Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Rescue of Franklin Cat

When I was in college, my friend Laura told me that my life was "the best soap opera she'd ever seen". Granted, that remark was made in regards to a different period of my life, but it seems that the drama of life does follow me in (sometimes) inconvenient ways.

Take for example, the latest bit - Franklin, my cute little marble tabby cat, decided to take a walk one evening. When he didn't come in (and the temperatures started to drop), I went looking for him and eventually found him here:

Yes, there he is, 60 feet up in a white oak tree. Up until this happened, I liked this tree - revered it for its ancientness and historical memory. At this point, however, I began cursing its existence.
Franklin was evidently spooked by the herd of South Park deer, and ran up the tree to get away from them. However, he would not come down. Not for food, not because he was cold, not for Julius, not for anyone or anything. The first night I called the fire department (cliche', I know, but they did show up and tried to help). Unfortunately, the tree was too far back off the street for them to get the ladder truck up to the top of it, and they said if he was still there in the morning to call them and they would come back and try again.
That night I watched in grief as the temperatures dropped down to ten degrees, and kept getting up every few minutes to check on him to see if he had come down. I hardly slept, and to quote Mammy in Gone with the Wind, I was "prostrate with grief".
The next morning I called the fire station at sunrise - and although they were not too sure about what they could do, the firemen showed up to help. Once again, an unsuccessful attempt ensued, this time with duct tape, several lengths of bamboo, and a snare-like apparatus on the end of it.
Nada - so day two ensued, and I made hundreds of phone calls to rescue centers, the police, the power company, the animal shelters, the city offices, veterinarians, etc. I think everyone in three states heard about Franklin's predicament, and thanks to Facebook even more people were trying to help.
Finally, a tree trimming service called one of their climbers and he showed up to help. He brought ropes and clamps and such (and sheer bravery). By this time the story had made it onto the news services, and that's WBOY's Mike Krafcik filming the climber getting ready to go after Franklin. The Dominion Post also sent a reporter and photographer - it was quite the show when it all came together.
This is Mike the tree climber going up the tree to where Franklin is - clear at the TOP, and it's freezing outside. The wind was blowing and it was snowing, so this was all very stressful and intense.

Do you see those two little glowing eyes at the top? That's Franklin. He's sitting in the very top of the tree, where it was nearly impossible to reach him. He's back home safe and sound, though, thanks to everyone who tried and came through.
It was a real show of humanity, really. I learned just how many good people there are out there who are willing to help out when the chips are down. And some people were just mean - saying it was only a cat - but he is MY CAT. As he was being rescued, and even after, there were still people who had seen it posted Facebook stopping by the house to make sure Franklin was okay.
And no one is more relieved than myself.
Franklin is now grounded, until the big oak tree gets fitted with cat-proofing. I'm not going to get him declawed, that's just cruel. And the idea is to put something like metal flashing around the tree trunk so his claws can't get a hold. Keep your fingers (and paws) crossed that this will work.
If you want to see the news video or read the article, you can find them at WBOY's website. There is also a Facebook group that will update you on the progress of the catproofing and Franklin.