Volunteer of the Month, May 2015!

It is the beginning of May, flowers are blooming and sunny, happy days are slowly outnumbering the gloomy, rainy days. And as it is a new month, we would like to give our thanks to our radiant volunteer of the month – Marion Sampson!

Marion 1

Marion is a key player with our Surrey team and part of the backbone of VOKRA. She first expressed her love for animals and her helping nature by volunteering with the SPCA in Surrey, until it closed in 2005. She has since then picked up as a volunteer with VOKRA for three years and counting, beginning in 2012. When VOKRA Surrey lost its TNR Centre (Trap-Neuter-Return program centre) in 2013 – but was then later offered a building – Marion, at her cost, put the building on her property. It was fixed, re-floored, and newly painted. The renovated space was reborn as The Cottage.

Like a smaller version of VOKRA’s Vancouver Operations Centre, cats that are trapped by Mona, Marlene, Anne, or Marion, are provided a cage in The Cottage with the necessities – food, water, flea treatment, de-worming, vaccinations, trips to the vet for neutering or spaying, attention, assessments on their adoptability and lots of volunteer love before they go to foster. The Cottage has grown immensely within the past year. VOKRA Surrey, prior to the establishment of The Cottage, fostered 75 kitties in 2013, but with the introduction of The Cottage, that number grew to a total of 240 cats in 2014 and an additional 105 cats from the beginning of this year until now. 

The Cottage – comfortably fits up to eight cages.

The Cottage – comfortably fits up to eight cages.

 

Cottage 1

Lucky foster kitty Maybeline gets an accommodation that includes the beautiful view of sunny days through the door.

Of course, the success of The Cottage is not only possible by the effort of one, but of a family. Paul, Marion’s partner, helps with cat care – washing, sanitizing, cat socialization, and assessments – and Marc, Paul’s friend, aids in driving to and from the vet. Go team!

Marion & Paul

Speaking of team, there is no shortage of people willing to sing the praises of Marion. VOKRA Board member and key Surrey team member, Mona, tells us:

Marion fearlessly handles flying ferals and fragile newborn kittens. In her spare time she also picks up, hauls, handles and arranges the sale of donated dog food and cat litter with proceeds going directly to VOKRA. Being on the front line of rescue is not easy and can sometimes be heartbreaking, but Marion never gives in or gives up. Late at night, when I trap a kitty, it is not uncommon for Marion to meet me halfway to pickup the cat wearing only a robe (which really should have a superhero emblem on the back).

Marion in her superhero robe

Marion in her superhero robe

VOKRA Surrey Foster Coordinator, Christine also gushes about Marion:

Marion helps out in every area and, thanks to her, so many cats and kittens have found a new life and a new home. She can always be relied upon to assist with feral cats and kittens and will travel to the hinterlands of the Fraser Valley to save a cat or kitten from its current not-good life to make sure that better will be had at the Cottage. No space left at the Cottage? Marion’s house is open to the most feral of kittens and the workshops which she has given are a testament to how much she cares about the cats and kittens in her care. Seeing her give a bath to a little kitten and the look on his/ her face which says, “What just happened?” is priceless, just like Marion herself.

As with any other cat lover, Marion struggles to pick a favourite kitty as each is enjoyable in different and unique ways. It is no doubt that upholding The Cottage is hard work; Marion is often overwhelmed and stressed due to the number of kitties that need help, but she reminds herself of the difference to the kitties’ lives she has the power to make, with the poem below.

Starfish Story

Marion demonstrates a fierce and admirable will to better cats’ lives, and inspires all of us to continue what we do best at VOKRA. Thank you, Marion, for all that you contribute to this organization. Not one ounce of your effort goes unnoticed. Stay awesome! Kitties, VOKRA, and starfish alike, all say thank you for their bettered lives.

If you would like to get involved with our wonderful VOKRA team, please visit our website for more information, and apply to volunteer today!

Let’s Hear it for These Moms!

It was one year ago, Mother’s Day to be precise, that we started this blog with an ode to our mama cats. Since then we have shared rescue stories, introduced you to some Compassionate Kids, told you how much our volunteers rock, and more. Thank you for following along on VOKRA’s journey to rescue, heal and home cats in need and for your continued support!

So, here we are, back to where it all began, at Mother’s Day.

Being a mama is hard work! Today VOKRA would like to recognize the hard work of mothers of all kinds, four legged and otherwise. Happy Mother’s day to all of you amazing mothers! Because we have so many amazing mama kitties, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our favourite little families with you.

Cue the slideshow!

 

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As we’re sure your Mom has let you know on more than one occasion, raising kids is expensive, and raising kittens is no exception. Our kitties live in volunteer foster homes and VOKRA provides all the supplies. Quality cat food, litter, and expenses amount to approximately $50 a month. When you donate to VOKRA, you help fund an 100% volunteer run, no-kill shelter dedicated to the rescue of cats like the mamas pictured, their kittens and so many other cats in need.

In honour of Mother’s Day, please visit our website  to make a donation. Then go call your mom!

Donate Button

Volunteer of the Month, April 2015!

It is that time again, when VOKRA would like to thank a special and hardworking individual in our joyous and wonderful group of volunteers. For this month, we would like to announce that the volunteer of the month is… Lucy Hough!

Lucy

Lucy has been with us for nearly three years now, her first interaction with us being our Walk for the Kitties event back in September 2012. She got in contact with us and started her volunteer placement by being a driver, which included driving kitties to vet appointments, to foster homes, etc. She was also superbly awesome for stepping in to care for kitties in foster homes when fosters were away for a period of time. Seemingly, Lucy has volunteered for VOKRA in every way, including helping with fundraising. She joined our Adoptions Team back in December 2012, and has since then only fallen more in love with kitties and VOKRA. Helping rescue, heal, and shelter 1,800+ kitties a year is truly inspirational for Lucy, and the commitment of all of VOKRA’s volunteers is another reason why she loves volunteering with us.

What Lucy loves about being a part of the Adoptions Team is that the role’s duties are so complex, yet so satisfying. Every adoption application has its own unique chapter, and all applications are bound together to create a meaningful novel filled with miraculous and heart-warming stories. She loves being a part of a kitty’s journey to living a vivacious and fulfilling life. Lucy also loves working alongside the rest of the team, developing a good process and always stepping up the game to make everything work better.

The Adoptions Team also adores Lucy. Our Adoptions Team Lead, Peggy, tells us:

She is nonstop about picking up applications; she manages the kitty waitlist like I have never seen. She cares about the kitties, as well as the people she works with. She is a super team player, organized, and always on the ball.

Fellow Adoptions Team member Jen says:

Lucy is an amazing volunteer and we are so lucky to have her as part of our rockin’ Apps Team! She is always willing to lend a hand to new team members learning the ropes, and she works incredibly hard to make sure that all of our adopters are contacted in a timely manner. There was one week earlier this year, when we had an unexpected flood of applications and I think Lucy picked up 14 in one day! During each phone interview, Lucy is passionate about making sure that adopters are educated with the latest information on cat behaviour and health. 

Not only does Lucy volunteer with VOKRA, she has also adopted two VOKRA cats herself: a kitty named Panther first, then a buddy for him named Yoda Bear. Yoda Bear, previously Motza,  was a VOKRA feature story a couple of years ago. The only surviving kitten of his litter, he faced many health issues and no one thought he’d live. Boy, did he prove everyone wrong!

Lucy says Yoda Bear, now almost three years old, is the best kitty in the world. He has liver disease and dwarfism, but neither of those stops him from being playful, inquisitive, and talkative. Yoda has tons of character and is so much fun. He’s what Lucy describes as the perfect example of why VOKRA is awesome – “a no-kill organization that gives kitties a chance when there is every reason to think that they will not survive.”

Yoda Bear being big spoon, and Panther being little spoon. #CuddlesTime!

Yoda Bear being big spoon, and Panther being little spoon. #CuddlesTime!

While VOKRA inspires Lucy, she truly inspires each and every one of us with VOKRA to keep up all the good and hard work. Thank you Lucy for being part of our Adoptions Team, for being committed to making it possible for kitties to find happiness through tough times. You being here at VOKRA makes us 100% more awesome!

Meow!

Meow!

If you would like to get involved with our wonderful VOKRA team, please visit our website for more information, and apply to volunteer today!

Ask Dr. Waffles

DrWaffles

Dr. Waffles (pictured) is VOKRA’s senior feline health advice columnist. He has had over four years of experience as a cat with health, and is thus fully qualified to advise other cats in their health.

Dear Dr. Waffles,

My tall roommates only change my litter once in a blue moon. Although I do loudly announce each time my business is complete so they can clean it right away, they haven’t quite figured it out yet. It has gotten to the point where it is obscene; I have actually had to tread on my own urine once or twice. This simply will not do. I have tried time and time again with strong telepathy, staring directly into their eyes, to tell them that it is disgusting in there, but they just respond by petting my head or making whiny sounds at me. You’d think this might mean that they understand, but I assure you, it does not.

What is a kitty to do?

Smokey

 

Dear Smokey,

Your roommates have given you no choice. You must do your business elsewhere. I realize this is not ideal, but you must find somewhere that suits you in the meantime. If you would like to make a point, try right beside the box. Personally, I prefer to find another secluded spot, like a crumpled blanket in the corner, or where all the pillows gather on the couch. This way it gets lost in the pillows, like it was never there at all! Truly amazing; it is as if piles of pillows and other mountains of fabric (laundry, for example) were made explicitly for our purposes. You can keep going there with ease until the litter pan is clean once again.

Dr. Waffles

Dr. Waffle’s apparel provided by Business Catual

Meet Judd

Judd was living out on the streets but when he came into contact with VOKRA volunteers he seemed destined for an indoor life in a loving home. When first approached he didn’t growl or hiss and quickly took to having his ears rubbed. Judd is now enjoying living in his foster home with regular meals and lots of attention in a quiet environment which isn’t so big that he loses track of where his two humans are. Judd-wide Above all, Judd wants to keep connected with you, whether you’re watching tv or brushing your teeth. He is very popular with his current and previous fosters for his sweet, gentle nature. Once he knows you, he will want to sit next to you and in the morning he likes to “spoon”. You maJudd-tally notice Judd’s green eyes watching you as he rests his head with his beautiful pink nose on the edge of his basket. He is a curious cat and seems to be analyzing what he sees. He loves being combed and has fun playing with his rainbow string. His ideal day would be spent with you, so someone who is often at home would be perfect for him. Children and their unexpected movements scare him, as do other pets. He would prefer not to share you. Judd had a previous injury which healed but left him unable to jump much, but climbing the staircase on his cuddly paws isn’t a problem so he has a small set of steps so he can get up onto the bed. He’s also waiting to climb into someone’s heart and at last find a permanent home. You can learn more about Judd and how to adopt him here. Post written by Katherine Drabek

Phoebe’s Happy Tail Ending

Amy always knew she wanted to adopt a cat but needed to wait until the time in her life was right. After buying a condo in a pet-friendly building, she came to VOKRA looking for a companion and knew she had found her match with Phoebe.

“I’ve lived with other people’s cats but never had my own,” said Amy, “I wanted the company and I’ve always wanted my own cat.” With Phoebe’s shiny black coat and cute white paws, it was love at first sight. Amy knew that, “Phoebe was just puuuuuuuurrfect for me…She has proven to be just what I needed.”

Phoebe was quick to adapt to her new surroundings, exploring her territory in Amy’s condo and following Amy around to investigate every nook and cranny. Amy finds herself spending a little more time at home now since Phoebe’s such great company! Phoebe loves heights and has a favourite spot on top of the cupboards in Amy’s kitchen where she likes to keep watch. Phoebe stays mesmerized by the bathroom sink faucet, and when Amy turns it a little for her she loves to catch the water with her paw.

Phoebe

Phoebe playing her favourite game.

Phoebe is a true girly girl in that she often hangs out in Amy’s purses and shoes, but her favourite game comes when Amy unloads her groceries and she jumps in the cloth bags. Amy has many cute stories of her BFF (best feline friend), “there are SO many other cute things I could mention, but those are some of the regular ones.”

Overall, Phoebe has added a lot of love in Amy’s life. Amy says it best: “She has me smitten!”

Would you like your VOKRA adoption story featured in our next issue? Email us with the subject “Adoption Story” at info@vokra.ca for more information.

Post written by Kim C.

Meet Two of Our Unsung Heroes

VOKRA is an organization solely run by volunteers and without their endless hard work and dedication we would not be able to help the more than 1800 cats and kittens we do each year.

We’d like to introduce you to two volunteers who others at VOKRA have described as “unsung heroes”. Both Margaret and Tasha volunteer in our Operations Centre and here’s a quick Q & A so you can get to know more about them and what they do.

Margaret

Q. How did you get involved with VOKRA?

A. I had heard about VOKRA several years ago, having met people who were VOKRA volunteers. When I retired in 2013 I finally had time to volunteer myself.

Q. How long have you been volunteering with VOKRA?

A. I started as a driver in the Fall of 2013 and then, in March 2014, I signed on to do two cat care shifts each week when the new Operations Centre opened. Most recently, in December 2014, cat care was looking for someone to take on training new volunteers and I was very happy to be accepted for this role. So now, I do one cat care shift each week and train all the new care volunteers.

Q. What is your favourite thing about volunteering for VOKRA?

A. I really enjoy helping to care for the cats while they are at the Operations Centre and getting to know all the great people who work there. And I get a great deal of personal satisfaction knowing that I’m contributing to these animals being safe and on the way to a loving home.

Q. In your spare time what do you do to unwind?

A. As for me, retirement finds me with time to spend on several activities. I go to fitness classes, play golf (but not very well), take lessons in Scottish country dancing and read as much as I want to.

Tasha

Q. How did you get involved with VOKRA?

A. I saw an interview on TV with VOKRA co-founder Karen and was immediately impressed with VOKRA and the idea of Trap-Neuter/Spay-Release (TNR). Just over a year ago I was ready to adopt a cat and brought home the most wonderful cat, Leroy (formerly named Tattoo) who was trapped as a kitten and had been in the Southlands barn for years and then fostered for a while before coming to me.

Last summer I put in an application to volunteer. I live in Richmond (but work downtown) so I thought the Operations Centre might be too far for a regular commitment so I was waiting for the right position to open up. Well, in September I saw a desperate plea for people to help bottle feed young kittens so I came in three days in a row to help. I was hooked. I signed up for a regular shift at reception the next week!

Q. Describe your volunteer role with VOKRA?

A. I started with one reception shift which grew to two very quickly. After attending a couple meetings and I was asked if I would like to take on scheduling for the cat care team and be a partner to Margaret as Cat Care Team Leads. Of course I said yes! Around that same time I was also asked to manage the ads that go up on the PetFinder website so I now do all these things. Although I’ve had to put in my notice for the second reception shift as I work full-time so I have to find some balance!

Q. What is your favourite thing about volunteering for VOKRA?

A. My absolute favourite thing is the happy endings. I love hearing about a trapped cat whose owner was desperately searching for it, or how a kitten like Pixie, who had a rectal prolapse and endured months of treatment while still remaining basically the sweetest and most gentle kitty, eventually found a happy home with her kitty bud. The stories never get old and I’m such a cry baby about it all. I really should carry Kleenex with me! I recently saw an updated picture of the kitten that I bottle fed on my first visit to the Operations Centre and my heart just melted into a pile of goo.

Q. In your spare time what do you do to unwind?

A. I love to read, try out new vegetarian recipes, walk the seawall which is right by my office, go to the movies and snuggle with my boy Leroy.

Thank you to Margaret and Tasha for all your hard work and dedication! And thank you to the hundreds of other volunteers who give their time to VOKRA each year. If you’re interested in volunteering please visit our website at orphankittenrescue.com/volunteer.

Post written by Phoenix L.