Meet Barbara! This extraordinarily dedicated, hard-working, feline-nurturing volunteer works in many roles for RASKC, donating over 10,000 hours since 2012. Last year, as a foster volunteer, she donated nearly 2,000 hours—the most donated in 2015 by a foster. Barbra also works regularly scheduled weekly shifts on the Early Morning Cat Crew, on Cat Meet & Greet, with cats at Reber Ranch and at Tukwila Petco, where she serves on the leadership team. Barbra was also instrumental in helping launch RASKC’s cat care and adoption program in Kirkland in 2014. Additionally Barbra has donated hundreds of hours as an office volunteer, and she helps out at special adoption events.
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
A: I have lived in this area my entire life. Originally I lived in Maple Valley. We have been adopting animals from King County Animal Control for as long as I can remember. This was when it was still a high-kill facility, and you had to take a gravel road off of 212th to get to it. So I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know about them.
I didn’t even know you could volunteer until about six or seven years ago when I was at the Federal way Petco, and I fell in love with a little girl for adoption who was named Tipper at the time. Now she’s Cricket. A mother and daughter were there with the kitties and told me about how they volunteered for RASJC. Now I thought that was awesome. And I thought I’d like to give it a try. Because I love animals of course and I wanted to give back to the homeless kitties.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?
A: I have always been a huge animal lover. We always had lots of animals on our five acres. But I always had that special love for all felines! Even at a young age. They have helped me so much with de-stressing and my depression and anxiety. And I had a lot of time on my hands that I wanted to do something good and productive with. Helping animals seemed like the perfect solution. And I seem to have found my niche. Sometimes I feel like I have more in common with the kitties than my fellow humans! Cuddling kitties is a great incentive too.
Q: What have you gained from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC?
A: I have gained so much from my work at RASKC. I think it has made me a more compassionate understanding person as a whole. I have more empathy. I have learned so much about how spaying and neutering is so important. And the TNR [Trap, Neuter, & Release] program. The foster program especially has taught me a lot. It has helped me grow emotionally and spiritually. The volunteer program as a whole has been incredibly healing for me mentally too. I hope to expand on that in the coming years. I have much more to learn about cats and I’m sure they still have some life lessons to teach me. And it’s such a boost to find these kitties homes! I also feel better off for many of the friendships I’ve made here.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?
A: Hmm. That’s a tough question because between work and volunteering that takes up most of my time. I listen to a lot of music. It is one of my biggest escapes. I read a lot, I am a rabid bibliophile. I try to have lunch with my mom once a week. I have some hobbies like latch hooking that I like to do time and energy permitting. And I play with my own kitties, of course!
Q: What is your life motto?
A: I have a few life mottos, including this one: If you talk to the animals the animals will talk to you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to the animals the animals will not talk to you and you will not know each other.
From Chief Dan George: What one does not know, one fears. What one fears, one destroys.
From Nietzsche: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Q: How would you describe your pets’ personalities?
A: Bobo is my first kitty since living in my condo. He’s a troublemaker, and he craves attention from [my partner] Tim. Merlin is the biggest at 22 pounds and just a mama’s boy. He follows me everywhere. Cricket is the little princess. She also has street smarts. Precious is a tomboy. Sancho is another mama’s boy. He’s a lover not a fighter. Batens is a bit senile but loves to snuggle and lick noses. Scooter looks up to Bobo and is also a mama’s boy.
Q: Describe a memorable moment you’ve had with an animal.
A: I don’t have a specific event, but for me the best and most memorable is taking in the tiny bottle babies and feeding them and nursing them back to health, seeing them grow up and get great forever homes when they’d have no chance otherwise. That really makes my day! And my year!
Q: What is the best advice you would give people who want pets?
A: Research carefully what kind of care that pet will need and think about if you will be able to provide it. And adopt, don’t shop!!!!
Interested in being a volunteer? Click on the link below to learn how to get involved! http://www.kingcounty.gov/RASKCvolunteer