A few weeks ago, something happened to me that I’ve been waiting to do for a long time. I officially became an Edmonton Humane Society volunteer.
I’ve been a lover and protector of small creatures for a long time. It was first noticed when I was 3 years old. We were watching Benji The Hunted (classic 80’s Disney movie). SPOILER ALERT…in the middle of a fight, Benji is kicked by one of the human antagonists. At which point I launched myself off the couch and yelled at the TV “Why did that bad man kick that doggie?” while crying. My parents were stunned, as only a few minutes earlier I had been calmly sitting between them. From there it was a slippery slope from harassing our indoor cats incessantly to saving mice from our (mouser) outdoor cat.
Just after high school, I wanted to volunteer at the Humane Society (then called the ESPCA) but with it’s crappy location and my lack of a car, it was just too difficult. The next few years were filled with a long list of excuses that prevented me from committing: too busy, not making enough money, not having a car…
About two weeks into starting my new job last fall, I revisited the the Humane Society site and signed up to be a volunteer. I had a job to pay bills, I had a car, I had the time so I was out of excuses.
And so I finally became a volunteer. I’m in the Cat Program, at Level 1. So all I have to do is go in and visit with the cats. Petting them, giving them attention, giving them treats. And every single one so far has been more than receptive to my attentions. It’s rare that they aren’t purring before I even open the cage door.
Everyone who knows how much I love cats was joking that I’d come home with a new one each week, which is tempting when you meet some of these kitties:
Bartholomew has been there two weeks in a row and I can’t understand why. He’s absolutely loving and friendly. You open the cage and both weeks the first thing he’s done is walk straight onto my shoulder. He just wants to be held.
Panko was hilarious. I was petting this pretty Ragdoll in a cage above him and he gently reached out and tapped me, as if to say “can I please be next?” I sat down and opened the door and he came right out onto my lap. He was purring and drooling (so much so that I noticed drops of it on the floor and on my jeans). A total sweetheart and love-bucket. I had a hard time putting him back in his cage.
Bourbon was so sweet and friendly. I don’t understand how this cat became a stray but he did, and subsequently lost one of his back legs. He was so loving and nuzzled my hand. I didn’t want to pick him up because his surgery was still fresh (the sutures were still really pink so I didn’t want to pick him up) but he wanted to be on me, so he stretched his cone-covered head out and lay it on my lap as I scratched all around his collar.
Honey meowed at me frantically while I pet the other cats in the room. He raced all over his cage, turning over bowls and just acting desperate. As soon as I got to the cage and started talking to him, he calmed down but was still grabbing for my hand through the bars. He didn’t stop panicking until I opened the door and started scratching his neck. You can tell he’s stressed and just wants to go to a home with humans who will give him love and scratches.
Every time I put the cat back into his or her condo, instead of saying “see you later” (wait, you don’t talk to animals?) I always say “I hope I don’t see you next week”.
There are good days. And there are hard days. Yesterday was a hard day. But even the hardest day could never keep me away.
So don’t ever ask me to make plans on a Wednesday; I’m busy, for a very long time.
(My blog titles are song titles. This one is “Where I’m Going” by Cut Copy)