Powers Pet Rescue Team
by Shenita Etwaroo
Neo Powers stood resolute in the shelter holding area. There were at least
two dozen cages stacked against the wall. Each held one of the strays animal
control had rounded up during their last sweep. It wasn't as bad as it used to
be but to Neo, any occupied cage in this facility was one lost animal too many.
The cat in the cage at eye level was almost all black with a splash of white fur
across his front that made it look just a little like he had knocked over a
small bottle of paint. There was a white blot on his nose that made him look
delightfully inquisitive when he tilted his head sideways. He didn't belong
here. That much was obvious.
"Things are getting better out there, Neo," Amy the veterinarian said without
looking up. "We're doing a lot more paperwork but there are a lot fewer animals
to do it for."
Neo wasn't listening very carefully. She was busy trying to think of a place to
put this cat. She couldn't have been more than three months old. There was no
reason for him to spend another day in a cage. Then it hit her like a bolt from
"I'm going to make a quick phone call, Liz. Don't take this one yet."
"Make it quick. The whole floor is scheduled in about an hour."
"Can they give me another day? I've got appointments over the weekend."
Liz shook her head. "We have this conversation every week, Neo. The
administrators won't approve any more budget overages."
"Neo banged the door on the way out. There was nothing she could do for the
others, and the thought made her angrier with each push of the buttons on her
"Melody? Are you going to be home tonight? Does little Aria still want a kitten
for Christmas? Okay. Tell her Neo found one."
Neo walked out of the shelter facility. Her face was set in stone. She was
determined once and for all to put a stop to the lost pets and the cruel
decisions the overworked and under budgeted administrators at the shelter had to
make every week.
It was time to put together a plan. It was time for Neo Powers to recruit a
team. She was going to find the smartest and most dedicated helpers and get them
to join her mission.
They were going to make absolutely sure that shelter stayed empty for one month.
She was already dialing her phone.
It was time for the Powers Pet Rescue Team
Two hours later, Neo was sitting at the corner table in her favorite
diner. Melody was there with her older brother Andre.
Roberto and Daniel were there. Rob had recently received an honorable degree
from Yale. Julie, Noelia, and Maria, the three girls from the school science
club were there, but of course, any time Neo said something about pet rescues,
they were always there first. Katy Niss from the college brought two of her
students, Reese, and Prim as well.
Ten people, thirty days.
"So what's the plan, Ms. Powers?" Reese asked. She was always eager to get
started, even if the plan wasn't complete.
"The way I see it, we've got two major priorities," Neo began. "First, we have
eleven animals in the Queens Shelter that need placements. It costs that
facility over $150 per animal to put them down, which I think is probably the
most thorough waste of money, time and life ever invented by man this side of
"Agreed," Rob said. "We train for it because that's our job, but it doesn't mean
we don't think it's a waste."
Neo nodded in agreement. "Second, I want to put a program together to make sure
that facility doesn't see another stray for the next 30 days. I'm going to make
arrangements with Liz to notify me by text message if Animal Control picks one
up. By the time that stray goes from transit to processing to the shelter, I
want us to have found a placement for them."
"How will we get the word out?" Daniel asked.
"Same way we do anything else," Gale replied. Door to door. Signs on every
corner. Park a couple of people at the grocery store. You name it."