By John Kelly, The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune
Around June of 2007, as Sue Schindler was hard at work at her job as a corporate mechanic at Lakefront Airport, she and her co-workers heard some kittens crying. "We had been using trailers as temporary quarters after Hurricane Katrina and were moving them out," Schindler recalled. "The cats and kittens had been there since the storm. I remembered seeing an 'adoption day' (sign) at Petco in Metairie, so I called them, and they put me in touch with Riverlands SPCA in LaPlace.
Matthew Hinton, The Times-Picayune
Sue Schindler of Slidell is a corporate mechanic at New Orleans Lakefront Airport who rescues and fosters animals and keeps them at home until they are adopted. She goes to PETCO in Metairie every Saturday and Sunday with the animals in the hopes they will be adopted, as she did in April.
"Some shelters put the cats and dogs down, and I couldn't even think of doing that. So I brought them to Riverlands, which finds foster homes for the animals until they can get permanently adopted. Eventually, they got adopted, and I got hooked."
Schindler soon began to foster animals at her home in Slidell. Usually. Schindler said she gets a break in the form of a lower cost from the Southern Animal Foundation for spaying and neutering. "But I've spent as much as $1,000 a month on an average for any given month for food, medical supplies, veterinarians and flea and parasite prevention, depending on the number of animals," she said.
Most Saturdays and Sundays, Schindler brings her fostered pets to local pet stores in East Jefferson and Slidell. "This provides me with a location to show them," said Schindler, who currently has 11 cats [including kittens] available for adoption And it is extremely helpful."
A couple of months ago around 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, Schindler said as she was preparing to leave a pet supply store, a man brought in a puppy, who was later named Donut, that was wrapped in a blanket. The man told Schindler that he had found the dog outside in a nearby parking lot and that since the animal shelters were closed, he asked Schindler if she would take the dog.
"The dog was about five weeks old, shaking, flea infested and terrified," Schindler said. "I took him home and nursed him all weekend. I used Dawn dish detergent several times to get rid of the fleas and used a de-wormer to rid him of a tape worm. Then on Monday, I took him to a vet because he had a bad case ofear mites.
It took about a week of intensive care to rid the dog of the physical problems, but Schindler said the mental damage wasmuch worse. "I assumed from his demeanor that he had been abused because he hid from people," she said. "When you opened the door to the kennel, the dog would stay in the back. So I kept him at work in the office where he literally had six mechanics day and night who adored him. They visited with him, played with him and eventually gained his trust." It took Donut more than a month to return to normal, and Schindler said she used the time to report him lost, checking newspapers for missing dogs, and nurse him back to health.
Then on April 10, Schindler handed over Donut to his new adopted family -- a couple who had seen Donut with Schindler at the pet shop and wanted to adopt him. "It's bittersweet," Schindler said. "It's rewarding to know that you saved a life when no one else would. But it's sad when they go to permanent homes because they won't be a part of my life anymore. "You get attached, and it hurts to let go. But I know that if I don't, I won't have room to help the next little Donut."