Jennifer started off as a cat cuddler in 2006 when she first joined RASKC’s Volunteer program. She was also one of the creative minds behind the Cat Meet & Greet project, and redesigned the entire look and feel of the former Store of HOPE at Kent Station to make it a more inviting and professional, retail-looking space. It was Jennifer’s creative ingenuity that sparked the “Summer of Love” poster for the Rachael Ray contest a couple of years ago — so much of her wonderful professional expertise has gone to other similar posters, such as the Super Pet Adoptathon and Kent Cornucopia Days, the décor for RASKC’s Pawsitive Alliance Open Houses and the “Consider a Mutt” limited edition poster fundraiser. The fundraiser raised nearly $5,000 for the Angel Fund. Thank you Jennifer for opening up your home to foster pets, donating your time, and being an all around magnificent person! Read our Q&A with her below:
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
A: I first learned about RASKC approximately 2006. My husband and I had just put to sleep one of our two kitties, due to renal failure, and I was looking for a way to fill the hole in my heart. We weren’t aware that we lived about 2 miles from the shelter until we drove past it one day, not long after we had our beloved girl kitty Lucy put to sleep.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?
A: I was interested in helping make the cats more comfortable, and cat cuddling appealed to me the most. It gave me the opportunity to spend time with each cat available for adoption; to learn more about their personality and characteristics to better inform potential adopters. Plus it gave cats a time out from their kennels, which were much smaller at the time than the current kennels.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?
A: When I’m not volunteering at RASKC I’m working and exploring Seattle, of which I am a new resident, having lived in the South End (Federal Way, Kent) for nearly 16 years.
Q: What do you hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC?
A: I hope that I’ve made a positive impact on the animals, potential adopters, my fellow volunteers and the public in general. I work to make the cats comfortable, help potential adopters find a cat that is best suited for them (or not), and educate the public about the shelter mission and animal rescue in general. I’m proud to be a RASKC volunteer.
Q: What is your life motto?
A: It depends: “The cure for everything is salt water: tears, sweat and the ocean.” “Sometimes you have to go the long way around in order to come back the short distance correctly.” “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Q: What is your favorite activity to do with your dogs?
A: I actually don’t have a dog, though I have been raised with them. I think walking would be my favorite activity. I’ve noticed that if you have a dog, people tend to stop and talk to you. Generally about the dog.
Q: What’s the best thing about your cats?
A: I currently have two cats: Callie and Zora. The best thing about them is how they vie for attention, either by tripping me by lying down directly in front of me or jumping up in my lap.
Q: How would you describe your cats’ personalities?
A: Zora: semi-feral behavior even though you can tell she wants to get over it and be a lush and relax all the time. Callie: her internal clock. She knows to the minute when it’s time to eat (5PM). That and her one-foot punch for attention.
Q: What is the best advice you would give people who want pets?
A: Do your homework, take a critical look at your life and lifestyle before you adopt a new family member, even if you it makes you realize you’re not ready for the commitment. Because it’s a long-term, financial commitment. Ask yourself the tough questions that have to do with the animal, not you. Understand what will work best for you and what will make both you and your furry family member happy and fulfilled with no regrets.
Q: Describe a memorable moment you’ve had with an animal?
A: I’ve had so many, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one.
I remember my first foster litter: 5 kittens; we had this thing called a “group hug” which was me walking into their room and all 5 of them climbing up on me (I learned to wear several layers of clothing to avoid the claws.). Other fosters that stand out: Puddin’ (who I discovered was deaf), Miss Piggy (a senior Persian who was adopted by a young couple that fell in love the second they saw her), Trombone Shorty (the longest ear fluff I’ve ever seen). I’ve loved them all. You get attached, no matter how hard you try not to.
I remember a cat in adoptions named OJ – a senior male orange tabby. We taught OJ to walk on a harness. The second I would walk in the door he was at the front of his kennel, waiting to to be walked. His favorite part was to go back into the volunteer room and roll in the toys with catnip (yes, they got washed afterwards). He was an awesome cat, and did find a furrever home.
The 72 cats confiscated from one person – “The Camper Cats.” Beautiful cats, horrible, nasty conditions. The smell in adoptions was overwhelming at times because of the proximity to stray-hold. All found homes, and I was proud to have helped in that effort.
On a similar note, one of my favorite parts of volunteering is my co-volunteer duo – a mother and daughter, Susan and Danica, respectively. They’ve been volunteering with me for nearly 3 years, and Danica (the daughter) is a an amazing young woman (a teen still!). I wish I had her confidence when I was her age. I’ve so enjoyed watching her grow and gain confidence interacting with public–she’s amazing, and her mom is a great, knowledgeable volunteer and friend. I’ve even had the pleasure of being able to help out her Girl Scout Troop with several initiatives-many of them shelter-related.
Learn more about RASKC’s Volunteer Program by visiting us at: www.kingcounty.gov/RASKCvolunteer