Volunteer of the Month – March 2017

We’ve zipped through the first two months of 2017 with great success in saving kitties, and we only plan to rescue more this month, but not without first thanking our Volunteer of the Month, Nina Maravic!

Nina began her role at VOKRA nearly two years ago, shortly after she adopted her two cats. In her first year, she took on the role of a volunteer recruitment coordinator. She wanted to become even more involved with the organization and so began her transition into planning events.

As an event planner at VOKRA, Nina works hard to make sure the events we participate in run smoothly. The first event Nina planned was the online Christmas Craft Fair in 2015 and included items from creative volunteers and local shops. Nina also organizes information booths at pet food stores, community events and pet conventions. Some large-scale events include the Pride Festival and Canada Day, which are great opportunities to raise awareness for VOKRA and kitties in need. In addition, Nina manages school visits where kittens are brought into classrooms and students learn about cat welfare and VOKRA.

“My favourite part of volunteering is planning outreach events that positively impact the community,” said Nina. “I recently worked with SFU on their first Kitten Therapy initiative (ours as well!), which got a lot of media attention and positive feedback from the students. I also love the teamwork that goes into all aspects of volunteering with VOKRA, whether it be the planning, trapping, fostering or any other job. It’s amazing that such a large group of individuals can come together for a common goal.”

We really appreciate Nina’s hard work and dedication to VOKRA

“Nina is an exceptionally hard worker and very curious about all the different volunteer areas within VOKRA,” says fellow volunteer Valerie. “She stepped in and did a wonderful job with the recruitment team before she moved onto the volunteer committee and off to join the fundraising committee. Her skills in setting up events, including all the preparation and organization required, is exceptional. She has introduced a team to handle school presentations which is very popular and a wonderful tool to educate younger people. She’s a very busy volunteer with fresh and new ideas and is a great asset to the VOKRA team!”

Once again, Nina plays such an important role within our organization and we wouldn’t know what to do without her. Thank you, Nina!

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.

Volunteer of the Month – February 2017

peggy-sullivanIt’s the month of love and we have all the love to give for our volunteers. This February, we’re giving our biggest thanks to Volunteer of the Month Peggy Sullivan!

Peggy joined the VOKRA team seven years ago when her friend invited her to volunteer. As a busy individual, she always told herself she would work with animals in some way when she found time. As the adoptions team lead, Peggy’s in charge of training adoption counsellors and ensuring VOKRA’s kitties are going to the best forever homes available. She oversees the processes of matching kitties to applicants and making sure the adoptions team works together to make both the kitty and the adopter happy.

“I work with amazing people at the VOKRA family and have never worked with such a dedicated, unselfish group of people before,” says Peggy. “I have a team of ten members who I’m so proud of. They work tirelessly, they are excellent team players and they’re incredibly dedicated to the cause. We adopted out about 1,400 cats and kittens last year and we’re working harder to beat that number this year.”

The best part of being the adoptions team lead for Peggy is to see how each and every adopter is so committed to the kitties and that the team gets to find furever homes for the kitties that come into VOKRA’s care.

We truly appreciate all the work Peggy puts into this organization because, without her dedication and hard work, the process of adoptions wouldn’t run like clockwork! We thank you Peggy for all the time and effort you put in to make the lives of VOKRA kitties better, one at a time. You’re 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.

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.

Volunteer of the Month – November 2016

lizAfter a terribly rainy October, it’s finally a new month which means it’s also time to congratulate a new Volunteer of the Month – Liz Menning!

Liz first heard about VOKRA through the West Vancouver SPCA, then applied to be a foster in 2012. The current count for cared kitties in Liz’s home is 57! As much as Liz and her family enjoy fostering, it’s no longer feasible with four cats in their household – three of which are foster fails! Liz’s three kids are happily a part of VOKRA and even set up lemonade stands to raise hundreds of dollars to save the kitties. In the four years Liz has been volunteering with VOKRA, she’s taken on many tasks, including caring for kittens, creating the online foster handbook, helping out at adoption events and much more. Liz’s goal is to make sure all the kitties out there are brought in, cared for and, ultimately, loved.

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The three former fosters Liz adopted.

“My first official rescue was in April 2013,” says Liz. “There was a small tortie, Emma, in Horseshoe Bay living in the shed behind a fish and chips place. She was extremely thin when we brought her in, still wearing a ratty flea-collar and missing most of the fur on her lower half. She spent seven months in a foster home where she learned to be pampered; her coat grew in long and thick, so much so that she needed to be brushed daily. Emma was adopted in October 2013 into her forever home.”

As a volunteer, Liz has found a rewarding hobby in trapping and bringing in kitties to VOKRA. It doesn’t matter how feral or how busy the Ops Centre is, because VOKRA treats every incoming kitty with love and kindness. Liz calls it a “Kitty’s Lucky Day” to come to VOKRA. Some of Liz’s most memorable events with VOKRA include her first mass intake of 23 most sick kittens from Abbotsford and Walk for the Kitties.

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Liz busily helping to get out Operations Centre up and running.

She’s deeply inspired by Karen and Maria at VOKRA and their commitment to kitties – each and every one of them. Liz loves working alongside phenomenal volunteers and felt extremely proud seeing the large number of people who attended the VOKRA Volunteer BBQ this past summer.

We here at VOKRA feel the same way about Liz. She’s an extraordinary volunteer and has gone through great lengths to provide the best care possible for all the rescued kitties. Thank you Liz! We appreciate all your hard work and effort to help our organization be successful and, most importantly, to improve the lives of all kitties. Stay awesome!

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.

Poppy & Hazelnut’s Happy Tail Ending

dsc_0650Four years ago I was contacted by a woman named Laura who wanted to meet two semi-feral kittens I was fostering.  They were initially shy but had become playful and vocal companions to my cat and me.  (Soon enough mischievous Hazelnut would do things like pulling bottles out of the kitchen cupboard at 1 a.m.!)

dsc_0655When she came to meet them, Laura and I spent two extended sessions sitting in my bathroom as she tried to imagine if a bond would develop if she adopted the kittens.  After much thought Laura decided to adopt the two sisters and her faith was rewarded since Poppy and Hazelnut have become, in her words, “happy campers, goofy and more confident, extremely communicative with me, giving me lots of love and positive attention and are fun every day.”

When she decided to adopt the two sisters Laura wrote, “So, I’m going to do it!  I feel happy and excited and honoured to adopt these two beautiful little felines! “.

After their adoption Poppy showed an interest in children and Hazelnut began to focus on doing surveillance of the perimeter of her new home through the windows and busily trotted back and forth between them, keeping on top of things.  Poppy and Hazelnut’s new beginning with Laura has meant more love for all three of them,  not to mention a fantastic cat tree for sunny naps.

Post written by Katherine Drabek

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Volunteer of the Month – October 2016

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Laura’s take on the classic Ops Centre selfie.

‘Tis the season of rain and falling colourful leaves which means it’s also time to introduce you to our Volunteer of the Month  for October – Laura Deck! She’s been a tremendous help at VOKRA and we couldn’t be more thankful.

Laura was first introduced to VOKRA at the ‘Spay-ghetti No Balls Dinner’ fundraiser back in 2012. Just one week later she trapped her first feral cat, Mocha, who she’d been feeding for a while. After that she fell in love with helping kitties in every way – socializing, rescuing and general cat care. Helping all the sick, injured and feral kitties warmed Laura’s heart and all she wanted to do was continue her work at VOKRA. She helped out at the Operations Centre when it first opened and learned numerous volunteer jobs along the way.

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Mocha

“Mocha made it clear he was a vicious cat and wanted nothing more than food from me,” said Laura about the feral boy who started her work at VOKRA.  “After trapping and neutering, he still came by every day to eat, but ran off right after finishing his meal. Eventually he started to understand I meant him no harm, which prompted him to stay and eat in front of me. After almost three years, he finally started to calm down and then it happened… one day he rubbed up against my leg and I couldn’t believe it!”

“I knew he was still scared,” continues Laura, “but after hours of patience and plenty of cat treats he finally started to let me pet him. Mocha then let me brush him and became bolder, sneaking into the house when doors were open. My three female cats eventually accepted Mocha – not best buddies, but they get along. Now, Mocha makes his way onto my lap every night and falls asleep after I scratch his neck and pet him. I am still amazed when he comes to me every day and I’m grateful for the help I had from Mona and VOKRA for helping with him. I never expected to ever be able to touch him or receive his love.”

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Laura’s first rescue = four feral kittens

A few months after consistently volunteering, Laura realized how big the problem of unfixed free roaming cats having kittens outdoors was, which prompted her to start a free spay/neuter program for low income cat owners in Surrey. She was the contact between lower income pet owners and the SPCA Animal Hospital’s Outreach Program, which offers free spays, neuters and tattoos. To extend this program further, Laura organized a free spay/neuter clinic in November 2014 with the help of VOKRA, her friends at Paws for Hope and vets from Scottsdale Animal Hospital. Together, they were able to help spay, neuter and tattoo 30 cats and also vaccinate them. It was huge success and only inspired Laura further.

Laura’s dream is to win the lottery so she can help more cats in her community that need food and medical treatment, as well as hire a vet to work at the VOKRA Operations Centre. Until then, she’s 100% devoted to giving all the help she can to the kitties.

Laura tells us what being a VOKRA volunteer means to her:

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Laura, along with fellow volunteers, after they bathed a group of feral kittens covered in fleas.

“Being part of the VOKRA team means I can help more cats and kittens than I ever could on my own, say Laura. “I have four cats of my own at home and hundreds more I have loved through VOKRA. I’ve made so many wonderful friends volunteering and I love my VOKRA family. I can’t tell you how much I admire Karen, Maria, Shelley and Andrea for all their hard work and long hours at the Operations Centre, as well as all the other volunteers. It’s an honour to work with this amazing group of animal lovers.”

Laura continues, “I would encourage anyone who loves animals to contact their local rescue group and become involved in any way they can. Working with animals is very rewarding and will brighten your day. It makes you feel great when you know you’re making a different in an animal’s life, plus you’ll meet so many wonderful people. Volunteering isn’t always an option for everyone, but VOKRA appreciates help in the form of a donation of any size that will help pay for food and medical costs for the kitties.”

All we can say is Laura has been an extraordinary volunteer since 2012 and we give all our thanks to her. She has the biggest, warmest heart and only wants the best for all the VOKRA volunteers and kitties. Laura, you truly deserve to be Volunteer of the Month with all your hard work – we, as well as all the kitties you’ve helped, give you the biggest hug and thank you!

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: Reception Team Members

IMG_5924Our reception team works at our Operations Centre in East Vancouver and is the first point of contact for all our visitors and guests.

In addition to greeting visitors and acting as the face of VOKRA, the reception team also helps with data entry, filing, ensuring volunteers sign-in for their shifts, managing food/litter inventory, selling VOKRA merchandise and, most importantly, cuddling with our beautiful kitties!

The reception team makes sure our Operations Centre runs smoothly which is critical. The Centre is our home base and is the place where kitties first enter our system and it’s also the hub for our foster program.

Reception team volunteers must commit to a minimum of one 2 hour shift per week for at least six months.

To apply to join our reception team click here.