The MSPCA Nevins farm takes in almost 7000 animals a year. So how can we remember one animal that was adopted from the next? Simple we have awesome volunteers and staff who really take the time to get to know the animal’s personality.
A favorite place for me to hang out at the shelter when I just need some animal bonding time is our cat colony rooms. These our two rooms right off our main cat adoption rooms that can house many cats and let them run and play on elevated structures and in cubby holes. One of our volunteers Peter Sward can be frequently seen in the colonies taking the time to purely hang with the cats and learn their individual quirks. What I love about Peter and many of our cat room volunteers is that they really do know the animals we have up for adoption. The volunteers not only clean their cages, make sure they are fed, but they sit and play with them with a toy, or snuggle with them if that’s what they think they need. Our volunteers are truly our greatest assets at Nevins and what is it that brings them back to help week after week? It’s hearing the success stories and learning that they helped to change an animal’s life.
Here is one of those success stories that Peter wanted to share,
“Aussie arrived at the shelter in December 2009 as a stray and was estimated to be 1-2 years old. He was put into one of our colony rooms and was quickly comfortable in there. He was not looking for a BFF cat but did his own thing like hanging out on the porch or lay on the floor looking at the antics of the other cats or people. Aussie and I took a liking to each other to the point that he would come running for a head scratch when I called his name. He was still a bit reserved with new people but didn’t mind them petting him.
On a Saturday in April John and Helen with their two daughters, Emily and Alixandra, showed up at the shelter. They had seen Aussie on the website and were interested in meeting him. I happened to be behind the front counter at that time and took them to the colony room where Aussie was hanging out on the porch. I called him and he come running to get petted so I could show them how affectionate he was after he got to know you. They spent time with him and he was good with the kids and then they did a very sensible thing that I would have suggested anyway since they very recently had lost their old cat and that was to go home a think about and really decide if they were ready for another cat.
They did come back the next day and we did the adoption. It was fairly quick since they had done their homework and had all the needed documentation with them and my buddy left the shelter. A little bit later Helen sent me a couple of pictures of Aussie (Now Ozzie) that we promptly put on our Alumni wall where we share success stories with the public. He was doing great and had settled in fine, was enjoying his new environment and his cat tree. He also dutifully did all his scratching on the tree.
The family continued to attend events at the shelter so we stayed in contact.
After Christmas they invited me to visit and I eagerly accepted since I was really curious if he would remember me after 9 months. When I arrived he immediately come up to me to be petted and was rubbing himself against me so he clearly remembered! He had gained a few pound after arriving but then stabilized at his current weight and they are keeping an eye on his weight just in case. We get so many obese cats at the shelter and it’s as unhealthy for them as it is for people and is as hard, if not harder, to get a cat to lose weight in a controlled manner.
He also enjoys laying on his back on the floor or in front of the fireplace for a belly rub. If you think the picture looks familiar, it’s the same one as is in our 2011 Calendar that’s for sale at the shelter. Helen also told me that he likes to come up on Emily’s bed when she’s reading to her at bedtime. I’ll guess he likes to just listening to the voice but he might enjoy the stories as well.
At one point he was in the kitchen looking at the birds in the backyard and I was in the family room and I called his name and did the “come here for a head scratch” gesture and he come running at full speed for a good head scratching session so he clearly remembered that as well.
I did know that he went to a good home at the time of adoption but it was so nice to see him in such a loving environment and see him head butting his people for attention and playing with the kids who also is very good with him and let him have his space when needed.”