My Time as a Volunteer

Dear Readers,

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve had a hard time organizing my post ideas and I’ve been a little distracted. This post isn’t going to be something about Angry Birds, or Harry Potter. It’s about something I love doing and want to help spread the message about.

Recently in school we have been learning about Advocacy, which is publicly supporting a certain cause. I have a very specific cause. Animals. I am a volunteer at Camp Companion, a group of people who are trying to find homes for all the homeless pets and prevent future generations of them. Camp Companions have had over 624 adoptions and 1,524 spray/neuters. There are so many homeless cats and dogs out there because people don’t get their pets fixed.  We became involved with Camp companion when an expecting stray showed up on our property. She showed up, not even a year old and a mother-to-be. We named her her Belle, but knew we couldn’t take in another cat. While my family and I were away visiting family in Oregon, she had 5 kittens in a mud hole in the rain. My grandmother, who had decided to stay, put them in a box. My mom called the Humane society and other shelters, but no one would call back or give us assistance. Someone mentioned Camp Companion to us and they responded after one call. That’s where it all started. We ended up becoming Fosters for the cats and spending Saturdays at adoption events trying to find them homes. I can’t imagine a better way to spend my Saturdays than volunteering my time for adorable animals! With so many homeless animals, many of them being cold and hungry, wouldn’t you want to help? Here in Minnesota the winters are very cold and often an animal as small as a cat, probably wouldn’t survive. My mom, sister Maria, and I spent an hour in negative degree weather trying to get a feral/stray cat into a cage (much to her disliking). Originally she would’ve been a TNR (trap-neuter-return), it was just too cold out and we ended up becoming her foster family. She was very skittish at first but she soon learned that we were nice. We’re still fostering that feisty little girl whom we’ve lovingly named Cinder (kinda like Cinderella, once alone and cold, now warm and loved) and we can’t wait for the day she gets her forever home. If there is a small, cute kitten up for adoption, odds are that they’ll get adopted fairly quickly, the adults are not so much. Deemed “Second Hand Cats” by Camp Companion, for the fact that the cat was most likely previously owned but abandoned, the adult cats (6 months and older) generally take longer to get adopted since they’re “older” and not so “cute and cuddly” and are overlooked for cute kittens, despite the cats having wonderful personalities.

Being apart of a foster family is amazing. We’ve fostered about 10 cats by now, but that is hardly a comparison to the cats that are still needing a foster home. Our job, as a foster family, is to provide warm shelter, good food, good water, and plenty of love to the pet we’re fostering. Sometimes that pet needs extra special care, like if they have separation anxiety, certain disabilities, or maybe they’re just not too certain about humans (as Cinder once was), the foster family’s job is to help the animal overcome the road block and help them go on the road of recovery to get to their forever home. Sometimes the pet’s foster family becomes so attached to the pet, they decide to adopt it themselves. Camp Companion calls this a “foster failure.”

You don’t necessarily have to be a volunteer and work with a group like Camp Companion to do your part and help. You could always just try to spread the word that, animals are living creatures too. Would you abandon your own family like you could a pet? I know I wouldn’t! One major thing that you can do is to get your pets fixed. Many kittens, cats, puppies and dogs die from diseases caused by over population. So many animals die from cold, diseases, starvation and sometimes worse. So many of these animals could be saved, and many more can be prevented. Getting your pets fixed would keep future pet generations from ending up on the street.

Please spread the word. Animals are living creatures too. They can love, care and also feel sad or rejected. They can feel what people feel.

Sources:

http://www.campcompanion.org/

https://www.facebook.com/campcompanion

 

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6 thoughts on “My Time as a Volunteer

  1. Hi Anne! Camp Companion sounds like a special organization. It also takes a special kind person to foster these animals. I commend you for your work there and at the adoption events. What a selfless use of your time! I would like to touch on the fact that grown cats don’t get adopted as quickly as kittens. I just want to tell those who are thinking about adopting to really take grown cats into consideration. Both of the cats I’ve had were adults when they became a part of our family, and both of them were/are real sweethearts. Our first cat, Cash, came from the Humane Society, and we don’t exactly know how old he was when we got him (the Humane Society said he was six, but six years later he died, and he was over 20, so that wasn’t right). He was the calmest, most laid back cat you have ever seen. He was great with kids, and just wanted to be petted and held. Now I have a cat named Tibbles, who I got when he was two, and he is now around six. Grown cats can be just as spunky as kittens! Tibbles is a real oddball in the best way, is calm most of the time but can also be really playful, is good with kids, and is a talker. Oddly, he doesn’t like being placed on your lap or on top of you, and doesn’t love being held unless it’s over your shoulder (in which case he adores being held), and he gives head butts more than any cat I’ve ever seen. Tibbles has all of the energy and cuteness of a kitten, as I am sure many grown cats do, so just because you want your cat to fit a certain mold doesn’t mean it has to be a kitten.

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    • Those are wonderful stories! We adopted a dog, he was a puppy then but still very big, he is a GSP (German Shorthair Pointer) named Champion. He was so afraid of being left alone. One time Maria stayed home while the rest of us went to the store, and later on she called telling us that Champ was freaking out and practically having a panic attack! He was a tiny puppy that was adopted for LOOKS and when he got big, he didn’t handle the little apartment his family was living in (they did NO research what-so-ever) and gave him up. He was never trained but we’ve managed to teach him a few tricks and now he’s happy with us. His best friend is a kitten (I say kitten, she’s an adult now though!) named Ruby, who is a tortioshell that we had nearly run over with the car (she’s nicknamed the Corn Field Cat since she was found near a corn field). Ruby was starving and after we fed her, we introduced her to Champ. Best buddies ever since. Of course, my cat Willow hated her at that moment (both were unfixed females, now both fixed) but then again, Willow hates all animals with few exceptions. Champ has brought us BABY BUNNIES without harming them and even fetched two baby squirrels to my mom thinking she could help them. We called the squirrels Ruffnut and Tuffnut but they had fallen from their tree when, we think, a raccoon raided their nest and sadly they died. But he never hurt any of them (he’s also fetched Easter Eggs before so we kinda have to be careful about that! LOL). It’s awesome getting to share stories like these, isn’t it?

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      • Champ sounds absolutely wonderful! The stories about him bringing you bunnies, squirrels, and Easter eggs are adorable, and it reminds me a lot of Tibbles in the sense that he wouldn’t hurt a fly. While most cats hunt mice, Tibbles finds it nice to play with them for a while and then come find us to let it back outside. One time, he was batting this mouse around, and I felt bad for the poor thing. He must have freaked it out. We managed to find the cat and his live toy just in time to see that the mouse was about done being played with. It stood up on its hind legs, looked Tibbles in the eye, pawed the air, and started yelling at him! “Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak!” Mid-rampage, the mouse got a swift knock to the side that sent him rolling across the floor.
        Cat: 1
        Mouse: 0
        It is truly fun to share these stories. I find myself remembering a lot of things that I had kind of forgotten about Tibbles, and I love hearing about others’ pets as well. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of great stories to tell! 🙂

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      • I’ve got a lot of animal stories to tell 🙂 Tibbles sounds like he’s an interesting pet, where’s you get him from? Some stories are happy, others are sad, I plan on doing a post dedicated to an old dog I had once. I’m going to publish the post on October 16th, since that was the day she had died.

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      • I actually don’t know where I got him from. Santa brought him one year, a few weeks before Christmas, so we aren’t really sure if he had been put up for adoption or if it was kitty overcrowding at his old owner’s place that he just wanted to get away from. I got a note from Santa saying that Tibbles just couldn’t wait until Christmas, so he had to bring him then, and that Cash (he died a few years before I got Tibbles) is the one who found Tibbs. Cash thought I would be perfect for him and vice-versa. I hope that doesn’t sound cheesy, because I do believe that’s what happened. I do know that he was a show cat before I got him, and sometimes I feel bad that he doesn’t get that life anymore. Then, I remember. Hey, it’s Tibbles! He was probably a show cat for 10 seconds and was already thinking, “You stop that… let me sleep!” That’s his hobby. I’m sorry for the loss of your dog.

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      • It’s okay, and I don’t think that story is cheesy. I think it is beautiful. You should mention that on your blog. It is a touching story and we find that many of our pets, find US. Once and a while we’ll be the ones to pick the pet, but mostly its the pet that does the picking! (sorry for the tough twister). It’s sweet how our previous pets who died seem to still sit right there with us even if we can’t see them, I once even had a dream about Annie and we were playing, it was so nice. I love sharing pet stories since the animals are not like people and are so different and beautiful, it’s just amazing!

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