Caboodle Ranch Update

This is what happens to good people doing good things when Animal Right’s Extremists do their ‘deed’…This is so sad…At least the dream lives on!!!

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This is Craig, I’m sick of feeling sick. It’s been a living hell for six months. In that period of time, I’ve only been able to see my Tommy and Meetball etc just once. Nobody knows whether Tommy or Meetball or any of the others are still alive. My thoughts are with them at all times. Talk about the ‘’whole thing making you crazy”, I was admitted to ‘the nuthouse’ for a few days…I was walking to the gate at the ranch when 3 police officers came up to me and said “Mr. Grant, we understand that you don’t want to live anymore, so you will have to come with us”. They put me in handcuffs right then and there and we drove away to the the Sheriff’s office. From there they transported me to Tallahassee to a psychiatric facility. One thing I will say is the police officer that transported me to Tallahassee was very kind and told me of a friend of his that went to this place and received a lot of help and that they were good people.

I had to make up my assigned bed first. I had a room alone. There was a schedule on the wall, hour by hour, what was expected of you. When I laid down, I couldn’t go to sleep. I was really locked in this place, reality began to set in. I was never going to get outta here. I thought, ‘I’ve really done it to myself’ this time. In the morning, there was a nice guy that should me my way around, said I would be here for a minimum of 72 hours and I would be carefully watched and evaluated. Soon the other patients emerged from their rooms at 6 am. It was becoming a lot like you might see in the movies. One guy was hitting his head against the wall yelling for his medicine, another guy walked all day long , pacing and twirling his hair; another woman found it necessary to change her shirt every ten minutes to keep herself looking nice; there was a large black man that was talking to me, I dint understand him, he talked in gibberish but I tried to listen. But when I finally walked away he continued to talk to the wall. I thought “I don’t belong here”, and then thought “or do I?”

Rob was upset that they took me, all my friends were in shock. I kept thinking, what else can they do to me! We were going to take my granddaughter to Disney, But instead my son told her “no honey, we have to go see Goofy”. My son has a great sense of humor. Nanette and my son and daughter and family came to see me the following day. I was happy they were there but I was embarrassed. It was just another blow I have had to endure through all this. A little bit later I got to see the doctor, and I thought pretty soon I would have to put a square peg in a round hole. She was very understanding and said I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She prescribed some heavy duty medication to help me cope. I had a full physical and blood work and all was well.

The harsh reality of where I really was hit me when I came across a room that was literally padded wall to wall and had only a table in the middle of it. The table had straps all over it to hold someone down. I felt for that person that may end up there. All of the attendants there were fantastic and kind. I was allowed to look at a newspaper while I was there. And to my horror was a full page color ad from the ASPCA of the adoption event of my cats. I showed the attendant the ad and he looked at me shocked. He thought I really was crazy disbelieving me when I said I had over 650 cats. That ad made me so sick to my stomach. All my babies were going to strangers. They had a home, a happy life.

They asked me if I had a living will and who would be my custodian. I began to think that maybe I wouldn’t make it through this and I would leaving in a box. But the food was great! We even had Fruit Loops for cereal… Next day I saw the doctor again and they arranged for my release within 48 hours. At first I was thinking these people here were ‘nut jobs’, but I soon began to see that they were people like you and I and they had gone through things in life that brought them to this place to be cared for, and thank God there were places like this to help them. The doctor said that I could come back any time if I felt the need and I could check myself in.

When Nanette came to pick me up, it was really incredible to have those doors open up and allow me to leave. There was just no way out otherwise and that still frightens me. I was anxious to get back home. Nanette helps me a lot, tries to keep me up and positive even when she herself is feeling grim. I have dinner at her house often. I don’t have money of my own. She has been a real friend helping me through this. I don’t know what I would do without my son Rob, he has had to be 3 people at once and completely take over the business end of the ranch for me.

I did want to mention Hissy, that was left for dead after the raid. He was a feral cat. This cat had gotten very weak and sick and it’s a story I will tell you later on. It is very heart warming. Hissy is so grateful to be alive. He has become my best friend. So many of my friends are gone. When they took my cats , they took my life. I try to get through each day as best I can. Right now we are trying to seek justice by going for the appeal. We were told we will most likely win. It will be at the next higher court. David was not going to represent us for that. He is so disgusted with the way things have gone with the legal system that he was fed up. But after talking with Gary Brown, the lawyer Nanette used, he was convinced to do the Appeal for us and make sure we win.

I need help financially to make this Appeal happen. We need 3500.00 by September 4th and the balance of the 7500.00 due in 60 days. I am no longer able to pay myself through the ranch. I was entitled to 1000 a month but rarely took that much. I do not receive a pension or retirement so it’s back to work I go. Wednesday I drove to Jacksonville and met up with Rob. We met up with one of the property managers I used to work for years ago. We met at Panera’s and had breakfast. This property manager had been following the story of Caboodle Ranch. I told him I needed to go back to work. And he said he felt he could keep me busy! Some of the jobs that are being lined up for me, is to repaint the large pool decks, cleaning roofs, and a number of other jobs that I am looking forward to doing. This time, I will be working for Rob.

I should have bought another truck when I had the opportunity. But my “chitty chitty bang bang” Ford F-150 now has 486,000 miles on it, and it keeps working for me. One of the spark plug coils had let go and mis-fired so the name was appropriate. Rob fixed it for me. To go to work and back it about 260 miles round trip, so I may only work about 3 days a week. Last night I stayed at Robs. At Robs, I have a nice bedroom, with a bedroom set I bought in 1974 when I got married. Even with this comfortable bed that I have, I chose to sleep on the floor in the living room, with Robs cats around me. They comforted me. There were many nights after visiting Rob I am exhausted and it’s over a 2 hour drive back to the ranch. I never liked leaving my cats.
I’m the only guy I know that prefers to sleep with over 100 cats a night. It was so much fun for me. Upstairs in the barn store a lot of the cats had already bedded down for the night. I would grab a sleeping bag from the clothes line and throw it on the floor then change litter boxes one more time before laying down. When I looked at my sleeping bag it was already filled with cats.

I had about 20 cats that wanted to sleep on the bag with me. One cat would just lay across my face. I would call my blind cat in the voice he recognized and he would make his way over and lay down with me. He stayed upstairs in the barn store. He was happy and safe. When I would roll over in the middle of the night, it was like a circus act, instead of the cats getting off of me, they would side step until I was finished. It was quiet all through the night. The only thing you would here was crunching from the food dish every now and then. The cats all got along so well. They all loved me and I loved them. The whole place was magical. Every day you have to do the same thing all over again, the help would come in by 10am and by noon the place was clean and perfect. You can’t expect an outdoor place to be perfect all the time but it was most of the time. These people have taken all my friends because of their version of how things should be…

Gary Brown and David Collins feel in their hearts that we will win this Appeal. I have to have the justice that the ranch cats deserve. So much that has been done is so wrong. So many of the cats I know have been put to sleep. One that I always think about was a little tux cat that had a neurological issue that made him walk wobbly. But he always got on just fine. He was so sweet and I loved him so much. There was nothing “wrong” with him, nothing that would have caused him to be ill. But I know they took his life. His and many others. If they were not perfect, they killed them. These are the things that keep me awake at night, that trip me up when I am trying to have a “normal” day. All the money that was sent in the past has gone to good use. David has been up against the wall with political agendas of Madison county and the judge. I don’t know if I will ever see my babies again, but I do know that I need to fight this til the end, for them…

I had so many plans and goals for the ranch. And they were slowly materializing. How could this have really happened? Sometimes I still can’t believe it. We had such huge media coverage on the ranch, documentaries, interviews, articles, shows. THEY all saw the ranch as amazing and magical. Why didn’t these animal activist groups? There were TV crews that stayed overnight at the ranch, walked through the woods and filmed, went inside the buildings etc. They were all impressed and in awe of what the ranch had evolved into. Yet, a handful of people, we now call the ‘haters’ were able to destroy it all.

One last thing: My dream would be to have about 500 acres with an old barn, in a rural area of maybe Oklahoma. Because I really intend to spend the rest of my days saving cats and caring for them. But I want to be far away from people that will do them harm, like here. If anyone out there has land to donate or can donate toward a new Caboodle…

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~ by topcatsroar on September 4, 2012.

2 Responses to “Caboodle Ranch Update”

  1. Total injustice. The haters, peta, Hsus and ASPCA destroyed a beautiful place, a good man and the poor cats suffered and died!!

  2. Courage Craig, I pray for you every time one of my 3 kitties climbs into my bed for a snuggle and a kiss. My 17 year old passed away last year. He was the closest to me. He used to sleep on my pillow with his back to my face purring. Not every night, sometimes he wanted to prowl. There were a few times I woke up and he would be in my arms and I didn’t even know how he got there. I know this is a sad and horrible time for you, but once you have a kitty’s love, a part of your spirit is carried there forever. They will survive, in this world or the next, because you taught them how to survive by accepting them as they were.

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