By Carolyn McCurdy, FOTAS Volunteer
I was feeling a little indulgent, a little selfish, but there I was driving to the shelter to volunteer, aka to get some kitty love, while my family packed the car for vacation. I told them I would only go for an hour. As I was driving I thought, “It’s not enough time. What good will it really do? I should be back helping my family pack.” But when I got there, Damario came to greet me with his tail high in the air. Good Damario! I had been telling him if he wanted to get adopted he was going to have to look more relaxed and learn to put that tail up. I instantly stopped feeling guilty. This was proof I was making a difference.
When I enter the left side of the facility, Monica is on her shelf waiting for love and as soon as I sit, I have several cats looking for attention. Purrs and ear scratches all around. On the right side, Nin is at the door waiting and there are two new faces I haven’t seen. As I sit, one lays against my leg and the other sits against my back. I see my darling Gwyneth’s forehead, with its little white star, pop out of the cubby she prefers. She is intimidated by all the other cats. It has taken days, but now she comes out to sit with me. She knows I won’t let anyone pick on her.
I move and sit next to handsome Coal. He is such a love bug. Isabella makes her rounds and Nin and ZuZu come by to check on me. It is hard to move on, but I have to save time for the cats outside. That is where my dear, sweet Tiger is. He is a personal favorite. I sit and again I am soon surrounded. Beautiful Nevada lays along my leg. She is missing her kittens that have just been weaned, but at least she has Lora. Lora is younger and lets Nevada tend to her.
The hour passes quickly and I have to get back home. I say my special goodbye to Tiger. I hope he is not there when I return. I know he has a home out there. How could such a great cat not? I tell him I will miss him. The cats watch me go, and I feel a sad knowing many will still be there when I come back. But the earlier guilt is gone, and has been replaced with a feeling of satisfaction. The hour was well spent giving the cats attention and helping them relax.
On the way out of town, I tell my family about the cats and their stories. My son asks to see pictures of the new ones. He knows I will have some on my phone. He asks about Tiger, one of his favorites, too.
All of the animals at the shelter have stories. Come volunteer and become part of their story, or adopt and give their story a happy ending. Then again, you could do both. That is what I did.
Their lives are in our hands.