Meet Karen! RASKC is very happy to honor Karen Pilarc, one of RASKC’s longest-serving foster volunteers. Karen has contributed, on average, over 450 foster hours virtually each year since 2010, in addition the foster hours she contributed in previous years. “Karen is just amazing,” says RASKC Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason. “For many years she has been traveling all the way from Auburn to help our cats.” Karen is very generous with her time, super skilled, and really nice too.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals? A: The only pets we had when I was young were birds, which were nice, but I always wanted a furry pet. I’ve always loved animals, so I constantly worked to befriend those I ran across outside the home. When I was around 14 years old, a pregnant stray cat captured my attention. Over time I watched the kittens shifting under her skin and then she disappeared. A few days later she actually showed me where the kittens were… and then disappeared. I watched a while and she didn’t come back. We took in the kittens in and bottle fed them. We never saw the mom again. My mom kept the kitten that was left after the others all found homes. While in college I adopted a beautiful white cat from a kill-shelter. I enjoyed some great years with her until she passed from renal failure in 2006. I wasn’t ready to emotionally commit to owning another cat, so I started fostering. I could nurture, medicate, and watch as kitties got back to health so they could find their forever homes, and they could be loving back. Win/win!
Q: Why do you choose to foster with RASKC?
A: Lori. 🙂 Lori Mason is the most compassionate foster coordinator– she is able to understanding both the people and the animals, and that’s a treasure. She is a large part of why I continue to foster with RASKC, even though the Auburn shelter is much closer. People who have a passion inspire others around them.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t taking care of your foster animals?
A: I like to challenge myself creatively. Last year I focused on papercutting. In the past I’ve set up my garage to do lampwork/glass bead making. In the future I’d like to look into stained glass and kaleidoscope making. So much art and craft to do but so, so limited time!
Q: What is your life motto? What’s important to you?
A: Do the best you can with what you have at the time. We live in such a beautiful world. It’s truly amazing the amount of unique flora and fauna we have on this planet. Yet humans can be incredibly selfish and destructive with our conveniences (single use plastics, CO2 emissions, farmed animals). I wish we as a species would have a bit more respect and compassion for the other species that share this planet.
Q: Whom do you admire?
A: David Attenborough. Through his documentaries he’s playfully shown us so much of the natural world that the majority of us would never get a chance to see in our lifetime. He’s got a wonderful sense of humor about it all too.
Q: What small things make you happy?
A: Sunrises. Finishing a piece of artwork. Hummingbirds at the feeder.
Q: Have you always lived in Washington state?
A: I moved to the Seattle area from Texas back in 2002. I had visited a couple of years earlier. I was enthralled by the cold salt water air of the Sound, the tidal pools of the San Juan islands, and the mountains. The area of Texas I lived in was relatively open and flat. I moved up here when the opportunity presented itself. I do miss the thunder and lightning of Texas storms at times–what a light show!!
Q: What’s a fun fact about you?
A: I’ve worked full time as a histotechnician for quite a few years now. I embed, cut, and stain slides of biopsies and larger tissue for pathologists to review. I received a couple of awards for quality work.
Q. Describe a memorable moment about fostering.
A: I fostered an adult cat–the most beautiful long-haired Seal Point boy kitty. We kennel our fosters in a kitty condo while we aren’t home or when they are new to our place. And we put a little house in the condo, so they feel less exposed. This cat wouldn’t even make eye contact. At all. He wouldn’t eat unless we were out of the room. It took a while, but when we were able to gain his trust, he was a very loving cat–it was the most satisfying feeling. When he was ready to be adopted, we posted him on Petfinder.com. A lady whose cat had recently passed saw his picture and fell in love. She adopted him and even sent us pictures of him in his new home. For me, fostering is about this–caring for the kitty until it’s in shape to go where it needs to be.
Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering for RASKC?
A: Volunteering is rewarding in ways you can’t even imagine when you start. It feels so good to give freely and see such positive results.