What’s your story? Why did you first get involved with ACR?
I kept seeing a stray cat hanging around an abandoned building on Mill St. My husband and I wanted to help this cat and we started feeding her daily (we noticed others were too), so I put up a sign to find out how we could together help her. My neighbour responded and put us in touch with Annex Cat Rescue. A volunteer named Marianne came to teach us about trapping and to help. After over a year of trying to trap her (and trapping her companion, Sam), we were successful and Sophie and Sal were relocated to an equestrian barn, where they live comfortably.
How are you helping now? What volunteer position are you filling? What does your work involve?
I led our communications efforts before moving to New Zealand, which meant “hiring” and working closely with a lot of talented people to produce our monthly newsletter, blog, social media sites and our Annual Highlights.
I was also serving as secretary and then vice-chair of the Board, where I had the privilege of contributing to strategic decisions about how we could help more cats in need. Some of the most rewarding work I was helping with was as a liaison for our east end colonies. There are lots of challenges for cats in the city and the east end is no exception. I was inspired daily by the dedication of our colony coordinators and feral feeders who are there for cats everyday, no matter the weather.
Describe a real winning moment for you as an ACR volunteer.
Before the move, my husband and I recovered and fostered a few cats – Sophie, James, Pete and Jinxie, Harvey and Holly. A really winning moment was hearing that wonderful people decided to open their hearts and their homes to them. These beautiful cats enriched our lives and I was so thrilled to be able to provide a temporary refuge for them.
Why do you think people should volunteer with ACR?
We all live busy lives and volunteering can seem like another thing “to do”, but volunteering with Annex Cat Rescue really enriched my life. Because the work is so hands on and grassroots, I truly felt that I was helping cats and making a difference in their lives.
I also had the opportunity to explore some real professional development opportunities by expanding my own skills in communications to benefit the organization. Annex Cat Rescue is a community of dedicated people and knowing and working with these beautiful, supportive individuals was so inspirational.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing that ACR does?
Different organizations helping animals each offer something different. Annex Cat Rescue fills a very important niche in Toronto by being one of the few charities that work at a grassroots level. Annex Cat Rescue does this by supporting feral cat communities through daily feeding and providing veterinary care, when needed. Tame/friendly cats are rescued and brought into our adoption program. This is a really needed service because so many cats find themselves lost or abandoned by previous owners.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering with ACR? What’s your “real” job?
I used to work in communications as an in-house senior advisor for a few government agencies working in health. I loved the idea of helping people improve their health and the health care they received.
Besides rescuing cats, what are some of your other hobbies?
I love reading (and not just about cats!), travelling to exotic places (recently I visited Japan), cooking delicious vegan food (and eating it!) and spending time with my loved ones (including my gorgeous calico, Bonnie Princess Cat).
Do you live with any ACR cats at the moment? Who and what is their back story?
I don’t have any Annex Cat Rescue Cats at the moment.
What cat do you dedicate your volunteer work to and why?
I dedicate my volunteer work to all animals living in situations where they are not happy or free (whether that’s a lost cat on the street, or a cow, chicken, pig living in horrific conditions on factory farms).
There’s so much we can do to change the world for animals – it’s as easy as what you put on your plate and how you decide to spend your free time. Anyone can be a hero for animals!