What a difference time can make. Just a month ago, I would not have thought I’d again be volunteering for Lakeshore Humane Society or that I would be trying to spread the word about all of the positive, long-overdue changes that are being made within the shelter’s walls. But, I am a volunteer and I am spreading the word.
Three times a week, I have the absolute pleasure of visiting what I refer to as the “Petco Cats” on behalf of Lakeshore Humane Society. The Petco Cats are a trio of cats who, like the feline who stays at Colonial Pet, are the responsibility of Lakeshore Humane Society. I spend about an hour-and-a-half with this trio, beginning at 10 am, cleaning their cages and talking to them.
At the start of every visit, I take each cat out of a cage, spend some one-on-one time, and put the animal in an Xpen that has a hiding place in its center. I take Princess, a seven year-old, long-haired cat who was surrendered by her previous owners, out of her top cubby first so she can enjoy some time stretching and lying in the Xpen. I enjoy watching her daintily drinking water. Her behavior makes me think she would like to sit on the back of a couch and enjoy the soothing rays of the sun coming through a window.
Then, I remove Salty from the cubby below the one that belongs to Princess. Salty was surrendered by his former owner more recently than Princess. Even though he is adjusting to his new environment well, I can’t help but wonder how he feels. I wonder how it must be for him to be in a new home without the family that was once his. I enjoyed the time I spent in the Xpen with Salty earlier today! He enjoyed the attention I gave him as much as I liked the affection he demonstrated for me!
Finally, I put Stix in the Xpen. Stix is the only one of this threesome that I think would be able to hold his own during playtime with my dogs – he is feisty! Despite his youth, Stix has mastered the art of escaping his enclosure and has had me chasing him in and around the store…more than once!
Fortunately, many people come over to play with the Petco Cats as I clean their living spaces. Chatting with these kind-hearted people allows me the chance to inform them about TNR and the importance of micro-chipping their pets. I’m amazed by how little people in general know about either TNR or micro-chips and am grateful for these opportunities to share my knowledge and experiences.
When the cleaning is done, playtime is over, and my conversations have ended, I put the Petco Cats back in their respective cubbies. I usually feel tugs at my heart strings as I close the doors to their cages. I have to convince myself that these cats aren’t crying for me as I prepare to leave…and that’s hard.
The work – cleaning cages, changing litter, delivering food and water – and the time I devote to these cats are worth it, though. I know I make a difference to this trio and everyone I meet while caring for them the same way Lakeshore Humane Society is now making a difference in the lives of the animals it cares for.
When its new board of directors was elected a few months ago, Lakeshore Humane Society began to change – it began to evolve into the kind of facility it was meant to be in the first place. I don’t know how the Society got so far off track from its mission years ago, but I do know that its current board is right on target with the changes it is making.
I offered to write about Lakeshore Humane Society for a local paper so that members of the public could learn about and support the changes that are ongoing at the facility, but was turned down. It’s unfortunate because the Society needs the support of its community now more than ever as it prepares to not only fulfill its mission, but exceed the public’s expectations as well.