Volunteer Opportunities Available!
The mission of Animal DREAMS, trapping, neutering and returning cats who live outside (TNR), gets to the core of the cat problem; there are too many of them, and the least fortunate of them find themselves living life on the streets in an endless cycle of reproduction. For an outside cat, it’s hard enough just surviving. But intact males are destined to battle with other males over territory, and they sustain many injuries as a result. Females find themselves pregnant as many as three times a year, which is a great challenge to their health and wellbeing. Kittens born outside with no human contact will live their lives afraid of humans but reliant on the kindness of people to feed them without expectation of affection in return.
TNR is a mission that our small, core group of Animal DREAMS volunteers find fulfilling enough to stick with despite the challenges. It’s not easy to trap feral cats, and they certainly don’t seem to appreciate it when we do! But hearing the colony caretakers tell us what a difference TNR makes in the lives of the cats is a great reward. If this mission calls to you, maybe you’d like to consider joining our volunteer force.
First, I should say that it takes a certain kind of person to plug into this work. Although we are in regular email or phone communication, almost all of us do our volunteer duties without seeing each other! So unless you and a friend decide to volunteer as a pair, this volunteer work won’t give you the comradery that other organizations may offer. And when we receive an assignment, it’s up to us to carry it out; there isn’t someone there to remind us. So being reliable and a self-starter is key. That said, for a person who is responsible, enjoys autonomy and likes to serve without a great deal of social interaction, it’s a great way to make a difference. And at least once a year, we participate in the fabulous volunteer recognition party hosted by Berkshire Humane Society, who has welcomed us under their wing as a “partner” organization.
Our work is straightforward. We:
- Trap cats, and coach cat caretakers to assist with trapping projects
- Take care of cats in our “Catty Shack” as they await their vet appointment
- Transport them to and from their vet appointment
- Return the cats to their caretakers
- Assist with low cost spay and neuter program for owned cats when funding allows
- Maintain a food pantry for feral cats; solicit for food donations, store the food, give it to caretakers
- Keep the Catty Shack and our traps clean
- Initiate small fundraising projects to pay for vet appointments
One of our volunteers, Pat Welsh, feels that volunteering at Animal DREAMS is a good fit for her. Here’s why.
“My favorite part of volunteering for Animal DREAMS is getting up early on a summer morning with a worthwhile purpose and setting off on an always-interesting expedition. Barns, front porches, and backyards are all places where kind and caring people take care of their neighborhood cats, and where we meet to go over the trapping process. No two trappings are alike, and there are a variety of tasks between trapping and returning, so the work never gets boring. Of course, the best part is returning the cat after their vet visit and high-fiving the caretaker, knowing we ‘did good’, often having some good laughs in the process. This is what adventure is all about.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteer opportunities, call 413-997-2287.