A couple of weeks ago while I was scanning the front page on The Huffington Post website I saw the story of a dog who had been abandoned by his owners in the most horrible way possible, but who is now healthy and happy thanks to the work of a humane society. I chose to view the photos (which were hard to look at) but I wanted to see what progress he had made. It was incredible to see what a difference a year had made with proper care and love from the staff of the Humane Society. I began thinking about all of the times I have thought about volunteering at an animal shelter but never quite got the juevos to actually do it, this time I did. A few moments later I found myself opening a new tab and doing a search on local Humane Societies and Rescue Organizations. I found one that I liked and had good reviews…I went to their volunteer page…I emailed them….they got back to me…I now play with kitties on Tuesday mornings.
Last Thursday I went in for my training at one of the adoption centers. They rescue animals around the greater San Diego area, get them healthy and strong in foster homes, and when they are ready they are moved to an Adoption Center. While they are there volunteers come for several hours a day and socialize with them. This means they are out of their cages playing in a larger space with toys, each other, and the volunteer. In addition to the adoption services they also do Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) services to help control the feral cat population. So I am helping by answering customer questions and playing with kittens and cats for four hours each week. Actually this week it was 4 hours and 45 minutes, they had been napping and woke up just before it was time to put them in the cages, so I let them play outside a little longer. I tormented Honey and Birdie by sending pictures of kittens throughout the day, so now I’ll torture you guys.
It’s not all glamorous of course, I have to clean up kitten poop, wipe fluffy butts, and keep a record whose doing what (gastronomically and behaviorally) . They are very careful about sickness and keeping the animals healthy, if a cat has illness symptoms they go to a vet and then go back to a foster home until they get better. This way they get more personalized care and it prevents other kitties from getting sick. Some have survived some pretty horrible ordeals but you wouldn’t know it, they act just as rambunctious and silly as any other cat I have ever met. You can really tell they have been loved and well cared for since they have been rescued, which makes them so easy to love and adopt.
On Thursday I met six cats, four day later five of them had been adopted. I met five more new cats on Tuesday but my guess is by next week I won’t be seeing everyone again. It is a kind of of happy dissapointment because I know they are in homes with new families but I wish I had more time with them (a few have made an impression). On Tuesday the black kitty in the picture above, who is very talkative yelled at me when I started playing with other cats after her, apparently she claimed me as her own. After everyone was back in their cages I let her sit in my lap while I finished up the paperwork for the day. She’s so sweet that I think she will probably find a new home by next Tuesday.
So far I like volunteering there, believe it or not I don’t have the strong impulse to take them all home with me. I enjoy their company but I am happy with my kitty dynamic at home.