It was magic. Sandy Uhler, now known to many 4Paws volunteers, cannot recall exactly when she and husband Paul first connected with 4Paws, but she clearly recalls the dumpster! It was the start of their long journey with cats, cats, and cats.
They rescued dear Magic from that dumpster many years ago, and loved Magic for a solid 15 years. At some point, Sandy thinks she met Dede Dixon in a store. She still is a store volunteer, every Tuesday, 5pm, at Pet Supplies Plus in Falls Church, and can be counted among those who step up when a substitute is needed.
She and Paul have done so much in addition. Helping set up at Fairfax Petco adoption fairs and transporting cats to vets, for two examples of many. Beyond 4Paws was the cat colony near the Merrifield Home Depot, for which Sandy mobilized a crew of people to check on, feed and, when possible, TNR (trap, neuter, release). Some of the trapped ones were certainly adoptable. One was little black Ninja, who she rescued, made comfortable indoors, and loved from adoption in 2007 to the rainbow bridge early this year.
Some of that colony sheltered in the hulks of old cars behind a nearby Saab repair shop. Turns out the owner was caring for the colony, too. He even let one elderly cat make its home inside the shop, to keep her safe. And what did Sandy do then? She coordinated volunteers to help him help them, such as providing extra food.
Like many of us, Sandy and Paul have adopted and fostered so many cats over the years that it is a bit difficult to say which cats came in which order. But the names endure. Magic, of course. Ninja. Micah. Magellan. Clayton. Tipsy. Magnolia. Oreo. Rustycatz, a tortie from California — that is Sandy’s email address, too.
More than a few were not actually 4Paws cats. She and Paul rescued one from a NC winery, where the kitten was eating the workers’ tacos. A few from relatives. Always on the lookout!
Sandy is active in other ways, since her 2007 retirement from the federal government. She has worked 19 years as an usher at the Kennedy Center (one of the few things that may keep her from a 4Paws activity).
4Paws and all these cats are so lucky to have Sandy among our many dedicated volunteers. Thank you, Sandy!