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Adopted Dog Helps Family Oversee Feral Cat Colony


Written by Amber Mahrou


Every dog at Heaven Can Wait longs for one thing, a loving forever home with a family who will cherish him. That’s just what Baxter, a 5 year-old lab mix, was missing from his life the day his owners decided they couldn’t keep him and dropped him off at a veterinarian’s office.  Luckily Baxter ended up in Heaven Can Wait’s Pups On Parole program, where abandoned dogs are cared for by prison inmates and taught basic commands in preparation for the day that a loving forever family eventually comes into their lives.


Baxter’s day finally came when Melissa and Carl McGill spotted him at a Heaven Can Wait adoption event while they were looking for a new member to add to their family. The McGill’s had been searching for that special new dog for several weeks, but none had been quite the right fit. Baxter won them over right away with the gentleness he extended to their son, 9 year-old Vaughn, and with his sweet and mellow nature. Melissa knew when she saw the two of them together that Baxter was the special dog who was going to come home with them. But Baxter, now renamed Hudson, could never have dreamed of the housemates he would be inheriting along with his new family—a golden retriever, and a colony of feral cats!


Hudson’s first homecoming was also his very first lesson on living with cats. When the McGill’s arrived home with Hudson, another furry member of his new household was there waiting for him: Mei Mei, the family’s cat. At first, Melissa held onto Hudson as the cat and dog sized one another up from a distance. Then she thought, why not let him off the leash and see how he reacts to his new feline roommate? Hudson took off like a shot after Mei Mei, who stood his ground and didn’t move a muscle until Hudson was almost on top of him… and that’s when Mei Mei reached up and gave Hudson a good SMACK!


He kind of keeps Hudson in his place,” comments Melissa, “The cat will curl up and sleep on top of him, and when Hudson is sleeping Mei Mei will play with his tail. All Hudson does is move it out of the way!”


Beloved companion and combination cat bed/cat toy, Hudson has made his transition into the McGill’s home quite smoothly. Of course, there was a bit of a learning curve while Hudson became acquainted with the McGill’s house rules… he is definitely a bed hog, and no stranger to the delicacies of the garbage can. His days of dining on the McGill’s garbage were over quickly, however. “All I did was tie some balloons on top of the garbage,” says Melissa. “He hates how they sound when they pop, so he doesn’t touch the garbage anymore!”



Of course, it hasn’t been quite as easy getting Hudson to ignore the colony of feral cats living right on his doorstep. Melissa is involved in a local rescue organization that works closely with Heaven Can Wait, called C5 (Community Cat Coalition of Clark County). C5 is an organization that helps manage feral cat populations with a strategy of “Catch-Neuter-Release”. The organization captures feral cats and Heaven Can Wait spays or neuters them.  The cats are released back onto the streets they call home and allowed to live out their lives without having litters of unwanted kittens.


Programs like this are great for feral cats because they are typically too wild to be adopted and if they are captured by animal control, they are usually euthanized. With C5’s program, these cats get to live the lives they want to live, but with a caring guardian to make sure they stay healthy, and without the chance of having kittens who would become the next generation of feral cats.


Melissa is proud to say that through C5’s efforts, and with the help of Heaven Can Wait’s spay and neuter clinic, the number of cats taken in (and euthanized) by the animal control has  gone down.


“C5 wants to help everyone they can regardless of where they are, but in a responsible way,” explains Melissa of C5. “Trapping cats is tough work, but we have people who are out there doing it every single weekend. In fact, just recently we caught our 3,000th cat!”


A few of those 3,000 cats, call Melissa’s little colony home. Hudson finds that the feral cats generally ignore him, but he doesn’t take too much offense—his favorite way to involve himself in C5’s mission is by helping the feral cats out with all of that extra food they leave laying around! C5 will probably not be recruiting him as a new volunteer any time soon, although according to Melissa the need is there.


“They always need volunteers. They need people to label cages, feed the cats, clean the cages, monitor the check in/check out process, and even hold kittens to help them wake up from anesthesia. That’s right, you could help us by holding kittens!” If any of those sound like the job for you, you can find more information at C5-TNR.org.


Although he won’t be winning any awards for his efforts at helping C5, Hudson has settled in very well with his family, both furry and otherwise. He is a fast learner and a sweet dog, so comfortable with people that he doesn’t even bark at the door.


“He’s everyone’s dog,” says Melissa. “Our other dog, Jack, is definitely my dog—he follows me everywhere! But Hudson just loves everyone.” Although he might not be completely unbiased, because he sleeps on Vaughn’s bed… where he hogs all the space he can, of course.


Click Here to learn how you can volunteer at Heaven Can Wait Animal Feral Cat Clinics.


 Please support Heaven Can Wait’s efforts to stop pet overpopulation!


Heaven Can Wait has lots of wonderful cats and dogs like Hudson that are looking for adopted homes.  You can meet the cats Thursday – Sunday and the dogs on Saturday at the Petsmart off I-215 and S. Rainbow in the Arroyo Crossing Center. 




One Response

  1. Hi Amber, thank you for the wonderful story about the McGill’s starring Hudson, Mei Mei, and C5. Trap, neuter, and return(T-N-R) is an
    humane alternative to euthanasia for our homeless, abandoned community cats in Las Vegas and Clark County. Along with Melissa, I am also proud to be a volunteer and colony caretaker! A special, big thank you to Keith and Debbie Williams!!

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