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I'm Thinking Of Volunteering

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I was recently thinking about volunteering at the local shelter where I adopted my beautiful kitten (Cheeto). I wanted to get some feedback from people here who do volunteer. Is it very depressing? What is all involved in volunteering? I think I would just like to be one of the volunteers that plays with cats, as I don't think I could do anything else.

I'll probably end up bringing them all home! LOL!

Any feedback is appreciated.
post #2 of 24
How kind of you! I'm sure your help will be much appreciated. I know several of our members are volunteers. Let's hope we hear from them directly. I think it will be really rewarding!
post #3 of 24
Go, please go for it!! Even Once!! It is really rewarding (spiritually, emotionally, mentally.)

If you like playing with the kitties, you can volunteer to interact with them (and yes, playing with them.)

i remember last Christmas, my job duty was to take care of the holiday window (SFSPCA.) i just stood there for hours, playing and amusing the kitties. They were on window display in a boutique in downtown, San Francisco. The kitten went really fast!

Thanks for your kind consideration *sweet!

post #4 of 24
Well, I'm not sure exactly how it is in your shelter, but in ours there are some tough moments.
But the emotional rewarding. This is definately the greatest thing I have ever done for myself and for others!

the bottom line is that I recommend it with all my heart. The good & the bad. It wises you up amongstother things
post #5 of 24
Well I've only been a volunteer for a few months now, but I would never trade it. I'm sure each shelter has differnt procedures they follow, so the kind of work they need help with may vary, but Where I am, it's every thing from cleaning cages & playing with cats to doing dishes & moping floors. I don't know if the shelter you are looking at is a no kill shelter, but I'm sure that it would be harder emotionaly to spend time in a place that isn't no kill. The shelter I'm at is no kill. there are still some difficult moments (like when people leave cats on our door step in a box in the rain) but there are some very happy wonderful stories that make it all worth it. I look forward to my saturdays so much now because I love being at the shelter.
post #6 of 24
Yes! Go volunteer. I've been volunteering at a shelter for six months. Certain of my four-footed furry friends aren't there anymore because they've gone to forever homes.

One gal was stuck in a cage for over a month. If she didn't have diarrhea, she was vomiting. But on one subsequent visit, she was out, demanding to be cuddled. She went to a forever home on March 8 -- OUR home! She's happy and healthy and makes us laugh. I swear if I'm in the bathroom too long, she has to know what I'm doing. It makes cleaning the bathroom less boring.

When you go to the shelter, take treats.
post #7 of 24
I have been volunteering for a little over a year now at Friends of Plymouth Pound. This is a great no kill shelter in MA. http://www.gis.net/~fpp/
I don't think I could ever handle a kill shelter, but I wanted to help out, so I chose FPP. Experience has been rewarding and I just admire all the hard work that goes into making this shelter work. Sometimes it is hard because each volunteer works alone. This proves especially difficult when trying to administer medicine to sick and stubborn kitties But I have had so many rewarding experiences! Things like having a huge seven year old male cat suckle on my cheek because he was so happy to see me, or having to try to clean cages with eight frisky kittens jumping all over you! LOL!
Yes, I would definately reccomend this. Every shelter is different in it's procedures, I am sure, but overall the good outways the bad and you will just be so happy knowing that you're helping so many furbabies! And who knows, you might get a new friend out of it, like I did. I just couldn't resist a certain black kitten when he came to FPP. Hope it all works out for you.
post #8 of 24
So, did you go volunteer yet?

Please tell us you adventures there, if ou did. Shelter stories are something I always like to hear and tell...

Good luck!
post #9 of 24
Mogan was a big tabby. He liked me very much and would react as soon as he heard my voice at the shelter. I liked to catch him in one of the igloos. He always curled up with his back to the opening. It was fun to just touch him lightly, get a "mret??" from him and tell him to get his face out here. He would give the most wonderful face rubs. As much as he liked to cuddle, he was also a fidget. This big, independent, fearless cat turned into a trembling, terrified log of fur, trying to hide under the slant of the roof the wintry day a snow plow came too close to the shelter. Once it left, poor Mogan was still a bit freaked out. As we have a 45 minute drive from the shelter to our home, we thought it best to get going before the weather got any worse. But I couldn't leave Mogan like that. I went over to him, coaxed him out from his hiding place and tried to encourage him to jump down into my arms. Instead, he preferred to climb onto the plywood tree with its multi level platforms. He found one platform that left us very close to eye to eye. I fussed over him and reassured him that the nasty snow plow was gone and he was safe, nobody was going to hurt him. He'd been friendly and loving to me before but this time, he really seemed so pleased to have the reassurance and attention. We like to think the affection and attention replaced the unpleasantness of the snow plow with tenderness and love, reassurance and a cat's appreciation for some TLC when he needed it the most. My beloved Mogan has since been adopted and he's conspicuous by his absence now at the shelter. Someone else may have my Mogan, but I have my memories.
post #10 of 24
I would imagine that it's difficult to resist taking too many animals home! I'm sure you learn to love almost all of them!
post #11 of 24
Prinny, thats a very nice story!
I know exactly how you feel...
post #12 of 24
I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else....
Occaisionaly, when I am cleaning the cages and exercising the cats, I will have someone knock on the door and be particularily interested in a cat. So, I have let them in to interact with the cat in question. And the cat will suddenly turn ultra friendly to the person. He/she will get right up, start rubbing, purring and just being oh so sweet. Not that he/she wasn't nice to me, but the cat just seems to know that this is the person who has come to adopt them. This has happened three times and each time the cat was adopted by the person I let in. Do, you think they know when the right person has come along?
post #13 of 24
You'll have to ask our cat about that. Minzy would generally clamber up and climb into my arms when we'd visit the shelter. But she's go ballistic over my husband. She definitely adopted him. It would be so cute to see her stretched out, asleep, on his chest and him almost falling asleep holding her. Animals know who likes them.

Of course, there is always the "love me" face that they put on for strangers. I wonder about the ones at the shelter. They see how the cats behaved that would suddenly disappear. Do they think if they behave that way, they'll go away with a human, too.

One day at the shelter, an older couple came in with what I presumed was their grandson. Mogan, among others, suddenly turned into 'I'm the world's most loving cat, gee, aren't I a nice cat' until the people left. Then it was business as usual. We are the stage for these little actors. And our hearts are the boards they tread.
post #14 of 24
What a heart warming thought! It's as if God sent that person at that particular time! Of course, I don't put much faith in coincidence!
post #15 of 24
I would absolutely recommend volunteering. It is the best (and worst) thing you will ever do. You will love the animals, even those that aren't adoptable, and those that are adoptable and no one shows interest in, and you will see people you don't want to adopt an animal (but will, or at least will try), and you will meet people that should never have a pet at all but have had many (and don't know what happened to any of them), and you will find animals that tear at your heart. Then you will see one that you have worked with forever go to a wonderful home and it will all be worth it. Your heart will ache, you will cry, you will lay awake at night, and will know it's the best thing you've ever done.

It's not for everyone. People will scream at you and make unpleasant comments. People will write the paper about how awful you are when you don't adopt an animal to them, even though their idea of a "good" home is one that throws the animal outside and doesn't feed it, claiming, "it can hunt for itself." You'll see the dog fighters and the other abusers. You'll see the animals that have been starved, tortured, burned, abused or just plain no longer wanted.

You will also make a difference. You will matter to every animal you come in contact with, even the ones you can't save. You may be the only one that has ever loved a particular animal in its long and unhappy life. You will matter.

It is a difficult, heartbreaking, and wonderful thing to do.

post #16 of 24
George, you hit the nail on the head several times with me! The greatest incentive for me to push my husband to rescue our cat was seeing someone I considered unfit express an interest in adopting her. It made me realize just how much this little gal had gotten to me, when I thought those people would adopt her over my dead body. Okay, so she's my husband's cat and only sees me as a poor substitute when he's not home. (I got kinda jealous last night watching her with him and felt like quite the outsider. But I still love her anyway.)

Yes, I've had my heart cracked (not broke, but it hurt anyway) when some of my special friends at the shelter were adopted. And it hurt worse when two of these darling ladies were removed from their adopted homes for their own safety and put back in the shelter. But the folks at the shelter took extra care in the last placements for these two cats. Gwen and Payson are now very happy in their forever homes. Payson has even been microchipped. When we visit the shelter, I ask about how certain cats are doing.

I need to believe I made a big difference in Mogan that day the snow plow freaked him out. As much as I hated the thought, I was glad to be there when his new mom came in to pick him up. I had the chance to say my goodbyes to him, help him into the carrier, kiss him goodbye and wish him a happy life. Same with Gwen. I knew her new mom was a keeper when she wrote down the name of the treats that Gwen really likes. And believe me, you'll want to form a committee to open a can of wuppass on the people who wanted to drown a beautiful Siamese just because they were tired of him. Needless to say, the Siamese didn't last long at the shelter. He looked to me like a show cat.

There's a feral cat at the shelter who'll probably be there for the rest of her life because she isn't getting the human habit. I've made great inroads with her over the months, but then again I still have scratches from her that are healing. For months she has watched cats crawl all over me, cuddle on my chest, hang their paws and head over my shoulder, etc., and none of them come away worse for the experience. Josephine had an incredible breakthrough the day she climbed onto my right leg, walked to my left leg, climbed on my chest and sat there for 5 minutes. Remember - this is a cat that hates everybody. I was stunned, my husband sat there with his mouth hanging open. Jo-Jo sat and then, having had the experience, walked back onto one of the shelves in the window as if it were the most natural thing in the world. On one subsequent visit, she twice sat on my husand's thigh. She's never done it again. But it was a high you'll never get from pills or alcohol. We didn't think we'd made any impression on Jo-Jo at all. Apparently we gave her a lot to think about. It isn't always obvious when you've impacted them.
post #17 of 24
Prinny and George, you have both touched my heart with the stories you have told us. How much you must love these animals to get a real sense of who would or would not make a good owner, and to recognize how each cat says, by its actions, "Take me; I'll love you! See how nice I am !" That's heartbreaking, but as George noted, there are two sides to your work, one terrible and one wonderful. It' like the opening of A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...

Prinny, I think you would love a link I am going to give you. It's called Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky. The link is here I feel certain that you will thoroughly enjoy it, as I have and still do! When I see that Sandi has posted again, I hurry to read the latest development. You'll understand, and it might help you with the feral you're working with. I recommend it to all of our readers. It's a fascinating and ongoing story!

God bless all of you for doing this wonderful work! You are truly angels!
post #18 of 24
Jo-Jo's story is on one of the forums here under the title of a red letter day for a red collar car. She's got beautiful markings but her fur needs some serious dematting. But she won't let them do it.

Another feral, Chiquita, will let people pet her but generally after six strokes, she indicates she's had enough. I don't know what kind of 'leave me alone' signal she gives. She's used to me calling her Chick-Chick and will tolerate my touch. But I stop on my own because I respect her feelings on the subject. I don't want her seeing humans as more of a threat than she already does.

Maybe there is something to women's intuition. Some people just set off my radar, like the ones that were making noise about my Minzy. (They also tried to convince me Mogan was part Maine Coon. Oh, please. Tabby through and through. My Minz has more of a Maine Coon-ish tail than Mogan will ever have.) I must be part dog because I can spot trouble a mile away.

I'm also part nuts because I wonder if Mogan ever thinks of me.
post #19 of 24
If anyone is interested in volunteering, I would highly recommend visiting your local PetSmart (if you have one) and checking out the cats for adoption there and looking into volunteering for the shelter that has their animals in PetSmart for adoption. I volunteer for Friends of Plymouth Pound, whose locations are in two PetSmarts in MA. It began when I tragically lost Tiger to a vet error. Someone I work with told me I should have a look at the cats up for adoption at PetSmart. I had no idea at the time that there were any cats there. But, even though I wasn't ready for another furbaby, I went and had a peek. What drew me in was a cat there for adoption named Tiger. So, I had a look around and thought that if I wasn't ready to adopt, maybe Tiger's death had led me there to help in another way. So, I took down their contact information and the rest is history. I go in once a week after work. There are about 8 cages to clean and I stay about 2 hours to clean the cages, medicate the cats and let them exercise. It is hard to work alone sometimes, but not too bad because it is on a much smaller scale than some shelters. But, it is no kill that does wonderful work and it is very rewarding when you come and find kitties have gone to forever homes So, if anyone is thinking of volunteering, I think this is a great way to go. Just my two cents worth.
post #20 of 24
I want to volunteer also, but Im only 13 (I am going to be 14 soon) so I dont know if I can.. and hey Im near you also! I am in Bartlett..
post #21 of 24
Toprecious - call the shelter and ask. The one from which I adopted my girl has at least one volunteer your age. :The Knox County shelter I visit has a form parents would have to fill out and they schedule regular hours for volunteers to lend them a hand. Or, in the alternative, they may let you do like my husband and I do - we just wander in whenever we feel like it and stay as long as we want. But please do call the sheler and talk to them. I'm sure they'd welcome you. Let us know what happens. And good on ya, honey, for wanting to help the cats.
post #22 of 24
I love all animals... When I'm older I'm going to be a Vet.. So I might volunteer to a shelter or vet hospital for experiance.. any way I just love taking care of the animals...
post #23 of 24
I have my fingers crossed for you, Toprecious! Let us know what happens.
post #24 of 24
Yes I volunteer at my shelter couple times a week grooming cats and playing with kittens. It is kind a sad to see all those cats in cages especially older ones. Some of the cats stay there a long time and when I go there, it get very sad to see older ones everytime I go. To me it is very fun and exciting to volunteer. I tell it is more relaxing then the dogs. Mine is a no-kill shelter so we don't put cats down unless they are too feral, too sick and very injured. We get healthy cats homes. But it is really hard volunteerin there because you feel sorry and you want to adopt all the cats and you end up taking cats home with you. But there are happy endings; that makes me feel soo good. I think you would love it at the shelter volunteering you time.
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