"Edward' - A High CLimber
"Edward" is a mostly-Siamese ex-shelter kitty who was stuck in a pine tree for two days in Hattiesburg, MS. With the assistance of his loving family, I was able to bring him back to earth where hopefully he will stay for a while! Also, many thanks to Julie S., Edward's owner, for her generous donation to the Oktibbeha County Humane Society!
It was about noon on a Thursday in New Orleans, and I was entering my car after finishing up some appointments with the medical industrial complex, when I noticed a missed call and a voice mail from a 601 area code on the Kat Fone. My "kitty-stuck-in-tree" sense immediately began tingling -- I had not performed a rescue since Easter and I felt that one was past due. The voice mail was from Mrs. Julie S. in Hattiesburg, and she explained that "Edward" had been stuck in a pine tree since the previous day and that she had been unable to obtain help from local authorities or tree companies. In later conversations, Julie said that they had contacted three different tree companies, but all had either been dismissive or rude, one with a "Lady,we cut down trees, we don't climb them!" snarky comment. Julie was given my contact information by the Hub City Humane Society and wondered if I could help. I returned Julie's call, and explained that I was driving back from New Orleans and did not have my gear with me, but that I would be happy to do the rescue the next day. However, since I was passing through Hattiesburg on my way back to Starkville, I said that I would like to stop by so that I could evaluate the situation. This would be the first rescue where I actually knew what I was facing before I arrived with my gear.
When I arrived at Julie's house, she and her son Will greeted me, and led me to a pine tree in the back yard. I had recently told my wife that I wondered when I would encounter a kitty who was stuck fairly high up a tree. Well, this was it, as Edward was about 45 feet up. The tree looked healthy with lots-o-branches, so the climb promised to be straightforward. I told Julie that I would return at 7:00 am the next day, as my wife and I were leaving for Huntsville at about noon to visit our son and daughter-in-law. This would also give Julie a chance at resuming their planned trip to Tennessee to visit family. Julie had canceled this trip as she could not bear to leave Edward while he was stuck in the tree. I told Julie that I would send a text when leaving Starkville so that she could inform me if the situation had changed.
I woke at 3:00 am, packed the truck and hit the road at 3:30. I sent a text as I was leaving, and was surprised and gratified to receive an immediate "Thank you!!!" in response. Later, Julie told me that they had set the phone message tone to be loud and obnoxious -- her daughter Lindey could not sleep because she was worried about Edward, and she heard the text arrive and told her mom. I arrived at about 6:30 am (a bit earlier than expected), but Mr. S. was already working in the yard and Julie, Will and Lindey greeted me as I exited the truck. They helped me pack the gear to the tree, and along the way, mentioned that Edward had climbed "higher". I looked up at the original limb, and there was no Edward. I kept raising my gaze until I saw some fur in the very crown of the tree, about 65 feet up. Yup, Edward had definitely climbed higher! I had been worried about spooking Edward when I set the climbing line, but that was no longer a concern as I needed to set the line under Edward as the crown was too dense to place a line in that area.