Meet Karen! With tremendous pleasure RASKC names Karen Grace as a Volunteer of the Month. She is one of our longest serving volunteers, having fostered animals for us every year since 2007! So far, Karen has contributed over 5,500 hours. Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason said, “Karen does an amazing job. She’s always there when I need her. And she comes up with great names for the animals.” Thank you so very, very much, Karen!

Q: How did you hear about King County Animal Care & Control (later re-named RASKC) and get started?

A: When I volunteered at the blood center, my career was starting to take off. I knew that to focus on my work in real estate, I could no longer be tied to a regular schedule for volunteering. Around the same time, I was watching an episode of Animal Planet that featured kittens going into foster care. That inspired me to find out where I could foster, and I found KCACC. About 500 animals later, here I am!

Q: Please describe a memorable moment you’ve had with RASKC animals.

A: I started fostering in June 2007. My first experience as a foster volunteer was with a group of four kittens. One of them fought hard, but unfortunately passed away after about a week or so. I am actually very lucky that almost all of the animals I have fostered have lived through their time with me.

That is due mainly to the efforts of Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason who has showed me how to do some life saving techniques that I have implemented over the years. Another one of the kittens in that first group immediately benefited from Lori’s expertise and guidance. He was by then known to me as “Commander Sugar Butt” and he made it! I have stayed in touch through the years with the family who adopted Commander. As it turns out, he just crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few weeks ago, after living in a wonderful, loving and caring forever home for over 14 years.

Q: What have you gained so far from your experience as a RASKC volunteer?

A: Intuition, patience, and ongoing learning. Working with so many kittens and mamas- and puppies too- has really honed my sense of intuition when something isn’t right. Of course, it’s great to be able to contact Lori whenever I need to.I try to learn from my mistakes. For example, one time a vacuum startled one of my foster kittens. When I went to grab him to provide some comfort, the kitten bit right through my finger. This was 100% my fault. So I have learned not to sneak up on any of my foster animals.

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I grew up in Bellevue. My dad was a firefighter and sold fire equipment. My mom worked at King County District Court in Redmond for over 35 years. I’m the youngest of three. The elementary school I attended was located in the middle of a filbert nut orchard. Part of my strong work ethic dates to when I was a student there. We harvested, packaged, and sold the hazelnuts as an annual school project. It was a lot of hard work… and fun!

I am a licensed Realtor in Washington State. For many years, I have achieved the top 10% of sales nationwide for my company. I joke, however, that lately it’s a little like being a bartender without any alcohol, since there is such a shortage of houses for sale.

Before I became a Realtor, I worked in maritime transportation for over 25 years, which took me to Louisiana where I learned how to cook. I liked living there, but I am very glad to be back in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

I love to be out in the woods. I like to hike, camp, go four-wheeling, and sit around the campfire telling stories and spending time with friends away from the city.

I believe strongly in working hard and being kind. I think it’s so important to be grateful for what we have and where we live. I feel so lucky to be on this path. Of course, there are trips and stumbles, but I get up and try to learn the lessons from those experiences.

Q: How would you describe your pets’ personalities?

A: About 10 years ago, I adopted two of my foster kitties. I don’t really consider it a “foster failure,” since there had already been hundreds of foster cats, kittens, and puppies through my place. Haha. I consider my cats Yamma Jamma and Corky Lynn to be “Host Fosters,” since they help the little goomers (Lori’s word, not mine) more than I ever could. Yamma Jamma teaches the kittens good hygiene, grooming skills, and litter-box habits. She is also the disciplinarian. Corky Lynn teaches my foster kittens how to play, hunt, and how to get into trouble. hahaha.

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

I love working with Lori Mason. I’d do about anything for her. 😃

Q: Fun fact?

A: I ran my first half-marathon at age 55!