Volunteer of the Month – January 2017

dsc00625It’s a new year! What does that mean for us at VOKRA? It means a whole new year dedicated to saving and improving the lives of kitties. However, that’s not possible without the help of our lovely volunteers who pour their hearts and souls into their roles. To kick of 2017 we’d like to give a special shout out to our first Volunteer of the Month for the year, Joyce Grassi!

If you’ve ever visited VOKRA’s website to adopt a kitty or two, learn about our organization or seek volunteer opportunities, you’ve come across our galleries of cats and kittens. Joyce joined VOKRA as a photography coordinator in September 2015. This role not only fueled her love for cats, but also her passion for photography. As the photography coordinator, Joyce is the link between our volunteer photographers and fosters who need a photo session done for the kitties in their care. Once the adorable photos are captured, it’s Joyce’s job to upload them to the website. Additionally, she coordinates with fosters when she notices cats need updated photos. Joyce has seen great success in getting kitties adopted quickly after new and improved photos have been uploaded to our site. She enjoys letting the photographer know when there has been a successful adoption – warm fuzzies all around!

One of Joyce’s favourite moments so far has been meeting the kitties who star in VOKRA’s current Facebook banner photos:

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Here is Joyce with Suzie-Q behind the scenes of the banner shoot:

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Joyce enjoys volunteering with VOKRA as it brings satisfaction to hear applicants are interested in a specific cat as a result of seeing their awesome portraits. As a frequent traveler, being a photography coordinator works well for Joyce as she always has her laptop and files with her, giving her access to coordinate photo sessions whenever and wherever.

Without Joyce, our website and social media channels would seriously be lacking a great number of photos.  We’re grateful we have an incredibly dedicated coordinator on our team to make sure aesthetically our kitties are looking sharp in our galleries. Thank you Joyce for playing a crucial role in helping our kitties find their forever homes and family. You’re sincerely the best!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Wanted: Volunteer Recruitment Coordinators

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As a volunteer-driven organization, VOKRA’s success depends on our ability to recruit new volunteers. We’r looking for Volunteer Recruitment Coordinators to assist with attracting and matching volunteers with suitable positions. As this important role is the face of VOKRA for potential volunteers, a positive and encouraging attitude is essential. If you have experience or an interest in recruitment or human resources, we’re looking for you!

Responsibilities:

  • Review and process volunteer applications
  • Conduct phone interviews
  • Respond to email and phone inquiries
  • Liase with department leads to fill vacancies and coordinate interview and orientations
  • Make recommendations for volunteer positions suitable for the applicant
  • Collaborate with other recruitment coordinators
  • Use creativity to increase awareness in the community about volunteering opportunities with VOKRA

Skills:

  • Education or experience in human resources is an asset
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently, as well as collaborate with others
  • Efective written and verbal communications skills

Requirements:

  • We ask for a commitment of 3 – 5 hours per week (based around your schedule) for a minimum of six months
  • Volunteers must have access to a personal computer, internet and phone as this position is based almost entirely from home.

To apply please complete the volunteer application form here and then email Raj at volunteervokra@gmail.com to let him know you’ve completed the application.

 

 

Science says, “Get a Cat if you want to be healthy (and happy)!”

From Emily at Catological

I recently found a few interesting studies that showed that owning a cat not only provides emotional benefits for humans, but also physiological ones. As this sounded a bit strange, I dug deeper and was amazed to find all the benefits our little friends give us.

Just to list a few, and starting with the most commonly known one, science has proven that petting a cat makes you calm and happy. Amazingly, they also help to keep our blood pressure under control, lower our risk of getting a heart attack by about 30%, and their purrs may actually make you feel calmer and may help you sleep better at night.

As I can only list few of them here, check out the infographic below to get a detailed breakdown of the many ways that cats can help us humans. And if you have room for one, check out all the cats and kittens  VOKRA currently has up for adoption here.

If you want to learn more about the details behind each benefit, check out the original infographic at catological.com!

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Volunteer of the Month – December 2016

mona2It’s December – time for Christmas shopping, holiday cheer and a new Volunteer of the Month, Mona Boucher!

Mona’s been volunteering at VOKRA for approximately eight years, beginning by trapping a mom, dad and two teenage kittens in her neighbourhood. At VOKRA, Mona plays an integral role in several positions. She’s a trapper, feral tamer, colony caretaker, barn cat placer and a driver – she excels at all of them! Her favourite role is trapping as she loves being on the front lines and having first contact with cats and kittens in need. There’s no better feeling for her than when a trap closes and knowing that cat’s life is about to change forever.

“I have hundreds of stories of cats and kittens who’ve been rescued,” reflects Mona. “The most notable is probably miaowing to catch the tiny kittens at a fish food plant. You may already have even see the video!

mona“My fellow trappers and I drive thousands of kilometres, have climbed on roofs, crawled under buildings, saved cats in car engines and in boats, we’ve climbed haystacks and trapped in forests,” adds Mona. “Each situation is different and we’ll do almost anything to rescue cats. It’s exhilarating, all consuming, rewarding and very addictive.”

As an outstanding VOKRA volunteer, Mona inspires all of us to work harder and give all we have to helping cats in need. She’s an amazing individual to work alongside and we thank Mona for all the time she’s dedicated to saving cats and kittens from all over the province. She truly deserves to be December’s Volunteer of the Month, if not the entire year!

Below is a message from Mona about our organization and volunteers and we really cannot say it any better!

“We’re not changing the world, but we are changing the world for that one cat. As a trapper we have first contact, but we’re only one pair of hands in a long chain of loving hands carrying cats to their forever homes. Everyone can do something to help and each and every role is equally as valuable and important. It takes a village to rescue homeless cats.”

We give one last massive thank you to Mona, for truly being an incredible helping hand in making sure VOKRA is a success and all the cats and kittens get to their forever homes. You’re the best Mona!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

You can help save a kitten this holiday season

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This is Cauliflower and she’s the proud mama of five kittens.

She was found upset and crying in the street not far from our Operations Centre. We’re not quite sure how she came to be on her own, but a neighbour told us this isn’t her first litter.

Unfortunately Cauliflower’s story is not uncommon. This year alone, more than 130 moms gave birth to more than 545 kittens while in our care. That’s a lot of kittens! And it doesn’t even take into account the little ones who’ve arrived without a mom.

The reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we wouldn’t be able to help all these moms and kittens without the support of people like you.

Kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. Once they’re old enough, Kale, Parsnip, Courgette, Broccoli and Cabbage will all be spayed/neutered and adopted into loving forever homes. And, like all the moms, Cauliflower will be spayed so she’ll never have to worry about getting pregnant again and she too will have her own forever home.

Your support today will help us pay for the cost of spaying/neutering, as well as for the food, litter and extra veterinary care all these moms and babies need.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season, please DONATE to help save families like Cauliflower’s.

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Parsnip, Kale, Cabbage, Courgette and Broccoli

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Brussel Sprout

And meet little Brussel Sprout, an honorary member of the veggie patch. He and his sister were found freezing cold in a shoebox when they were just a couple of days old. Despite our best efforts, we lost his sister and he was left alone in the world. But luckily for him, he went to live with foster mom Tania where he was bottle fed and received round-the-clock care. It just so happens Tania’s also fostering Cauliflower and her kittens. Cauliflower took one look at him and decided he needed to come join the veggie patch and that’s how he became Brussel Sprout!

P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 pays for one kitten to be vaccinated each month.

City of Vancouver under pressure to make more pet-friendly homes available for low-income renters

cat-698593_1920Many people in the Lower Mainland can relate to struggling to find a place to rent when you have a pet. One group finding this especially difficult is low-income renters in Vancouver. Currently, a lot of subsidized housing does not allow pets. City Council will soon be considering recommendations from the City’s Renters Advisory Committee (just released on the City’s website). These recommendations aim to see more pet friendly units in subsidized housing.

Lawyer Joshua Prowse with Community Legal Assistance Society worked on developing this proposal. A housing lawyer, Prowse sits on the Renters Advisory Committee and provides legal supervision to the TRAC, Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre.

The motion calls on the City of Vancouver to look at why the City and the province are funding housing providers who bar tenants from having any pets, and what changes can be made when the city renews these contracts. “Pets offer wonderful companionship and play a crucial role in many of our lives, but for too many low-income renters, if you have a pet, you can’t find a place to live in Vancouver,” says Alannah Hall, a volunteer and spokesperson for VOKRA, the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association.

Right now, more than 10,000 people in metro Vancouver are on waiting lists for subsidized housing – and many of these units do not allow pets.  Prowse says these pet restrictions affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, people with few alternative housing options.  He notes other jurisdictions have taken steps to protect low-income renters with pets and it is time for our city to catch up and address this issue.

Prowse says he hears from renters who are asked to make an impossible choice, between having a home and having their pet.  He says upwards of 20% of pet surrenders to the BC SPCA (about 1,500 per year) are related to housing challenges.

The Rewards of Fostering

katrina_2This beautiful girl is Katrina and, thanks to her foster mom Carrie, she has a chance at a better life.

Katrina came to VOKRA as a stray kitty and when she arrived at Carrie’s home she had a bad cold and was very scared. In fact, she spent the first several weeks hissing and didn’t want to get out of her carrier.

“I felt bad for her,” said Carrie. “She was in the bathroom and I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t leave the carrier, especially since it was not comfortable at all and now smelling like pee! I had to eventually physically tip the carrier over so that she would leave it and go into the covered cat bed VOKRA had given me. At this point, I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into!”

Carrie is an experience foster who, to date, has taken care of more than 20 VOKRA kitties. They’ve always been calm, friendly cats so she wasn’t expecting Katrina to be so timid. Because she was so used to cats who let her drape them around her shoulders, having Katrina at times was very frustrating. There were days when she wanted to give up and send her back to VOKRA because she wasn’t acting like a “normal” cat. But Carrie’s patience was finally rewarded and she was left with a feeling of pure happiness when Katrina finally decided to trust her.

When asked what her secret weapon was, Carrie said, “Treats! So many treats. I would sometimes sit with her and try to get her to come out of her little cave that I had created for her in a box. She wouldn’t come out for the longest time. Eventually, she FINALLY came out, after tapping my fingers on the floor for God knows how long.”

katrina_1Today Katrina walks around the house like she owns it, running around all the time after treats and rolling over on her back when she wants you to pet her. There are still set backs – sometimes she nips a bit when being pet, she’s a bit skitterish and she hates being picked up – but she’s come a very long way.

“I’ve gotta say it was a challenge and at many times I thought of her as this troll in the bathroom,” said Carrie. “I would feed her and change the litter every day but not get to see or touch her. It’s such a relief now that she’s out and about, for my sanity and for hers! I hope she’ll find a really nice forever home where she can continue to thrive.”

Thank you Carrie for your patience and willingness to stick in there with Katrina! Thanks to you she’s now on the road finding her forever home where she’ll be safe, secure and loved. Although Katrina’s not quite ready for adoption yet, with Carrie’s continued care we anticipate she’ll be up on our website soon!

VORKA is always in need of fosters willing to work slowly with the scared cats in our care. Because we rescue so many kitties from the streets, we have many who need extra help and patience. So if you’re looking for a rewarding and satisfying way to give back, please consider fostering today. Learn more are www.vokra.ca/fostering.