiritual healing that helps harmonize the mind, body and soul of your pet, according to a news release from the shelter. it can be used as a form of relaxation as well as a tool for releasing negative emotions and limitations.
Reiki is not a religion. It can treat ailments, reduce stress, relieve pain and it can help with abuse or neglected animals.
Reiki does not take the place of traditional medicine but can help in conjunction with veterinary care, according to the release.
Caroline’s Kids incorporates Reiki into the sanctuary by way of soothing music, and Reiki is done for each feline for various reasons.
Denise Harding, Reiki practitioner for the sanctuary, will be offering sessions for anyone interested from 2 to 4 p.m. beginning in January and also by appointment only. Each session lasts 20 minutes, is for cats only, and a $20 donation to the shelter is required.
Sessions will follow once a month.
From WKYC Channel 3's Newscast broadcasted 11-27-2009.
CONCORD TOWNSHIP -- In Lake County, 250 abandoned cats have a place
they call home. Every room of the house is filled with cats. The sanctuary
is called "Caroline's Kids."
Ever since it opened two years ago, founder Judie Brown has been overwhelmed with the ever-increasing need to provide shelter, food and medical help for rescued cats.
Thanksgiving morning, Joe Zaborowski, one of 20 unpaid volunteers, began visiting every room with a huge pan of freshly cooked turkey.
The team of volunteers made sure each cat got a plate. Within seconds, the volunteers were surrounded by hungry cats, all eager to get a slice of the aromatic bird.
Joe said that this is a labor of love for everybody at the sanctuary.
Looking at the cats nuzzling his ankles for affection, Zaborowski said, "These are living breathing creatures. They have to be fed and they have to taken care of."
Joe added, "People abandon them. The cats don't ask for this."
Founder Judie Brown scratched the head of one of the older cats and said, "It's about helping others. Whether they have two legs or four, it is about making others happy." Brown added, "And no one should be hungry today. Just because they're cats, they shouldn't be hungry either."
The staff at Caroline's Kids promises that every cat accepted into the sanctuary will have food, shelter and medical care for life.
As you might imagine, with 250 residents, the cat sanctuary could really use donations during the holidays. Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue Wish List scoopable litter; canned or dry cat food; bleach; paper towels; window perches; cat trees and condos; cat beds; tall kitchen trash bags; Gift cards to PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus, Home Depot and Lowe's
For more information, call 440-449-3496. Donations can be sent to: Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue, P.O. Box 24068, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124
Caroline's Kids was the only no kill shelter INVITED to join in this October 14, 2009 event by the group who are animal activists. We collected donations for the cat sanctuary at the door.
as seen in the News Herald article written by Jean Bonchak 06-18-2009.
The ringtone sounding from Ellen Distler's cell phone is that of a cat meowing.
No surprise there. Distler is the manager of Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary in Concord Township, which will celebrate its second birthday on Saturday.
A home for more than 200 abused, sick, neglected and abandoned cats, the facility is situated on 2 acres of rolling, pastoral land. The property also encompasses a wooden deck for easy viewing of a serene stream and colorful, manicured gardens.
Caroline's Kids Cat Sanctuary began in 2007 when founder Judie Brown of Mayfield Heights stumbled upon the property. The lucky find ended the animal lover's lengthy search for a suitable dwelling for felines in dire circumstances.
"This is their home first. We are visitors to their home," she said. "For that reason everything is done with the cats in mind," Brown said.
The birthday bash is set to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the shelter, 7394 Morley Road, at the intersection of Morley and Hoose roads.
As part of the celebration the public will have a chance to peek at newly decorated and themed rooms.
"Before we had rooms 1, 2, 3 and 4. I was trying to make it more personalized and fun," Distler said.
Once inside, visitors are first greeted by dozens of adoptable cats prancing in a park-like setting adorned with nature-inspired wall murals, trees and benches.
Other areas include an "Oldies But Goodies" room lined with 45 rpm records and names such as Scratch Domino, Jerry Flea Lewis and Cat Boone inscribed on the walls.
The 1950s-themed habitat is designed for cats ages 10 and older.
There's also the "Alley Cat" room, complete with fence and trash cans, which provides lodging for feral cats. "Under the Big Top" caters to those afflicted with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (similar to HIV in humans).
Some of the animals requiring medical attention are treated in a bright, yellow clinic, the only room that has cages.
Large windows throughout the house allow for gazing at feathered friends dining from bird feeders, as well as squirrels, geese, and assorted critters crossing through the grounds.
Distler said none of the renovation funds were taken from money dedicated for cat care.
Rather, donations of time, skills and gift cards specifically designated for the design project were used.
"Its been amazing how many people have helped out," she said. "I'm so proud of what everyone has done."
Those who attend the birthday bash are welcome to stroll through the property to visit the Rainbow Bridge and Garden of Angels, the statue of "Lucky Boy," who keeps a protective eye on the area and its inhabitants, and the Walk of Love constructed from engraved bricks purchased by shelter donors.
Birthday gifts requested by the girl cats are canned food, scoopable litter and gift cards to Pet Supplies Plus and Petsmart. Boy cats are asking for Lowe's and Home Depot gift cards to be used for ongoing work throughout the sanctuary.
as seen in the
News Herald article written by Jenny May on 9-26-2008.
To the more than 200 rescued felines housed at Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue in Concord Township, founder Judie Brown is viewed as nothing short of a hero.
With a little help from the community, Brown, who operates the sanctuary for abandoned, sick and abused cats, could receive that recognition nationally. Brown has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the Animal Planet "Cat Hero of the Year" contest.
Between 12:01 a.m. Monday, September 29 and 11:59 p.m. October 13, 2008, people can help propel Brown and the nonprofit organization to first place by voting for her online at www.animalplanet.com. Only one vote per e-mail address will be accepted. The first-place winner of the contest will receive a $5,000 donation to his or her organization.
"This really is quite an honor," said Brown, who with her husband, Tom, founded Caroline's Kids eight years ago. "It's very humbling to have someone think enough of us to even participate in the finals."
Brown was nominated for the contest in March by shelter volunteer Kris Lennon. In her nomination letter, Lennon explained how Brown and Caroline's Kids staff rescued a cat named Phoenix, who had been left for dead on the side of a road, nearly frozen to death with garbage stuck to his fur. After shelter staff nursed the cat back to health, Lennon adopted him. The incident is just one of many heartwarming endings that have come out of Caroline's Kids, Lennon said.
Officials from Animal Planet said a total of 8,292 people from across the U.S. were nominated for the "Cat Hero of the Year" contest and another online Animal Planet contest called "Hero of the Year." The two contests are separate and voters can vote for Brown only in the "Cat Hero of the Year" category. A panel of judges determined the finalists for each contest based on level of commitment and time devoted to their cause; level of accomplishment and impact of actions; and inspirational value, sincerity and credibility, said Laura Sullivan, vice president of marketing for Animal Planet Media. "Animal Planet's Hero of the Year contest recognizes the unsung heroes of the animal community," Sullivan said. "Every day our finalists give selflessly of themselves for the welfare of animals, and Animal Planet is honored to recognize the extraordinary efforts of these animal advocates."
Brown, a Mayfield Heights resident, said the contest prize of a $5,000 donation is much needed for Caroline's Kids. Food, litter, medicine, maintenance and utilities for the sanctuary total $15,000 a month. In addition, the building is in need of a new roof.
If she wins, Brown will need to show Animal Planet, via photos or video, how the shelter used the prize. She said those who vote for her will be showing support for the shelter cats, volunteers and staff. "There are many, many people behind the scenes that have made it possible for us to get this far," Brown said. "Caroline's Kids would not be here without people like my husband, Tom, and the dedicated volunteers and staff that work behind the scenes."
as seen in the Sun Messenger article written by Susan Ketchum on 10-02-2008.
Judie Brown needs your vote, but not for a political office.
The founder and executive director of Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue is one of 10 finalists for this year's Cat Hero of the Year award from Animal Planet. The Mayfield Heights resident was one of 8,292 nominees for the Discovery Channel show's two annual awards.
Several volunteers from the shelter submitted her name for nomination. The letter from volunteer Chris Lennon is posted on the Animal Planet website. Brown is the only one from Ohio, and the only one she knows who has ever made the finals from Northeast Ohio.
"There's a lot of competition out there," she said. "I've read other letters, and they are very impressive."
Brown and her husband, Tom, began Caroline's Kids in 2000 to create a safe, no-kill space for old, feral, or injured cats. The name comes from a special needs cat that the couple fell in love with at another shelter.
"There was nothing around here that would give a cat like Caroline a chance, because she is unadoptable," she said.
After operating out of rented space for seven years, they were able to purchase a 2,000 square foot house on two acres in Concord Township, with the help of donors, a benefactor, and the cash from their own retirement accounts. The cats moved in last Oct. 13.
"We had outgrown our other place, so we needed to do this," she said. "Tom and I feel lucky to be doing what we love to do. The cats are our life."
Now there are 220-230 cats living on the property. Most of the animals come to the shelter with broken bones or needing other medical care. The site has a clinic and can handle everything but surgery.
"They are coming to us after having been thrown out of car windows or found in dumpsters, or other very bad circumstances. This year we took in a mother and four kittens from a Mayfield Heights house fire," she said. "And we have a boat load of kittens this year."
The cats are cared for by volunteers who feed and scoop and clean and do laundry, or weed and maintain the property. Brown still maintains the Caroline's Kids office in Mayfield Heights, but the couple spends Fridays and some Sundays at the shelter.
It costs $15,000 a month to keep the shelter running, including food and kitty litter. So, if Brown wins, the $5,000 first prize will be welcome.
"If I win, we will have six months to produce a video or photograph album to show how the money was used. The sanctuary needs a partial new roof, and the medical expenses are enormous. I beg a lot," she said.
To vote go to the animalplanet.com and type in Cat Hero of the Year. Animal Planet will announce the winner at 10 p.m. Dec. 4.
As seen on WKYC Channel 3's Newscast by Mike O'Mara: "Rescued
cats have special home for the holidays" broadcasted
11-23-07. Click here to read story
News Herald, August 2006: "These pet projects are not cheap" Click here to read story
News Herald, June 2006: "Where will they go when you're gone?" Click here to read story
Cat Fancy, March 2002: "Serving Animals Caroline Inspires Pet Rescue" by Susan Easterly.
Click here to read story
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Your support of this book is appreciated.