Hand petting tabby cat

April Volunteer of the Month: Barbara

Adopting a new furry family member can be a daunting task that comes with a lot of questions, and SAFe relies on wonderful front desk volunteers to provide the support and care community members may need. This front-facing volunteer position goes beyond basic cashiering duties; it requires a lot of background knowledge, empathy and understanding, and the ability to support an entire community and their unique and varying needs. 

This month, we are proud to announce that Barbara is the SAFe April Volunteer of the Month! Barbara has been volunteering at the rescue since May of 2021 and assisted greatly with the transition from virtual to in person adoptions that has taken place over the last year. Barbara has gone above and beyond with assisting the public and answering questions ranging from basic adoption information, to supporting the loss of a feline family member, to offering information about other resources in the Shoreline and Seattle area. In her words, Barbara’s favorite part of her position with SAFe is “Getting to be the first and last point of contact when an excited person comes in and leaves even more excited with their new feline friend!” as well as “Giving just a little bit of my time to help a cause so much bigger than myself!” 

Barbara has helped many families meet new furry friends!

Barbara has been in, and supported, the Seattle area for the last 20 years. She not only helps homeless cats, she also assists Seattleites facing housing and food insecurity. “I first came to know of SAFe because of the free pet pantry. I work with homeless people who have pets, and when I was showing one of them where to get free cat food, I saw that you guys needed volunteers so I decided to apply. Also, SAFe is very close to where I live which makes it even easier! My first impression was through the free pet pantry, so I found the rescue to be such a wonderful resource, especially for those with very little resources.” 

While she has seen her fair share of challenges while helping the community, Barbara says the most difficult part of her position at SAFe is: “When I have people come in off the street along with people who are on the waitlist and then the phone rings!” SAFe always aims to maximize our life-saving ability and sometimes that leads to a very busy and life saving volunteer shift! The challenges always come hand in hand with the best parts of volunteering, though. In Barbara’s words, her best memory of SAFe was “That one day when we adopted out every single cat and kitten, and I was like ‘Oh no, we need more!’ Then, at the end of that day, a whole slew of new ones were getting loaded in through the back door! Purrrfect!”

Volunteering at SAFe comes with a lot of information and the occasional surprises, but those two factors can be the most positive parts about working within the Rescue! Barbara found through her volunteer experiences that she was surprised “How nice and welcoming everyone is for a total feline rescue newbie! Everyone here welcomed me and made me feel like I was in the exact right place!” Barbara also learned a lot of new information including “That my way of introducing 2 new cats was exactly the wrong way! (No wonder my attempts to introduce cats went so poorly!)” and that “A cat with no eyes can still be very aware of everything around them, knowing how to jump up on a shelf they can’t even see!”

To stay healthy and happy, Barabara says that “In the course of helping homeless people, I end up riding around on my bike a lot, which I totally love doing” and is staying excited about “My next shift at SAFe! I love seeing what new cats and kittens we have!” If Barbara were to give advice to anyone considering volunteering, she says “Every position here helps a lot. You won’t start out at the top or doing the adoptions, but your efforts matter just as much and are just as much appreciated!”

SAFe is so grateful for all of the hard work Barbara has done on behalf of the kitties and on behalf of the community. We look forward to another spring together to save more cats!

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