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Volunteer's Profiles Update

05 March 2013

Here's the lowdown on some of our volunteers:

Fiona, Branch Coordinator and Fosterer
Fiona has been involved with Cats Protection for 20 years, firstly as a Fosterer and then for the past 14 years also as Branch Coordinator.
Why does she do it? “So many people out there don’t care about cats. Some people can even be extremely cruel to them. Cats need people to champion their cause and help make a difference in their lives.
Cats Protection focus on stray and unwanted cats, and it’s especially rewarding when, years later, you hear how well a cat is doing , still in its new home.
It can be stressful at times when you hear of cruelty to cats, or that one of the cats we have homed has been killed on the road, or when you get calls at all  hours from the public, but the rewards outweigh these difficult times a  hundredfold. One of the best bits for me is seeing a frail, sickly or neglected cat blossom and bloom into a beautiful feline. Recently we’ve had many older cats coming into care, especially when owners themselves become too frail to look after them or move into a Care Home, and these older cats can also enjoy many more years of love and comfort in new surroundings. Cats deserve this second chance.”

Lucy, Neutering Officer
Lucy has recently taken over as Neutering Officer. For a long time now Lucy has been helping Fiona with the trapping and neutering of the feral cats we look after in the area. Neutering is possibly the most important step taken when you take on a cat. If your cat comes from a branch of Cats Protection it will always have been neutered already. But if you obtain your cat from another source, and provided it's not a cat that you're going to breed from, neutering should be the first thing you have done together with a health check, and chipping. All cats need these three vital steps before they venture out into the world.
If you are on benefits and cannot meet the cost of neutering your pet, you should contact Fiona who will pass your request on to Lucy so that the necessary vouchers can be issued.
Lucy is also the main organiser of our annual Cat Show in Dumfries. It takes a real organisational whirlwind to handle this job and Lucy makes a success of it year in year out. If you don't believe me - come along and see in September! 

Allan, Website Administrator 
I took over from Ann when she retired. It’s quite a challenge following someone like Ann who was so well versed and committed to the job. But I think I’m getting the hang of it!
We have had our own cats for years. Our first cat came to live with us from a neighbour across the road. She first started visiting because we got home from work first so she had her dinner earlier at our house! When her family moved away Cleo was getting quite old and they asked us to look after her so she came to live with us permanently. All our cats since then have been rescue cats. We currently have two; Simba and Paws. My wife, Diane, was the first of us to volunteer for Cats Protection after we moved to this area in 2006. She first worked in the shop and then we got a pen and started fostering. Before taking on the website I helped Diane with fostering cats who are waiting for new homes. It’s a real joy to see a cat, who comes in as just a nervous little bundle in the corner, come out of his shell and gain the confidence to jump up on your knee. And, although it can be a wrench when they leave, it’s really great to finally get a cat settled in a loving and permanent new home.
My other volunteering role is helping out at The Food Train, where I regularly go shopping and other times go delivering the groceries to the seniors and less-able in the community. Food Train Extra is another scheme I sometimes help out with. We do the little jobs around the house that less-able people find hard to do.

Could You be a Volunteer?
What does it take to be a volunteer?  How about some of the following:
A love of cats
An interest in Cats Protection
A bit of free time
A wish to do something useful.

The great thing about the Branch is that there are lots of varied volunteer jobs, so there will probably be one to suit you. Maybe it’s helping at one of our fundraising events. That’s interesting and fun too, and you meet lots of cat lovers who never give it a miss.
Or you may prefer writing. Maybe you could send us a good kitty story, an interesting article or a few jokes (clean ones only please!) for the website or the newsletter.
If you have a flair for photography, and a digital camera, could you take pictures of the cats in care so we can add these to the website?
And if it’s mainly the cats you love, then why not become a Fosterer and help us look after the cats in our care? You get help and support and all you need is a bit of time, a love of cats, and  a space in your garden (about 4 metres by 1 metre or 12 feet by 3 feet in old money) where a catpen can be erected.
Then there’s always table tops, raffles and tombolas where again helpers are needed. This list is not exhaustive, but it can be exhausting if too few are trying to do too many jobs, so please, give it some thought. You won’t regret it.
Contact Fiona on 01387 710083 if you would like to do some volunteering involving fostering and the cats. She's looking forward to hearing from you!