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Finding Friends Fur Life

posted Apr 16, 2014, 6:09 PM by Unknown user   [ updated May 15, 2014, 8:35 AM by Unknown user ]

Rachell Resnik

As an animal lover, I was more than willing to donate time during my spring break to volunteer at the Hancock County Humane Society. Little did I know, the process of volunteering is actually quite complicated.

My original plan was to assist at the Humane Society the week of spring break in whatever way possible. I arrived on a Monday morning ready to work, but soon realized there was a complicated process I had to go through before I could work with the animals.

The woman at the counter instructed me to fill out a volunteer application, and explained that I would need to attend a 3-hour class the following Wednesday afternoon, and after that, I would start training to become a volunteer.

In a moment of confusion after the lengthy instruction, I explained to her that I was writing an article for my school newspaper, and conveniently, I was on spring break this week. In other words, I was on a time crunch. She had me write a note to the woman in charge of volunteering to explain my situation, and she said she would contact me as soon as possible. At this point, volunteering at the Humane Society seemed out of the picture for me.

Luckily, though, when Tuesday afternoon rolled around I received a call from the Humane Society. They gave me two options: play with the cats, or shadow a volunteer who works with the dogs. I chose the more hands-on approach to play with the cats, my favorite animal. Over the phone, I excitedly signed up to volunteer for an hour on Wednesday and Friday.

I have two cats of my own and I was fairly confident walking into the Humane Society Wednesday morning. After signing in and taking a name tag, a volunteer walked me to the cat kennels. She then explained how to open the kennel, pick up the cat, and walk the animal to a room down the hall filled with cat trees and toys; it seemed easy enough.

The first cat I decided to play with was a black cat named Tex. Tex was super friendly and excited to go to the playroom. As soon as I placed Tex in the playroom, he began climbing and jumping from tree to tree. I let him play around before I decided to try my hand at interacting with him. After giving him a few treats, I began to brush and pet Tex’s fur. After 15 minutes, I took Tex back and decided to play with the two noisy kittens in the back cage.

Since the two kittens were together in the cage, they could enter the playroom together. The little black kitten was named Pegasus, and the striped one was named Wilbur. The boys were really hyper and played non-stop with a piece of string and a plush fish. Then, I gave them a rest and got out a beautiful, bengal-type cat named Tressa.

Tressa wasn’t up for playing, but she enjoyed using the cat-scratching post. After quite some time brushing her, I put her back in

her cage and decided to get out a gray cat named Baby.

Baby’s description read, “A sweet girl with a bit of a diva attitude,” so I knew I had met my match. Baby was eager to get out of her cage and loved jumping around in the playroom. I gave her a treat and began to pet the top of her head.

I sensed that she could smell the other cats on my hand, because she didn’t purr, but I decided to pet under her chin, which is something my own cats enjoy. This resulted in her hissing loudly and biting me. As her front teeth sank into my skin, I yanked my hand away in shock. I looked down to a see blood ooze out from a dot on my hand. I’m used to the playful bites from my cats, but I could tell Baby did not like being pet under her chin. I felt a ping of sadness wash over me. Then it dawned on me that I was now alone in a room with a cat who doesn’t like me, and I had to figure out some way to get her back in the cage.

I began feeding her treats, and she knew that I was eventually going to pick her up and return her to her cage. She ran around the room hiding in the different cat trees, but I finally lured her out, grabbed her, and fast-walked her back to her cage. Just as I set her in the cage, she let out an angry growl. I shut the cage quickly and decided I had enough cat

action for the day.

When I returned on Friday, I played with the same cats again (minus Baby). I also had the opportunity to meet two new cats that were just rescued from the streets. The woman in charge explained to me that the Humane Society recently had a successful adoption spree of cats, but the cages fill up quickly. After returning my final cat to his cage, I gave all the cats a pet on the head goodbye...all except Baby, of course. I thanked the volunteers and drove home.

Volunteering at the Humane Society, even for just two hours, was a very rewarding experience. A lot of animals enjoy human interaction and being able to move around outside of their cage. I also got to see the reality of animal shelters; these animals come in faster than they move out. I would encourage anyone interested in having a pet or a love of animals to go to the shelters and adopt one of the animals in there. For more information about adoptable animals and volunteering, check out this website.