Happy Tails #1
Today was my first day volunteering at the C.A.R.E Evanston shelter. I had undergone an interview and orientation the previous week. I was introduced to some of the staff there and given some brief background information on how the shelter was run. It is a non-profit, all volunteer organization. According to the background information I was given, it is a shelter that houses the Animal Control Department of the City of Evanston. It is governed by the Evanston Police Department. Aside from the two paid animal wardens that work there, the rest of the staff are all volunteers. After orientation ended, I was told that I would start training the following week.
I was extremely excited to start volunteering. I awaited the experience all week. With my time limitations, I would volunteer in the mornings. This meant I would be working with the felines because canine volunteering is at night. I started off my shift by shadowing my site supervisor. She told me that with my inexperience with cats, she would prefer that I shadow first. I followed her around the shelter and listened to her teach the other volunteers and myself. She did allow me to gain some on-hand experience by letting me clean a few of the kennels and allowed me to hold a few cats/kittens. I was extremely ecstatic to hold some of the cats/kittens because a majority of them crave affection.
It was a satisfying feeling to know that the cats/kittens appreciate the care offered at the shelter. When the kitten rubbed his head into my neck and chest I felt completely warm and fuzzy inside. It was extremely cute and gratifying to know that I am providing help even with my little experience.
Aside from getting the opportunity to meet the friendly cats/kittens, I also met some of the mean and feisty cats. A few I recall were completely anti-social and would hiss and swat when a volunteer attempts to clean their kennel. I was told that these cats were possibly abandoned and became anti-social because they lacked human contact for a long period of time. I was somewhat uncomfortable to see how mean these cats were. At the same time, I also felt sympathetic towards them because of how much cruelty they had undergone. With love, care, and devotion, it is possible according to my supervisor that they could become more social. Seeing these cats makes me want to help them even more. I want to give them my love and warmth to show them that humanity can still exist for them. I hope to learn more about these cats in need of extra attention the next time I volunteer.
Lastly, I wanted to recount on some things I learned while volunteering my first day. I learned how to clean kennels, disinfect with either bleach or Roccal, look at cat urine and feces to determine what is normal or abnormal, and how to fill their food and litter boxes. I completed all these tasks with the aid of my supervisor, but I hope to learn even more the next time I volunteer. She said she would teach me more about the safety of how to deal with cats when they become rough and feisty. Until my next experience, I will be perusing through the feline training manual I was given.
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