Volunteer of the Month–February 2015

How can we say thank you to so many wonderful volunteers that help VOKRA? How do we celebrate people who rock?

By having a Volunteer of the Month!

This month we’d like to send out a big thank you to Karen and Al Ingram.

Since March of 2014 Karen and Al have been an amazing addition to our driving team – taking kitties to vet appointments and to foster homes all over the Lower Mainland.

They are always quick to respond to driving requests and ready to do whatever is needed, often doing multiple trips a day or giving up their weekends. A reliable pair that we appreciate so much!

Long time cat volunteers, they were no strangers to the needs VOKRA faces. As Karen told us,

I had heard of VOKRA and talked to Al about doing some volunteer work. We volunteered for 10 years with Meow-Aid and Mandy Butcher in the 1990’s so we had a good idea of what volunteering for a cat group was about. We didn’t want to do cat care again right away and we noticed that there was a constant need for drivers. We felt we could best help VOKRA by being available to shuttle kitties.

Karen & Al get ready for another volunteer shift

Karen & Al get ready for another volunteer shift

 

Driving involves more than pick ups and drop offs for Karen and Al.

 

We both really enjoy meeting all the different people including fosters, vets, trappers, fundraisers and the people volunteering at the Operations Centre doing cat care, reception and adoption interviews.We live very close to Ops and when we are booked to do a drive we look forward to visiting the kitties that are at Ops as well as having a chat with Shelley, Karen, Maria or Michele and anybody else who happens to be diligently caring for the kitties or attending to the everyday needs of Ops. We are proud to be a part of VOKRA and hope to continue for many years.

 

We’re proud to have you both on our team!

Thank you Karen and Al for all the hard work you put in helping VOKRA save the kitties!

 

Thank you, Karen & Al!

Thank you, Karen & Al!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please visit our website to find out more.

A Forever Home for a Forever Friend

Cats are smart. Often they know how to find just the right person when they need help. That’s what Rusti did; he found Annabelle.

Annabelle, in her mid-90s, lives in her own home with her grandson in the lower suite to help her out when she needs it. We don’t know Rusti’s story before he started coming around Annabelle’s house but he had been living on the streets for a while and needed a little help himself. Concerned about him, Annabelle started feeding Rusti and letting him come into her home for visits. Thus began a wonderful friendship and things went on this way for many months.

But one day when Rusti came for a visit, he appeared to have an injured leg so Annabelle’s grandson called VOKRA for help. We picked up Rusti and brought him to our Operations Centre where he was an immediate hit with everyone who met him. Affectionate and playful, loving and attention-seeking, our volunteers all fell in love with Rusti, just like Annabelle had.

Handsome Rusti

Rusti was assessed by our medical team and, thankfully, was not badly injured, but he was definitely showing signs of surviving on the streets alone for too long. An outdoor life is no life for a cat, even if you do have somewhere and someone wonderful to visit. VOKRA began the process of getting Rusti healthy and strong again and started looking for the best possible foster home for him. Rusti would have a happy ending, for sure…but not everyone was happy.

Concerned for her furry friend, Annabelle grew upset. She wanted to be sure he was well-taken care of and felt helpless without being able to check on him daily. Her grandson talked to us about it and we asked Annabelle to come down for a visit.

It turns out, Annabelle knows a little about what VOKRA does. Before retiring, she worked for many years as an adoptions social worker, placing kids from foster care with forever families. When Karen from VOKRA found this out, she and Annabelle talked about the parallels between her work and Annabelle’s. They talked about how Annabelle always worked to find the best match and to place the children in her care into loving homes where they would be safe forever. They talked about how VOKRA does the same thing with cats in our care. Karen promised Annabelle we would do that for Rusti.

Rusty loves Neck Rubs

Reluctantly, but knowing her friend was in the care of people she could trust, Annabelle generously made a donation to VOKRA and said good-bye to Rusti.

Annabelle & Rusti

Since then, true to Karen’s promise, Rusti was moved to a wonderful foster home with one of our experienced fosters, Viral DL. Viral DL dubbed him Rambunctious Rusti and enjoyed giving in to Rusti’s demands for affection and playtime. He got used to Rusti hanging out on his lap and his funny way of plopping down on Viral DL’s thigh and hugging him with all four of his legs! Rusti had made yet another friend.

Rusty Cozy in his Foster Home

But the job of the foster is to care for our cats until their forever homes are found. And Viral DL knew there was a loving person out there waiting for Rusti, someone would spend lots of time with this special guy and keep him safe forever. Viral DL wrote the following as part of Rusti’s adoption profile:

He is the most affectionate cat I have ever taken care of and he deserves a loving home. I am certain he will give more love to you than you could ever give to him.

One lucky couple is about to find out if Viral DL’s prediction was accurate–Rusti is heading to his forever home this weekend! His adopters are cat lovers who recently had to say good-bye to their feline friend of 19 years. We are all thrilled for Rusti that he too will have the chance to live a long and happy life with this family and get, and give, lots of love.

Thank you, Annabelle. You helped so many people build their families in your lifetime and now you’ve helped that happen once again. Congratulations, Rusti. We are all so glad you knew where to turn for help.

If you need help with a stray or injured cat in your neighbourhood, please contact us.

And please consider making a donation, like Annabelle did, to help us help more cats like Rusti.

Volunteer of the Month, January 2015

We’ve said it before, but we can’t say it too many times–our volunteers rock! VOKRA is 100% run by a fantastic team of dedicated volunteers. One way that we’d like to show our appreciation for this great bunch of caring people is by dedicating a monthly blog post to recognizing a volunteer of the month; someone who has really gone above and beyond (whether by fostering sick kitties, driving cats to vet appointments, taking on extra cat care shifts at our Operations Centre, helping with fundraising, or something else entirely) to help VOKRA save lives!

Our first Volunteer of the Month is…drumroll please…Wendy Rogers Kuramoto!

We love us some Wendy

Wendy has been a dedicated volunteer with VOKRA since she began fostering in June of 2011. Since that time she has fostered 125 cats and kittens. Wendy has volunteered with many aspects of the organization such as completing adoption paperwork, interviewing new fosters, supporting Richmond fosters, walking in the Pride Parade with the VOKRA float, helping with information tables, driving kitties, trapping cats, searching for lost cats, and helping with the annual VOKRA walk (just to name a few!).

Wendy has a heart of gold and is always willing to help a cat in need. She’s currently fostering Nala, a kitty who came to VOKRA neglected, starving, shy, and pregnant. After losing her premature kittens Nala was very sick, but she was nursed back to health under Wendy’s loving care and is now healthy, happy, and leaving for her forever home soon!

Nala

Since fostering her first mama cat Wendy has never looked back!

I started fostering with VOKRA in June of 2011 after my beloved Keiko kitty died unexpectedly. She was 16 and my house was completely empty without her. I got approved on a Wednesday and by Sunday we had our first pregnant foster. She was a lovely little cat who had been locked out when she came home pregnant. She stayed with us for 3 weeks and delivered six healthy babies. From then on I was hooked and we have had 15 pregnants, bottle feeding newborns, abandoned kittens and adults who needed temporary placements.

Wendy has a special fondness for mama cats and their babies.

My favorite things are when the Mama cats realize they are warm and safe and will never be hungry again and that their babies are safe. And kittens! I love having kittens romping all over my house!!

Kittens!

Kittens!

Another of Wendy’s favourite things about volunteering with VOKRA is the other volunteers.

I love the other volunteers too. They are amazingly dedicated, compassionate, loving, generous and fun people who work tirelessly to help the cats!!

At VOKRA, our volunteers become family.

I feel like VOKRA and the cats saved me. They bring me laughter and happiness and cuddles and a sense of purpose and I can NOT imagine not being a part of this wonderful organization!!Wendy is irresistible

THANK YOU WENDY

for all that you do to help VOKRA save kitties!

If you are interested in volunteering with us, please visit vokra.ca/volunteer to find out more

Dear Kiki, Love Santa

VOKRA works with all kinds of people throughout the year. We cooperate with other rescue organizations, with our volunteers, with community members and business owners. But this year, we worked with somebody really special; the big guy himself. That’s right, we know Santa.

An awesome little girl named Kiki had a very special request for Santa this year. While other kids asked for Frozen dolls and Minecraft games, Kiki had something different she wanted.

Kiki Letter

Pretty great, right? Yup, pretty great. But it gets better. You see, when Santa received her letter, he knew exactly what to do. It just so happens that Santa understands how many cats need loving homes and the importance of “adopt don’t shop”. He wanted to find just the right buddy for Kiki. So he got in touch with us. Come Christmas morning, lucky little Kiki found a very special letter waiting for her.

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I mean, we knew Santa was cool but he knocked it out of the park with this one, didn’t he?

So, Kiki and her family went to Talia’s foster home on Christmas Day where there was yet another surprise: Talia had a brother, George, who would be joining Kiki’s family too! Talia and George said goodbye to their VOKRA foster, who had taken excellent care of them while they were waiting for their forever family, and headed off to their new home. Merry Christmas indeed!

We are so happy that we could help Santa make this Kiki’s Christmas wish come true and that he helped us find such a wonderful home for George and Talia. We hear George is making friends with the family dog, Pepper, (you make friends by swatting someone on the nose, right?) and that, despite being nervous for a few days, Talia is now happy to be home. According to Kiki’s dad, Talia and George “are both part of the family now”.

George & Talia are Home for the Holidays

George & Talia – Home for the Holidays

We know Kiki will take good care of her new furry friends because, as already established, she’s an awesome kid. And Santa, well, he proved, once again, that there is magic at Christmas. But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention how great Kiki’s dad, Jeff, is too. After all, he drove the car to pick up the new kitties and bring them home.

Welcome home, George and Talia. What a wonderful family you’ve joined.

We wish you all health and happiness for many, many years to come.

Orange is the New Black

Oh my goodness. Just look at these adorable little fuzzybutts! Two healthy, playful little orange siblings, one boy and one girl. Can you even handle the cuteness?

 

But a week ago, these kittens didn’t look like that. They’d just been rescued by VOKRA, they were so flea-ridden they were anemic, and they were so thin you could see every rib and vertebrae in their tiny bodies. There had been three kittens. One of them died. These little babies were at risk of suffering the same fate.

We de-flead them.

In you go, little buddy!

In you go, little buddy!

During bathing, fleas make a run for it to escape the water, often heading for the eyes

During bathing, fleas make a run for it to escape the water, often heading for the eyes

Poor skinny baby

Poor skinny baby

We started to treat them medically as well as work on beefing up their immune systems.

You have betrayed me, cruel human. You put the medicine in my eyes.

You have betrayed me, cruel human. You put the medicine in my eyes.

Orange 13

And then they looked much better.

All clean!

All clean!

Much fluffier after a good bath

Much fluffier after a good bath

They are now being fostered with their mama, a shy, scared Tortoise Shell who is making wonderful progress too. She hasn’t had a lot of love in her life before but is soaking it up now and will even roll over and let her foster family rub her belly!

Cozy and safe with mama

Cozy and safe with mama

We rescued two more cats from this site and suspect there may be more. There certainly would have been a lot more if we hadn’t got these five as the adults weren’t spayed or neutered. They are now.

Beautiful Kat Blanchett has been adopted into a wonderful home

Beautiful Kat Blanchett has been adopted into a wonderful home

Stan is a gentle giant who loves to snuggle with everyone he meets

Stan is a gentle giant who loves to snuggle with everyone he meets

Between the fixes, medication, vaccines, food and litter costs and more, these cats and kittens have cost us hundreds of dollars. Last year we took in over 1800 cats and kittens. You do the math.

We need your help to rescue and care for kitties like these and the thousands more we will take in over the coming months.

Will you make a donation today to help us do that?

There are lots of donation options available: monthly giving (just $10 a month adds up to a great donation), corporate matching gifts (is your company on the list of those who will double your donation?), or one-time donations ($20 will pay for 4 bags of litter). Visit our donations page and our online store for all the details and help us save more lives today.

Donate for me?

Donate for me?

What’s that? Okay, sure, watch the video one more time before you do. We understand.

Behind the Scenes at a Spay Day

This month, we teamed up with Paws for Hope and Scottsdale Veterinary Hospital in Surrey to provide a day of free health checkups and spay/neuter services for 30 cats from low-income families in that area. With the formation of the new Surrey Community Cat Coalition and the great outreach work that group is doing, word is starting to get out about the cat overpopulation crisis in Surrey. Initiatives like this “Spay Day” are important steps towards solving that crisis.

Our low-income support services are somewhat small due to our limited resources but we recognize this as a key area to focus on to help end the suffering of cats in our communities. And let’s not forget the humans! We know how much positivity cats provide their owners with. They are a source of love, acceptance and companionship, things that everyone deserves to have, no matter their economic situation. We at VOKRA are all about responsible pet ownership but we also understand that finances can sometimes challenge even the most responsible pet lover. We would love to be able to support more events like this, helping address cat overpopulation at its root and curbing it where it starts.

On September 28th, VOKRA volunteers gathered up our carriers, picked up the 30 eligible cats and took them to Scottsdale for their vaccinations. On November 2nd, we picked up the cats again and took them in for their spay/neuter surgeries before returning them that same day to their grateful owners. Great effort, team! A special word of thanks is due to our amazing volunteer Laura who continually goes above and beyond to support low income pet owners and their feline friends. Thank you, Laura! We are so lucky to have you.

Take a look at some of the beautiful cats, the hardworking veterinary staff who donated their time and services, and our amazing team of volunteers in action!

 

Mittens gets an exam before her surgery

Mittens gets an exam before her surgery

Whiskers is a formerly feral kitten. His owner used food to socialize and tame him.  Whiskers was a sweetheart and even gave our volunteers kisses!

Whiskers is a formerly feral kitten. His owner used food to socialize and tame him. Whiskers was a sweetheart and even gave our volunteers kisses!

 

Dr. Shawn Llewellyn of Paws for Hope gets ready for a busy day along with five other veterinarians, technicians and our VOKRA volunteers.

Dr. Shawn Llewellyn of Paws for Hope gets ready for a busy day along with five other veterinarians, technicians and our VOKRA volunteers.

Tigger is here for his vaccination booster.

Tigger is here for his vaccination booster.

Tigger is too young for surgery but we'll bring him back when he's five months old to be neutered.

Tigger is too young for surgery but we’ll bring him back when he’s five months old to be neutered.

Dr. Irene O'Brian getting kitties ready for their surgery.

Dr. Irene O’Brian getting kitties ready for their surgery.

Dr. Chris Armstrong begins an ovariohysterectomy/spay on one of the female cats.

Dr. Chris Armstrong begins an ovariohysterectomy/spay on one of the female cats.

Getting inked! The final step before the recovery room is an identifying tattoo in the ear for each cat.

Getting inked! The final step before the recovery room is an identifying tattoo in the ear for each cat.

Kathy Powelson, Executive Director of Paws for Hope, is interviewed by Global TV news along with Alannah Hall, Chair of  VOKRA's Board of Directors.

Kathy Powelson, Executive Director of Paws for Hope, is interviewed by Global TV news along with Alannah Hall, Chair of VOKRA’s Board of Directors.

Check out the interview here!

http://globalnews.ca/video/1649919/stray-cats-in-surrey/

Thanks to Paws for Hope, Scottsdale Veterinary Hospital, and VOKRA, 30 cats are now fixed and won’t be contributing to the overpopulation problem. Speaking of contributing, you can help us provide more services like this and improve the lives of Lower Mainland cats and their owners by making a donation to VOKRA.

With your help we can end the suffering of cats and kittens due to overpopulation in Surrey.

Please click here to visit our website and donate today!

 

Meet the Calendar Girls and Boys of VOKRA!

Hey everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts as of late. It was a crazy kitten season and the days just got away from me. I’m guessing your life is busy too and you might know how that feels. If you do, maybe you need something to keep better track of your days? I don’t know, something where the days were laid out in an organized manner, perhaps with photos of beautiful cats and kittens to enjoy while you’re trying to remember when your mother-in-law’s birthday is again? Boy, do we have something that will help you out!

It’s the ever-popular VOKRA Calendar

and the 2015 edition is ready for presale right now!

Our dedicated Dania, volunteer and foster extraordinaire, has worked her tail off once again to put together a beautiful fundraising calendar for VOKRA. Thank you, Dania!

VOKRA 2015 Calendar Cover Boy Sadler

Photo by Just Cats Photography

This year’s cover boy is Sadler. He is a tame cat who was either lost or abandoned but managed to survive on the streets for months with his gentle nature intact. A nice woman fed him for a while but called VOKRA when it seemed obvious no one else was caring for this handsome guy. We took him in, got him the vet care he needed, connected him with an awesome foster, and fattened him up a little with healthy eating and lots of love. Here he is on the cover, all cleaned up and ready for adoption. But there’s even better news–Sadler HAS been adopted! Since the calendar was printed, this adorable guy has found a loving home with a couple who absolutely adore him. He loves to nap on laps and play the sneak attack from behind the couch game. Who doesn’t love that game? We are so happy for our wonderful supermodel Sadler!

VOKRA 2015 Calendar_June only_Page_1

Photo by Martin Godwyn

Also featured in this year’s calendar is Lua. You may already follow this special girl on her Facebook page. Lua suffered a crush injury to her lower spine when she was very young. Acupuncture, laser treatments, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy helped restore a large part of the nerve network, so she has significant movement, although she cannot walk. Being able to go outdoors (in a safe, cat-fenced area, of course) is really important to her and she is famous for hunting dragons in her yard. At least she swears that’s what she’s doing, brave girl! Lua brings great joy to all who know her and she’ll certainly bring you joy in the month of June.

VOKRA 2015 Calendar_March only_Page_1

Photo by Roham Sheikholeslami

Dino’s mom, Fuzzy, was a feral cat living on private land. People in that community cooperated with VOKRA to have her and her kittens humanely trapped. Fuzzy was spayed and then returned to her home territory, but Dino and his three siblings adapted to life with humans and now live in their forever homes. Some of VOKRA’s foster parents are very skilled at gently “taming” feral and semi-feral kittens. It’s a unique talent. VOKRA is grateful for the people who lend us their talent and I think it’s safe to say, so is Dino! I’m already looking forward to seeing that cute face every day in March, aren’t you?

These stories and photos are just a taste of what this year’s calendar holds. It makes a great holiday present, stocking stuffer, hostess gift, or one of those presents you have wrapped up and tucked away for when people drop by and you don’t have a gift for them. I’ve always thought that was a good idea but never done it. Perhaps this is the year. VOKRA calendars for everyone!

Calendars will be shipped in early November so get your order in today by visiting VOKRA’s online store. You’ll be getting a great calendar but you’ll also be supporting the work VOKRA does to rescue cats and kittens like Sadler, Lua, Dino, and many, many more.

Order today!