(Above: Esme, Nunbun and Durga in a typical pose)
Tippi the kitten was starving to death when she arrived at the Berkeley Humane Society. The little white female with a gray spot on her forehead wouldn't eat and was obviously in a lot of pain. She hadn't been grooming herself, either, so her fur looked awful.
"Her mouth was clearly the source of the pain," says vet tech Sarah Gray. "There was pus coming out of the right side, and it was too painful for the vet to examine her. So we started her on antibiotics and sedated her for the exam."
Once she was under, they were able to look in her mouth and discover that a chunk of her lower jawbone had broken off and was being held in place only by soft tissue.
"You could tell by the discoloration that the fragment had already started to die, so we had to remove it and two teeth on her lower jaw. Then we put her on antibiotics again and let her rest," says Gray. "After two weeks she was eating out of both sides of her mouth, had almost doubled in weight, and was grooming herself. When I first met her, most of her personality was encompassed in dealing with the pain she was in. Now she was amazing and wonderful and super duper sweet. So we put her up for adoption."
It didn't take Tippi long to find a new home – and a new name. She was adopted by Erin Bennett of Berkeley, who renamed her Esme and put her together with her other two cats, Nunbun and Durga.
"I had planned on being extremely cautious when introducing the cats, but Esme darted out of her room right away and almost immediately began playing with them," she reports. "I was so happy to see them all getting along. Esme is the tiniest of the three, but most definitely the fiercest! She especially loves to chase after and initiate a play-fight with Nunbun, who is three times her size! It is such a joy to see them cuddle, play, and eat together."
Esme is another happy ending for the Berkeley Humane Society, which bounced back from a disastrous fire that destroyed its adoption center in 2010 to place more than 941 animals in loving new homes last year, and is on track to top that number in 2016. But loving care like this is expensive.
So what can you and I do to support them? Drink beer.
Next Saturday, June 4, the Humane Society will host its third annual Pints For Paws, a craft beer festival featuring more than 80 beers from more than 20 craft breweries. (This is Berkeley, after all.)
And if beer isn't to your taste, there will be plenty of locally produced ciders and wines, too - plus food trucks, live music, and special guest appearances by some of Berkeley Humane's adorable, adoptable animals.
And unlike other beer fests, which donate only a portion of their proceeds to charities, 100 percent will go directly to the animals.
Pints For Paws will run from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Humane Society, 2600 10th Street in West Berkeley. Tickets are $45 in advance at berkeleyhumane.org/pintsforpaws or $50 at the door.
Oh, and bring your dog. Tell them Tippi – oops, I mean Esme – sent you.