Meet Karen and Jonah! RASKC is profoundly pleased to honor Karen Tyler and her adult son Jonah Wilson as Volunteers of the Month. Last year their household contributed the most number of foster hours of any RASKC volunteer household- over 3,600 hours in 2019: Absolutely amazing! Karen and Jonah’s overall contribution exceeds 8,500 foster hours just since 2018!!! Additionally Karen spent hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars last year toward making and contributing three sets of the most incredible Thanksgiving stuffies to RASKC. Each set was comprised of finely crafted fabric turkeys and pumpkins, an actual mini-bale of hay, and plus a super clever written narrative. Karen and Jonah first became acquainted with RASKC through Jonah’s terrific Eagle Scout project in 2017, described below. RASKC can’t thank you enough, Karen and Jonah!

Q: How did you hear about RASKC?

A: In 2017 Jonah was working on becoming an Eagle Scout. He wanted to do something that no one else in the troop had done. So he contacted the shelter, devised the blueprints, pulled together the supplies, then made 31 Kuranda beds: 25 for the dogs, and six for the cats.

Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?

A: Jonah needed school community-service hours for civics class in his senior year. He remembered the shelter with his Eagle Scout project. Due to my jobs we knew we could not be scheduled volunteers. We learned about the foster care program and knew we could help so many more animals by caring for them in our house.

Q: Tell us about yourselves.

A: “I am autistic,” said Jonah, “but this had never stopped me. I am in my second year of college, studying accounting at Green River College.” Jonah has won the Silver Certificate in the Presidential Awards for Educational Excellence. He has also won the People’s Choice Award at the Western Washington State Fair for his orca collection.

I am a single mom. I was working two jobs, but due to COVID-19, I lost one of them. This has allowed me more time for my hobbies. I grew up in Washington state. One of my favorite memories is spending time on Decatur Island in the San Juan’s. I also enjoyed living in Virginia and Germany.

Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?

A: Jonah enjoys gaming and listening to music. We go kayaking and like to go to festivals and fairs too. I especially like to sew, garden, and to do landscaping. I’m proud of the raised vegetable gardens that I built. One time I was working on the back yard and needed to move a 2,000 pound reinforced concrete block about seven feet. Friends told me that we would need to rent heavy equipment for that task. Instead Jonah and I got the job done at no cost. We applied the laws of physics by using leverage and moved the block together.

Q: How would you describe your pets?

A: We have four cats of our own:

  • Orka-The escape artist.
  • Bullet- Problem solver. He has learned to open a locked cat door, open dresser drawers, open cabinets.
  • Lightening- The lover. He’s an orange tabby. We have him harnessed trained and taken him to festivals in the area.
  • Emerald- Miss attitude. She is also the lovable brat.

Q: Describe some memorable moments you’ve had with a RASKC foster animals.

A: “We had siblings in that we were fostering,” said Jonah. “I taught one of them to ride on the shoulder. We almost adopted her.”

The cat we have fostered for over a year has taught us that with love and patience, they will overcome their trauma that brought them to the shelter.

Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering for RASKC?

A: This is the most fun I have ever had and also the saddest times too. It is not about just caring for the healthy animals, but the sick ones as well. I have had a few pass away. When you help animals grow, get better, and then find the forever home, you know in your heart it was a job well done.