Josie and Fluffy

It was when I was taking a break in the middle of the marathon rescue of Gloria that I got a call from Nicole in Mobile, Alabama asking for help with her cat, Josie, who was stuck in a tree. I gave her all my advice and suggestions and hoped she would find a way to work it out, since there was certainly no way I could get there that day when I was already exhausted and still had not finished rescuing Gloria. Nicole took all my advice and do-it-yourself suggestions to heart and did her best, but she succeeded only in scaring the cat higher in the tree. It was time for me to see what I could do.

I found Josie up as high as she could go in that tree. I saw the evidence of Nicole's rescue attempts with the ladder leaning against the tree from the roof and a bucket she had managed to haul up in the tree hoping she could use that to lower Josie to the ground. Josie sat quietly and motionless in her tiny fork, and, after asking about Josie's attitude toward strangers, I was a little concerned that she might not be very happy to see me up there in her canopy territory where movement was very limited.

It took me a while to work my way up to her, and Josie watched me quietly every step of the way as I came closer and closer to her. She did not look like she felt eager to meet me, but she never made a move to get away either. She could not go any higher, so she just sat and watched. I did my best to make friends with her, but she never warmed up to me much. She showed no interest in the carrier or food, so I had to bag her instead. She did not fight it or complain, but after five nights in the tree, she probably had little energy left for that.

I brought her down to a much relieved Nicole, and she took Josie inside to release her and feed her. After Josie got fully settled back inside, she cuddled up for a much needed, deep sleep, and Nicole took this picture and sent it to me.

I drove straight from there to Slaughter, Louisiana where Melinda was anxiously waiting for me to rescue Fluffy, her four-year-old, orange tabby boy who had gotten stuck in a tree at the fence of a nearby neighbor's yard. Inside the fenced yard was a very large, energetic and vocal German Shepherd who had an intense interest in Fluffy. If Fluffy were to come down or fall on the wrong side of the fence, it could be bad news for Fluffy. He had already spent three nights in the tree, so this needed a quick resolution.

Fluffy knew that he was in a serious situation, and he wanted out of it. He appeared to be ready to make friends with just about any stranger, so I was hoping he would be happy to greet me. When I climbed up to him, he readily greeted me but did so with caution. He sniffed my hand and let me pet him, but he was not fully convinced that I was trustworthy. After a few attempts at proving my good intentions, he finally decided it would be best to get away from me. Fortunately, instead of climbing higher in the tree, he decided to walk out a limb on the opposite side of the tree even though he had to pass by me to get to it. At first, when I saw him coming closer to me, I thought he had a change of heart, but when I saw that look of intent to get out to the end of the limb, I understood what he was doing. I stuck my hand out to stop him, but that only slowed him down a bit. I did not have my bag ready, so I quickly tried to get it ready as fast as I could while also trying to keep him close. He continued to try to get around my barricades, and I eventually had to grab his back leg to keep him from going any farther. I could not get the bag ready with only one hand, so I had no choice but to grab him by the scruff and pull him back to me. I quickly came down while still holding him by the scruff and handed him to Melinda who was waiting there below. Fortunately, Fluffy settled down once he saw he was in Melinda's arms, and, in a matter of seconds, he was perfectly relaxed. To be safe, we put him in a carrier so she could walk him home while I packed up my gear.

It was not until after this rescue that I learned that the camera on my helmet failed to operate not only for this rescue but for the two prior to it. The battery had unexpectedly died, and I missed getting any video of the rescues for Gloria, Josie and Fluffy. This picture of Fluffy which Melinda sent to me is the only one I have of him.