How this rapper quit his music career to start a cat rescue

“I think something as selfless as rescue could be an example to the world of unity and working together,” said Sterling Davis, a.k.a. the TrapKing.

Sterling Davis, aka The Trap King.

Sterling Davis, aka The Trap King.Weir MediaNov. 29, 2020, by Jen Reeder

This story was originally published on Today.com.

Atlanta resident Sterling Davis was on a break from a rap tour when he applied for a job at the county shelter scooping kitty litter. He just wanted to stay busy and make a little money. Plus, he’s always loved animals, like his cat at the time, Rick James.

“I did horrible in the interview because they had cats in the room and I was playing with all the cats, kissing all the cats,” he told Today.

Even though he didn’t really answer any of the questions because he was distracted by the friendly felines, he got the job because, as the person who hired him said, “We’re not seeing people like you with cats.”

Davis, 40, started helping shelter employees with trap-neuter-return cases. The team would trap community cats (formerly called “feral”), bring them to the shelter to be vaccinated and spayed or neutered, and then return them to their outdoor realm.

While Davis learned about TNR, he came to another realization.

Sterling TrapKing Davis
Most community cats wouldn’t do well inside a home, so trap-neuter-return is the humane alternative to euthanasia. TNR also reduces feline overpopulation, curbs the spread of disease and helps with rodent control.Courtesy of Sterling TrapKing Davis

“At the county shelter, there were no men and no Black people that worked in the cat department,” he said. “When I would go out and do TNR with all my friends, it would be all women — that’s who trained me. I finally asked the difficult question: ‘Where are all the guys and where are all the Black people?’’

The answer: There’s just you.

Davis realized he had a new calling. He let his band know he would not be coming back on tour. Instead, he was going to devote all his time to cat rescue as the TrapKing.

After five years of working at the shelter run by LifeLine Animal Project and training with Best Friends Animal Society, Davis founded the nonprofit TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions in 2017.

His bold goal: to change stereotypes of men in cat rescue and bridge the communication gap between Black communities and predominately white animal welfare organizations.

“I’ve seen rescue be something that’s looked at as hard, tedious, sad,” he said. “If people can see me and I make this look like this is a rock-star type life, this is fun — you can do it.”

When his music money dried up, Davis sold everything he owned and bought a conversion van to live in to help pay for cat surgeries and support his nonprofit. He plastered the van with TrapKing logos and people started noticing. He hosted contests for kids, who would watch his humane traps. Whoever texted him first about a cat in a trap won $20, second place got $15 and so on.

Sterling TrapKing Davis
Sterling Davis has always loved cats. “They’re pretty amazing creatures,” he told TODAY. Courtesy of Sterling TrapKing Davis

“I started going into neighborhoods and kids would see me like the ice cream truck,” he said with a chuckle. “I would pull into apartment complexes and see young boys running up to the van trying to give me cats. ‘Hey Trap, look — I got a cat. Do I get some money?’”

As the TrapKing became better known, opportunities arose. The Atlanta Humane Society offered to spay and neuter cats he brought for free, which was a huge help since he wasn’t charging anyone for his services.

Davis, who enlisted in the Navy right out of high school and served for two years as an operations specialist manning the ship’s radar, said he believes his experiences have helped him connect with people from all walks of life as the TrapKing.

“I think being in the military, being around different people, different cultures and being in entertainment is what actually helped me better communicate with all types of people and better communicate this mission,” he said. “I’ve literally been pushing to make TNR community cat care as common as recycling and get more people engaged in so many fun ways.”

It hasn’t always been easy. Early on when Davis was returning cats to a predominately Black neighborhood, a group of men walked up and told him: “White people put tracking devices and diseases in these cats to hurt the Black community and you’re helping that. You’re bringing them into the neighborhood.”

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s so wrong.’ It was really difficult to explain it because all the Black community could see was this is a white person’s thing,” he said.

Over time, perceptions have changed. When protests erupted across America in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Davis launched a T-shirt campaign called “Allies in Rescue, Allies in Life.” He announced he would donate all of the funds to the nonprofit Campaign Zero, which promotes policy changes to end police violence. Support from rescue advocates and organizations was overwhelming.

“I got a lot of feedback from the Black community on that, like, ‘So you got all of these animal people to donate to issues other than just cats or dogs?’” he recalled. “I’m like, ‘Yeah — we’re allies in rescue and allies in life.’ So that really turned a lot of things around.”

A few months ago, Davis was setting a trap for a cat that surprised him by jumping into his arms. He adopted her and named her Alanis Mewissette.
A few months ago, Davis was setting a trap for a cat that surprised him by jumping into his arms. He adopted her and named her Alanis Mewissette. Courtesy of Sterling TrapKing Davis

Davis now runs TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions from an RV, which he shares with his cats Bowie, Damita Jo and Alanis Mewissette. He hopes to travel across the country soon promoting TNR and fundraising for animal shelters. He’s also pushing for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to start offering a TNR badge.

Through it all, he’s continuing his outreach to communities and modeling his motto, “You don’t lose cool points for compassion.”

“I’ve had a lot of parents reach out to me and say that their son gets made fun of because he likes cats,” he said. “I just want it to be known that you cannot lose cool points for compassion. If you are doing something compassionate, you gain cool points.”

The TrapKing would love to see the rescue community find ways to put aside any differences and work together toward the common goal of saving the lives of pets.

“I think something as selfless as rescue could be an example to the world of unity and working together,” he said. “So I want to put that out there.”

Rescue in Crete

Sam Wilson is a volunteer at https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeShelterCrete/ She is a former police inspector with Nottinghamshire, England police. She served on the force for 30 years and retired in September 2020. A week later, she flew to Crete, Greece to volunteer with George Orfanidis and his George Stray Dogs organization. Sam’s plan was volunteer for four weeks, improve her Greek language skills, and then return home. The return-home part of her plan became complicated. Her time there inspired her to book three additional flights to Crete over the following two months, with more planned in the future. Sam now has a very long commute to work and works side by side with George.

George Stray Dogs was founded by George Orfanidis, who has devoted more than 20 years to rescuing and caring for dogs and bringing about positive change for animals by changing people’s minds and hearts through education. George houses 100 dogs at his shelters, which lack electricity and water supply. Every day, without fail, he drives the 70 km round trip bringing water and food to the dogs.

Animal welfare is not a priority in Greece. There are estimated to be 8 million stray dogs and cats in the country. They are routinely abandoned in the rubbish, in the mountains, and on the street. Some dogs are chained to barrels for the length of their lives, with little food and fresh water, and riddled with ticks, fleas, and worms.

George has been reliant on his fellow Greeks for donations for food for veterinary medicine, but Greece has been in recession for a long time. Many of the people who care about animal welfare have little money to give. The struggle for funding was somewhat alleviated when Australian animal activist Stella Savvas set up the organization’s Facebook page. George has also received various volunteer assistance from his brother Nikos Orfandis, and volunteers Katerina and Debra. The organization also received a boost when George’s friend, well-known Greek rescuer Takis Proestakis, mentioned him on his FB page.

The access to a wider audience has allowed George to build infrastructure at one of the shelters, which will allow all of the dogs to be housed at one site. Fencing, kennels, and easy access to water will make the rescue work easier. George, Sam, and other volunteers are currently working to complete the site work before winter sets in.

Some of George Stray Dogs rescue success stories – Before and After:

Tommy – George found Tommy in the filth of an abandoned house. The sight of Tommy reduced George to tears. Tommy had little fur and wounds all over his face and body from the effects of leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease which afflicts many dogs in the southern Mediterranean. After months of care, love, and treatment, Tommy was transformed into a beautiful dog. Tommy and George are now inseparable.

Hara – Hara was abandoned in the rubbish five years ago. George was caring for her as a stray on the streets. One day, he was alerted that some men had her on a chain and were ready to hang her. George went to the location and fought with the men to save her life. (He has been attacked more than one occasion for his work.) The men damaged George’s car and bruised him, but Hara was saved and she now lives at the shelter. Hara is a contented dog with a sweet and gentle nature.  The deformed leg with which she was born causes her no issues.

Dias – Dias is known as the Gentle Giant. He is a 60kg Greek Shepherd found on the highway with shattered legs, unable to move. With two surgeries and care from George he is thriving. The puppies particularly adore him. He’s the alpha dog in his pen but  calm and even natured with others.

The transformation of dogs from when they arrive at the shelter in heart-breaking condition to health, balance, and friendly dispositions. They form close bonds with each other and adore George. George has a huge heart, dedication, and deep compassion for the neglected, abused, abandoned, tortured animals on Crete, Greece.

If you would like to make a donation to George Stray Dogs, their Paypal account is

George Stray Dogs also have a Go Fund Me to raise money for a 4×4 car to provide consistently reliable transport to the shelter in winter.

Hara
Dias

For further information: https://www.facebook.com/GeorgeShelterCrete/

It Makes a Difference to That One

From http://www.lamanchaanimalrescue.org

A vacationing businessman was walking along a beach when he saw a young boy. Along the shore were many starfish that had been washed up by the tide and were sure to die before the tide returned.

The boy walked slowly along the shore and occasionally reached down and tossed the beached starfish back into the ocean. The businessman, hoping to teach the boy a little lesson in common sense, walked up to the boy and said, “I have been watching what you are doing, son. You have a good heart, and I know you mean well, but do you realize how many beaches there are around here and how many starfish are dying on every beach every day. Surely such an industrious and kind hearted boy such as yourself could find something better to do with your time.

Do you really think that what you are doing is going to make a difference?

The boy looked up at the man, and then he looked down at a starfish by his feet. He picked up the starfish, and as he gently tossed it back into the ocean, he said, “It makes a difference to that one.”

~Anonymous

Christmas Eve (an excerpt from a novel in progress – Ollie & Spuds)

Spuds the cat and Ollie the dog watch from the hearth rug as Aunt Joan rolls out the dough with her grandmother’s rolling pin. She smooths butter on the dough, sprinkles it generously with cinnamon and brown sugar, rolls it up, and pops it into the stove. Outside it’s dusk. Snow is falling.

Tori comes into the kitchen, inhaling deeply. “Umm. What’s cooking?”

“Mouse. Your great-grandmother used to make it from the leftover dough from her pies. Did your mom make it?”

“I don’t think so. I don’t remember. Come on, Ollie. Let’s go feed the barn animals.” She motions for him to follow her.

Ollie sighs, reticent to leave the warmth of the kitchen, and rises. He follows Tori out the door, squinting his eyes to a gust of snow that swirls off the roof. They walk toward the barn. In the hills there glimmers the twinkling of lights of other farms. Tori looks up at the sky and sticks out her tongue to catch snowflakes.

They walk to the barn through the mounting snow. The donkey, Frank Sinatra, shakes his mane and the horse, Fred, whinnies in greeting. Tori pats them, gives them fresh water and hay and some extra grain, because it’s Christmas Eve. The chickens, which roam in the relative warmth of the barn, come over to them, clucking softly. Ollie noses them gently. Tori stoops down and runs her palm over their feathers, murmuring to them. She gives them extra feed and adds more hay to their nest for warmth.

They listen to the soft munching of the horse and donkey, the gentle clucking of the chickens. Tori closes the door and they step out into the snow, which has covered their footsteps leading to the barn. Stars have started to emerge, little pinpricks of light in the dark blue sky. The farmhouse roof is draped with snow, and each window is aglow with candles. Through the steamy kitchen window, Aunt Joan takes cookies from the oven. Through the living room window, Uncle Jon lights candles nestled in pine boughs on the mantle. Spuds follows Aunt Joan into the living room and sits beneath the Christmas tree. Uncle Jon turns toward Aunt Joan, laughing at something she says.

Ollie looks up at Tori beside him, who reaches down and scratches him behind his ear. Then they trudge through the snow together. At the doorway she dusts the snow off of Ollie’s back and kicks the snow off of her boots. They enter the house, which smells of pine and baking, and join the family.

The Hugging Rescued Kangaroo

(See the video link of hug-in-action at the end of this post)  Just like human beings, animals have feelings, too – there’s no doubt of it. Especially when it comes to those who take care of them, or more people who saved their life. And probably the best example it’s the story of Abigail, one of the most affectionate rescued animal in the world.

When she was just a few months old, the poor little kangaroo lost her mom. It’s when she arrived at the Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs in Australia. Here she was welcomed with the open arms and a lot of love by the volunteers. Of course, the little one responded with the same coin and now, ten years later, hugging those who rescued her and took care of her became part of her daily routine.

Due to her friendly, lovely attitude, Abigail earned the tittle of the sanctuary’s “Queen.” And now, all the staff at the centre start their day with a warm hug from Abi.

“Abi was raised from a joey with Roger and Ella…Abi came to me as an orphan of 5 months old and was quite busted up with cuts and scrapes. Abi has grown into a very healthy 7 year old, and is my only kangaroo who comes up and gives a great big rugby tackle cuddle. Abi is also unusually light in colour and I think she is very beautiful,” wrote the Sanctuary Alice Springs on their Facebook page.

Watch the “Queen” on her daily routine, here:

h/t: thedodo

Lion, Tiger, And Bear Become Lifelong Friends After Being Rescued As Cubs

This story originally appeared at InspireMore.

Lions, tigers, and bears definitely aren’t meant to live as a pack. But not every animal has been through the trauma that forged the bond between three normally opposing male predators.

Back in 2001, police raided a drug dealer’s house in Atlanta, Georgia. In the basement, they came across a heartbreaking sight. There sat three terrified, malnourished, and parasite-ridden cubs that certainly didn’t belong in anyone’s home.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

 

The African lion, Leo, had been stuffed inside a small crate with an open wound on his face. Shere Khan, the Bengal tiger, was emaciated, and the black bear, Baloo, was wearing a harness so small it had become embedded into his flesh.

But their nightmare was finally over; the Georgia Department of Natural Resources took them to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal rescue in Locust Grove. There, they’d spend the rest of their days on a beautiful 250-acre property. They’d already been through too much in their short lives to ever be released back into the wild.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

“When they were first brought to the sanctuary, Baloo, Shere Khan, and Leo were injured, frightened and clinging to one another for comfort,” curator Allison Hedgecoth told HuffPost. And as they got more comfortable, they groomed each other, cuddled, and played together. Clearly, they were a bonded trio.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Sanctuary staff anticipated the need to separate the friends once they reached sexual maturity, as they would likely grow apart. After all, it’s the natural order in the animal kingdom. But the trio, known as BLT (bear, lion, tiger), never left each other’s sides. The sanctuary ultimately decided to keep them together.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

For 15 years, Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan lived, slept, and ate in the same habitat. And after surviving such horror together, they couldn’t have been happier.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Baloo, the playful one, loved teasing Leo with gentle bites. And the affectionate Shere Khan could often be found snuggling up to either of his brothers.

“Even though they live in a three-acre enclosure, they’re usually within 100 feet of each other,” Allison told Inside Edition. “That’s proof that they’re not just coexisting or cohabiting, they actually do enjoy each other’s company.”

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Leo and Shere Khan spent the rest of their lives with Baloo before they passed away, respectively, in 2016 and 2018. Baloo was there for both of their burials — and a constant presence in their final days.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

While everyone at the sanctuary is still heartbroken over their deaths, they find solace in knowing they gave all three a fantastic life together. And they’re making sure Baloo knows he isn’t alone.

Photo: Facebook/The BLT – Baloo, Leo and Shere Khan

Rest in peace, Leo and Shere Khan. The world will never forget your beautiful story of survival and friendship.

Four Winters, Four Summers, Four Days

Four winters.  That’s how long I was there. I remember each icy blast, each deep snow, and the mice far beneath, tucked into burrows I could not hope to reach.  I slept beneath the bramble and awakened with snow perched on branch and fur.

On the days when the creek’s ice cracked along the edges and snow melted in rivulets toward the pond, I knew I would not go hungry.

Four summers.  That’s how long I was there.  Other cats came and went from this place, and I fought often and hard for hunting rights, for the right to walk this piece of borrowed earth for a time.

You saw me one summer’s day, skirting along the edge of the forest.  I saw in your eyes compassion and distress at my gristly body.  You turned and disappeared inside, then returned with two small, circular objects, one with silvery water, the other with luscious scents.  You placed them at the garden’s edge and spoke softly to me:  “This is for you.”  I blinked slowly at you, acknowledging.

The scent of food brought back fragments of memory:  an old woman, a petting hand, a warm house.

I ate and drank my fill, then slipped off into the forest.  You watched.

Four days.  That’s how long you fed me.  On the fifth day, you placed a steel box on the ground with food and water inside.  I walked around it, wary, sniffing.  It smelled of other animals, and I sensed that you meant to trap me.  What I did not know then was that you would have taken me in and cared for me.

You dreamed about me that night—do you remember?  You stood on the back porch as I walked away, leaning into the wind.  I turned back toward you, my face round and scarred, my eyes telling you wordlessly: I will not return.  Did you remember every detail of the dream as you awoke, as if it were real?

Four days.  That’s how long you continued to set the trap with food and water.  On the fifth day you peered for a long time at the place where you had seen me in the dream.  Then you put away the trap and scattered the food in the forest for other animals to find.

He Wasn’t Much of a Hunter

He closes the door of the red pick-up truck, re-positions his gun over his shoulder, and sets off into the woods.  Despite trying to ease his weight onto the twigs and leaves, toe first then heel, his footfalls snap and crackle and echo through the pre-dawn forest.

A doe lifts her head from foraging, her button-black nose twitching with scent-taking.  With noiseless ease, she lopes off, her white tail high.  A groundhog stands on the crest of his mound-home squinting into the distance, his forepaws tucked up to his heart, his teddy-bear ears angled forward.  He squeaks and retreats inside his burrow.  A flock of quibbling sparrows wheels off into the sky.  Only the cat remains.   She is motionless except for the white tip of her tail.

The hunter walks on, pausing from time to time, looking around, then moving on.  The cat follows, unnoticed, at a distance.

When the sun has climbed well above the horizon, the hunter sits down on a large, sunny rock.  He opens a thermos of steaming coffee, crinkles flat the wax paper covering his sandwich, and munches thoughtfully, his head angled to the side.  Sun-warmed and drowsy, his shoulders relax and he closes his eyes.

The cats comes closer, soundlessly.  She sits a few feet in front of him and looks up.  The hunter opens his eyes and startles, then feels foolish.  He mutters something about cats—he’s never liked cats.  He glares at the cat and looks into her gold eyes.  She holds his gaze evenly.  He sighs, then he breaks off a small piece of cheese from his sandwich and tosses it on the ground.  The cat eats it and looks up expectantly.  The man breaks off a larger piece and holds it out to her.  She gracefully leaps onto the rock, and with one paw on the hunter’s leg, she gingerly takes the cheese from his hand.  The hunter slides his broad palm down her back, then offers her the rest of his sandwich.

After a while, he gathers his things, slings the gun over his shoulder, and sets off.  The cat jumps down and follows.  Twice he looks back over his shoulder.  He opens the truck door and sweeps his arm wide in a welcoming gesture. The cat jumps in, settles herself on the passenger seat, and washes her face.

Two seasons have passed since I found my hunter.  He wasn’t much of a hunter, really—I could read that much in the way he moved.  It was plain to me that he wasn’t really interested in hunting as much as he was playing a role.  It was also plain to me that he thought he didn’t like cats.  Most people who give cats a chance find they like them after all.

These days I wait by the window for my hunter.  He comes in with a blast of cold air.  I jump down and wind my way around his legs.  He stoops to pet me and says a word or two.  Then we pass a companionable evening in silence.  His gun is in the attic, tucked away forever.

 

• • • Have you ever rescued an animal?  Please tell us about it: Untoldanimalstories@gmail.com

Homeless Chihuahua Was Terrified Of Human Contact, But She Quickly Realized What She Was Missing

By Ashley Maisano – www.AnimalRescueSite.org

Hope For Paws received a call regarding a homeless Chihuahua who was alone on the streets and absolutely terrified.

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When rescuers arrived, they secured the area with fencing so the nervous Chihuahua wouldn’t be able to run away from them. One of the rescuers, Loreta Frankonyte, slowly went up to the dog to try and befriend her.

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She offered her some food, but she wouldn’t take it from her hand. She tossed it on the ground and she reluctantly gobbled it up. When she offered another piece of food, she finally took it from her hand.

She took a few more pieces, but when Loreta went to pet her, she snapped at her. She was still visibly afraid and didn’t understand yet that these people were there to help her.

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Eventually they slipped the snare around her neck and gently pulled her out. They thought it would be better if she didn’t feel cornered anymore. Once they got her out, they put the leash on and spent time with her to make her feel safe. They named this adorable pup ChiChi.

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She finally allowed them to pet her and began to trust them. They scanned her for a microchip, but unfortunately she didn’t have one. They brought her back to their clinic where they gave her a warm, much-needed bath to wash off all of the filth from living on the streets.

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She was still nervous at first, but after a while, her personality began to show. She was actually a very friendly and sweet dog. A week later, she went to live in a foster home with another one of Hope for Paws’ rescues named Washington. The two of them got along great and were the best of friends in no time.

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ChiChi is available for adoption. She is a very affectionate dog who loves to give kisses. She also gets along great with other dogs. If you’re interested in giving her a loving forever home, contact http://www.PawPrintsInTheSand.org.

ChiChi video