A Reservation Animal Rescue by Oglala Pet Project

Some of PWNA’s reservation partners focus their efforts on healthy animals for healthy communities. They rescue and care for stray, injured and sick animals that roam the reservations, and PWNA supports these partners through our Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR) program. With impoverished conditions and limited jobs, the available funding for animal welfare is limited in many tribal communities that PWNA serves. Last year alone, PWNA provided enough supplies to help 17 dedicated animal welfare partners rescue, rehabilitate, place or feed nearly 80,000 animals of the reservation.

Photo of Katya Jana describes Katya’s personality as “both cat, dog, and toddler rolled into one."

It was a windy spring day when Andrea from Oglala Pet Project (OPP) spotted a Russian Blue cat near a large dumpster. PWNA staff looked on as she patiently “here kitty kitty” kitty’d her way into the kitten’s heart. Ultimately swayed by some kibbles, Andrea was able to gently grab the cat before she disappeared under the dumpster.

One day later, the rescued blue would meet her forever home mom, Jana. It’s been over half a year since that rescue, and PWNA recently caught up Jana for a foster care update. “She was given some shots and spayed at that time…had a runny eye we watched out for, but the vet said it wasn't serious. As with many cats and kittens we foster, she had little scabs all over and pin worms that we had to treat. She's great now!”

Jana was fostering the cat until a suitable home could be found. “I struggled with the thought of adopting her out even when people were showing interest and told Andrea to not post her picture for a while.” She's not photogenic, so it was hard for OPP because the photos are the only way people can "meet" the animals and a bad photo often means no adoption. After several months of trying to place the blue, Jana made peace with the fact that the cat was already “home” and named her Katya.

Jana describes Katya’s personality as “both cat, dog, and toddler rolled into one. She comes when she is called, loves to sit on your lap, and gets her exercise by running through the house each night. She loves to hide and then pop out at the dog and run away. She does this thing we call ‘lick, lick, bite’ … puts her paws around our arms and licks twice, then does a quick bite to see if she gets a reaction. She will also attack our legs as we walk by, if we don't pay attention to her.” And, like most cats, Katya is part hunter. “One day, she was meowing very loudly in another room. I couldn't figure out why and thought something was wrong. Then, she came into the room with a toy mouse in her mouth she had ‘caught’ it for us and came to share!”

Jana fosters animals in need for OPP. Since October 2014, Jana and her husband have fostered 34 cats and kittens and 2 dogs. Katya was only their second “foster failure” — meaning they were her foster home and forever home. Since Katya’s official adoption, Jana has taken in five foster kittens, two of them very small and just under four weeks old. “Katya was a great ‘big sister’ playing, showing them around, and cleaning them.” Katya also stays busy with several friends, including two grown cats named Marie and Tom, a rescue corgi named Pepper, and hermit crabs Pepe and Tanielle. Katya is like their annoying little sister that loves to play and annoy everyone else. She plays tag with the dog in the house, and tries to share-eat her brother's food. She's the most outgoing with visitors, and then helps the other pets relax.”

A great ambassador to the four-leggeds, Jana credits OPP for their success in finding forever homes. “OPP has a great process for animal adoption. The application includes questions about the family, habits, previous animal experience, and references. The process also includes a house visit and meet and greet with the animals. Their animals have usually been through a lot when they get them, so they want to minimize the possibility that adopters may have to give up the pets later for some reason. It seems to work really well.”

For those of you considering a rescue adoption, Jana offers this advice: “Rescue pets become such a part of the family. They have nothing but love to give and provide entertainment, comfort, and joy when you need it the most. There are so many homeless pets. Adopt don’t shop!

PWNA supports animal welfare and rehabilitation by providing food and treats, blankets and toys, leashes and collars that ease the cost of fostering for foster families. PWNA also subsidizes treatments such as Frontline, spay/neuter services and immunizations and provides incentives to support pet clinics organized by our partners in tribal communities.

Thank you!