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When you work in animal welfare you hear all the horror stories. You hear about all the animals who were never heard and never found in time. But the story of “Molly the Cat” is not one of those stories. The story of “Molly the cat” caught the attention of a City, then a nation and then the world. This is her and our story.
There’s a store in the West Village of New York City called Myer’s of Keswick. It’s a sanctuary for transplanted Great Britainer’s and you can find European chocolates, sausage and pork pies and many other twists on American products there. One of the things Myer’s of Keswick was known for was their car, Molly. She had come to the store an introverted little girl but had recently become more adventerous and was routintely venturing farter and farther away from the store. On Friday March 31st, 2006, Molly ran down a narrow alley between the Myer’s of Keswick building and the one next door, to escape a dog who was chasing her. She would be heard from, but not seen again for two weeks!
I was not made aware of Molly’s story until Monday. The Fire Department had shown up since Friday and sprayed water into a huge pile of garbage (and I mean huge – maybe 3 stories high and 30 ft long!) and some thought the debris falling might have trapped her. At 12pm on Monday April 3rd, Nancy Gambert (owner/founder) of the Renaissance group called me and we agreed to meet at 12:30 and walk over to the building. She showed me the alley Molly had run down but there was also a hole in the side of the building she could have gone in. One thing was sure and it was she was alive! In the mornings and nights, ever day we were there, you could hear Molly crying and how she sounded would directly affect our mood. I zeroed in on the huge pile of debris between the two buildings. It looked more like a wall that had been constructed, than debris. It was raining that day but we decided to climb the back of the building and look down onto the pile. I sat on the roof with the rain pouring and looked down into this hideous mountain of debris and prayed I would see something move, or at least colors that would like a cat. But nothing did. I went home and got my telephoto lense and stared into the debris pile from the street level but could see nothing. That would become the madness of it all as we went. We could hear her but not see her.
On Tuesday April 4th, we began investigating the holes inside the building and where they lead. The problem was that there were many and so many different places she could have gone. But how did the sound of her cry play into where she might be? Sound is so deceiving and the one thing this story did not lack, was epinions. So many epinions and each person was so confident in their epinions, no matter how bizarre. Some people didn’t think the sound was coming from that side of the street let alone the building we were searching in! In the beggining though we tried to rule out the phyisical areas she could have gone. There were gaps and holes that went into the side wall of the building, the floor boards in the ceiling of the basement and even into the sidewalk in front of the building. We started with the gap going into the side wall of the building (this was the wall that lined the pile of debris). There was paper and other things blocking the hole. Could she have gotten through the whole and then it got filled? Or did she climb in and now can not turn around? We also found air pockets in places that had been covered by dirt. Had she run into a whole and had the pocket collapsed behind her? We started by investigating the corner, the sidewalk and the alley of the building. This is when news crews started showing up a asking what we were doing. You’d get one or two, here or there. A local newspaper would show up, a local newscast too. But every day Molly could still be heard the story and interst would grow. On Wednesday night someone from the ACC (Animal Care and Control) showed up