Sweet people walk among us and inspire memories of Saint Francis of Assisi.
As Donna Ditmore explained to me, she has always had animals and looked out for wayward critters. “Living on a farm,” she’d begin, “we’ve always had many animals.” That’s where her mission to help the cats and dogs in our Valley must have come from.
“Did you ever meet Janet? I took over ALPHA Humane League from her.”
She worked with Janet Black, who I remember coordinated foster homes and adoptions of cats and dogs a decade or two ago. Until Janet couldn’t, she coordinated volunteers out of her humble mobile home in Monte Vista.
Donna has written many updates in her column “Donna K’s Cat Tales.” Two years ago, she began her update in the Valley Courier: “First, as always, I’d like to thank all of the folks that so generously, donate cat food, time and money to the feral, abandoned and misplaced cats and kittens in the San Luis Valley.”
Motorcycle enthusiast Lisa Karst has a big personality and channels Saint Francis, as well. She is the president of Cats Alive SLV and travels endlessly transporting cats and kittens to medical care and adoptions, as well as, traversing the many passes in the Valley to pick up donated food when it’s available. She has worked along former Cats Alive SLV presidents and volunteers in the care of community cats. She writes and completes forms applying for grants and funds. They all work endlessly to trap-neuter-release or TNR.
Marge Hauer, who also has a daytime job at Safeway in Alamosa, has given many hours toward trapping community cats and still does what she can even though she passed the cat baton to Lisa. TNR protects the community of feral cats so disease and overpopulation doesn’t overtake neighborhoods.
So, these are some of the saints walking among us as we shop, work, play in the Valley. Alpha Humane and Cats Alive SLV need more donations to purchase more food, TNR, medical care, and winter shelter for these some of God’s creatures.
Remember Mahatma Gandhi who said: “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
Remember St. Francis who said: “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
Please help us build compassion like St. Francis lived, and be generous with donations to these tax-exempt organizations:
ALPHA Humane League at 589-5952, 580-9078, 3095 County Road 108 South, Alamosa CO 81101
Cats Alive SLV ([email protected]) (719) 298-7028 at P.O. Box 84, Alamosa, Colorado 81101
— Nelda Curtiss is a former substance-prevention media specialist, journalist, and retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]