Spotlight of the Month: Super Shelter Volunteer, Kathy Kraft!

Kathy Kraft is a longtime volunteer at RMO’s spotlight rescue for May: Pawsibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron. She was kind enough to answer a few of our questions.

What’s a typical day like for you at PHSGA?

When I walk in I first clock in on our VIC (Volunteer Information System) computer and head to the front desk to let them know I’m there and available for whatever is needed. I am a volunteer feline adoption counselor and I’m letting the staff know that I’m available to work with potential adopters to help them find their purrfect match. I spend most of my time in Kitty City. It could be getting to know a new resident, reconnecting with a current one, or just greeting visitors and answering questions about our felines.

There’s always something to do anywhere in the shelter. Laundry and sorting the generous donations from the public are examples of what I help with in the storage room. For the dogs, something as simple filling the treat buckets on their cages helps.

The list is endless and I walk in with an open mind and just jump in to help however I can.

What’s the best part of volunteering for PHSGA?

There are so many great parts of volunteering. It is the rewards I feel.

Take the family who comes in looking to adopt and you see that connection between them and THE feline that they have been looking for and they say, I’d like to adopt this one.

The friendships I have made with my fellow volunteers, all helping in different ways and all caring so deeply for those in our care.

The staff who continues to invest their time in me, making me a better volunteer.

How often are you there?

Early on I put myself on my own schedule. Tuesday nights, Saturday and Sunday afternoons blocked off to be at the shelter. Volunteers are not required to a set schedule but I like it this way. I logged over 750 volunteer hours in 2012.

Are you involved in anything for PHSGA beyond the shelter?

Yes!!! I help with the rummage sales PHSGA has 4 times a year. This is a huge money maker for the shelter and I work both sale days each sale.

I’m at Bark in the Park each year with my fellow day job employees from the Montrose Auto Group as part of a team that raises funds to honor the memory of a much loved and missed employee, Krissy Foreman.

For the past two years a few of us volunteers (including RMO’s Kristen and Dave Summers) have been involved with a new kind of fundraiser, Furrever in Blue Jeans. It’s a casual evening of dinner, silent auction items, music and games. It has been great for us to find a new way of fundraising for PHSGA that is held each spring.

Raising money for PHSGA at FurrEver in Blue Jeans (Kathy, on left, with Terri)

I help in the selection, paperwork, and transport of our felines that are housed in two cages at Petsmart Macedonia. This is a great opportunity for our feline residents to potentially find homes from a venue outside the shelter. We have had great success with this venture. Some of the felines have been adopted within 24 hours of their arrival. We are so thankful for this connection with Petsmart Macedonia for having these cages offered to us.

Need to pick up donations from somewhere? I’m there if it will fit in my SUV. There is always some way to help just by asking, how can I help?

Do you have a favorite cat right now?

Yes!!! Casino. He lost part of his tail and has such a cute stub of one now. He’s a young adult male non-descript black cat with a huge personality. He talks and chirps to you. He loves other cats, dogs and humans. He’s purrfect in every way. You have to check him out!

Do you ever play with the dogs?

I grew up with cats and have never owned a dog but love them just the same. I have taken the dog walking class but find myself more comfortable with the felines. In the shelter environment I really enjoy hanging out with fellow volunteers who have a dog out of its cage and are chilling on a bench with it. I did start my volunteer experience as a dog walker. My first love was canine Cody. I walked him for hours when I was there at the old shelter.

You volunteered at the old facility. What was that like?

The Quick Road facility was so old and something was always breaking. We were limited to making repairs because we were renters and this was a 100 year old historic barn that the dogs lived in. We were always cramped for space and always doing makeshift things. There was also a special feeling of labor of love there as we all dealt with what the next day would bring. Somehow and some way residents continued to find their homes. I remember one Valentine’s adoption weekend that helped 78 felines find homes in one month there. Folks were standing in front of cages to claim their feline. The old shelter really had nothing but heart, and dedicated staff and volunteers.

I miss the great trails that we could walk the dogs endlessly in the park system but otherwise, I’m so happy we moved! I’m mostly happy for the canines who now are housed in great, spacious cages.

What keeps you coming back to the shelter?

My drive for how can I help. I feel so very rewarded by being part of the team of great folks who makes a difference each and every day for our residents. The animals can’t express a thank you the way humans can but I feel the rewards from a feline purr or lean from a dog into your leg telling you thank you in their own way. Saying hi and catching up with a fellow volunteer who I consider a friend now. Helping in the process of the residents finding their forever home? How could I not come back?
Thank you Kathy! For more information about Pawsibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron, please visit their website at www.summithumane.org.

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