This week, I leaped back into the world of volunteering. I’m working with a local animal rescue group, Bay State Animal Cooperative (BSAC) in the greater Boston area.
Springtime is their busy kitten season. Kittens are in demand right now, and BSAC needs some extra hands to help process adoption applications. I volunteered for a training session on processing adoption applications.
BSAC is close to my heart. Why? Because they helped me find my furry boy, Oscar. A few years ago, Oscar was an older stray cat in need of a home. I was looking for an older cat to be a therapy cat for my other furry boy, Mr. Bean. I thought an older cat would be a great fit for Mr. Bean, an adolescent cat whose health had turned for the worse.
My first memory of Oscar was his engaging and watchful eye over the kittens in his adoption den. He lay there quietly as kittens leaped over and around him.
Their kitten playfulness didn’t bother him. Oscar showed a genuine spirit of caring and I knew he would be a good therapy cat for Mr. Bean.
With Oscar around to help, Mr. Bean acted more like a cat for a while. He came out of hiding to enjoy time playing with Oscar. Oscar was patient – he knew that Mr. Bean was sickly.
Oscar tried to comfort Mr. Bean and be attentive. Mr. Bean passed away but Oscar is still a caring and wonderful therapy pet for his human family!
Now it’s my turn to give back to BSAC. The volunteer group met in a lovely conference room in a big apartment complex. The adoption counselor volunteers met with BSAC’s founder, Marcia Motta to learn about processing adoption applications.
The application is easily accessible online. What is not so easy is the vetting process. Our adoption counselor role is to determine the credibility of a potential adopter. People can look great on paper.
But we need to dig deeper. Our job is to ask questions and discover if the adopter can make a good pet parent. We call people, contact references, and review information on potential adopters.
We’ll learn to decipher fact from fiction as we talk to people. For example, if a person is looking for a declawed cat, we need to know if the person ever lived with declawed cats.
These cats tend to pee outside the litter box because the litter hurts their feet. A pet parent should understand this behavior before adopting a declawed cat.
A behavioral problem is the number one reason that people surrender a cat. It’s important that they know what to expect to avoid rehoming (finding a new home) a pet.
Of course, screening is subjective. And sometimes we’ll have to trust a gut feeling about people. Along with intensive screening, adoption includes a meet and greet with the rescue cat.
The interaction at the meeting can reveal hidden clues about a person. Some clues include:
- Being critical of other cats.
- Complaining about a cat’s size, color, and personality.
- Using a harsh voice when talking to the cat.
These actions can make or break the adoption. While we’d love for each cat to find a forever home, we can’t let just anyone adopt a pet. We want to avoid rehoming pets whenever possible.
So I’m happy to help out BSAC and learn more about the adoption sector. The kitten adoption season runs into the summer. And it’s great to work and connect with other animal lovers.
If you are not in my area, use this link to search for all kinds of adoptable critters. Petfinder has a good variety of pets: cats, dogs, rabbits, small and furry, scales, fins and other, birds, horses, and barnyard.
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Pet Mom
“Cats have 32 muscles in each ear, to help them ignore you.”