Furry Friends Spotlight on Malinda Goldbeck

Furry Friends Spotlight on Malinda Goldbeck

In the Furry Friends world, Malinda Goldbeck is known by most every volunteer. Why? She’s the name in your email inbox sending you everything you need to know about your Halfway House shift. Not to mention she is probably the one who assigned your volunteer shift! Furry Friends is very lucky to have Malinda as its Volunteer Coordinator these past three years.

Milkshakes story and how she brought the community to the yard

Milkshakes story and how she brought the community to the yard

Milkshake was a stray girl who found her way to a loving community member. Right away she knew that the cat needed help as she was very pregnant. She took her into her home and kept her well fed and comfortable while she contacted local rescues. She got in contact with Jenn at Furry Friends and we just knew we had to take this girl in. It was a time deemed as “kitten season” so Furry Friends had many requests to take in pregnant mama’s. Fortunately we had just acquired several new fosters and we decided that Milkshake (named while with Furry Friends) would go to new foster mama Danielle.

Furry Friends Spotlight on Karen Laksamana

Furry Friends Spotlight on Karen Laksamana

Karen Laksamana is one of our volunteers that works behind the scene. She has been involved with Furry Friends since about 2008. She designs our yearly print newsletter and she works on the fall auction fundraiser committee every year and volunteers at the event along with her mom Cherry Berry taking care of the data input. We asked Karen a few questions, here are her answers.

Furry Friends Spotlight on Ruby Deal

Furry Friends Spotlight on Ruby Deal

Ruby Deal is one of Furry Friends newer socilaizers. She has been volunteering for the last 5 months. As a socializer her tasks include not only petting cats (although that is a perk!) but to give extra attention to the kitties who come in scared, abused, depressed/lonely, or a little feisty. 

Furry Friends Spotlight on Nichole White

Furry Friends Spotlight on Nichole White

Nichole is the shift leader for our Monday evening cleaning & care shift. When asked what she does during her shift, she said “When I come in and before I leave I do a full inventory of the cats at the shelter. I am always spending time with the kitties that need special attention. I pay close attention if they are eating and using the bathroom properly. I rely heavily on my team to tell me if they notice anything out of the ordinary and then make notes about it and pass the information along to the proper people. I clean and organize a lot at the halfway house. I make sure everything that needs to be done is done before leaving. I am also available most of the time if I am needed to come in and help.”

Furry Friends Spotlight on Paris Woods

Furry Friends Spotlight on Paris Woods

Paris Woods is one of our Furry Friends medical team volunteers who has been volunteering every Sunday since Sept 2020. She also likes to come in and socialize with the cats that need some extra attention. 

When asked what her favorite part of volunteering was she said it’s seeing all the kittens when they come in for their medical checks. So many cute kittens!

Volunteer Spotlight on Mike and Tanika Campbell

Volunteer Spotlight on Mike and Tanika Campbell

Mike and Tanika Campbell started with Furry Friends in 2012 by starting a food collection/donation at their work. This led into volunteering to be socializers and enrolling their lab in the pet assisted living therapy program. When Furry Friends made its big move into the current location they assisted with the tear down of everything, moving to the new place, yard work, and random handy work around the Halfway House. They also helped with in person events and kept four feral cat colonies fed over the years. Currently they are fosters for our medically needy adult cats, pregnant moms, & kittens. They are very good at coaxing cats out of their shells and getting them to trust people.

Furry Friends Spotlight on Lisa Baxter

Furry Friends Spotlight on Lisa Baxter

Lisa Baxter has handled the procurement for our annual fall auction for at least nine years now. It is a year round job. She often puts in close to 400 hours a year handling this big important job for Furry Friends. Here is a little about Lisa in her own words.

“How I got involved: My son needed a senior project for high school.  One of the staff members in the school office, mentioned Furry Friends. That began in May of 2010 and he still volunteers today, when he has time available. That was my introduction to Furry Friends.  I was intrigued by the dedication and caring of the volunteers and wanted to help. This is my forth year on the Dinner Auction Committee.

A Blessing in Disguise: Furry Friends and Second Chances

A Blessing in Disguise: Furry Friends and Second Chances

Before getting laid off from her design job in 2014, Stevens had often thought of what she would do when she reached retirement. “I knew I wanted to do animal welfare and my passion lies with cats and horses,” she says.

At 60-years-old, Stevens got a fresh start at Furry Friends, a no-kill, non-profit cat rescue organization that rehabilitates homeless and abused felines in Vancouver, Wash.

Volunteer Spotlight on Katherine Tucker

Volunteer Spotlight on Katherine Tucker

“Growing up, our family had dogs while most of our cousins had cats, and as a result, my sister and I loved ALL animals,” Katherine says. “When we moved to Texas, not only did my sister and I have horses, but so did both of my nieces. My youngest niece did dressage and boarded her horse at the stable that trained the two of them.

Volunteer Spotlight: Stacie Nakashima

Volunteer Spotlight: Stacie Nakashima

Today, we bring you another story chronicling a wonderful Furry Friends volunteer. Meet Stacie Nakashima, a person’s whose passion in life is to care for others, regardless of whether they have paws or opposable thumbs. Stacie first learned about Furry Friends through an article in the Columbian showcasing the organization. She was already interested in finding new volunteer opportunities to give back to her community, so the article’s mention of our constant need for new volunteers was great timing.

A Cats Perspective when coming into Furry Friends

A Cats Perspective when coming into Furry Friends

A nice lady is taking me out of the carrier and I don’t know what she is looking for but she is looking EVERYWHERE! My ears, eyes, teeth, skin, and even my umm… well you get the picture. She wants me to take this medicine, it’s a pill. I think I heard her mention something about worms. That’s quite the assumption but I guess if it makes them feel better I will take it.

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Nash

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Nash

Chris Nash has been volunteering in some capacity with Furry friends for the last 10 years! She and her wife, Jean, started out as kitten fosters after being introduced to Furry friends by their neighbor, Kathy Pierce (another FF foster). After three foster fails (adopting their fosters) they realized that wasn’t their calling.

Volunteer Spotlight: Sal and Ku’uipo Alcaraz

Volunteer Spotlight: Sal and Ku’uipo Alcaraz

Sylvester (Sal) Alcaraz and his wife Ku’uipo have been volunteering with Furry friends for over two and a half years together on our Friday night shift at the shelter. While Sal originally started volunteering as a community service project it turned into a passion and he really shined quickly becoming the shift leader for his team. He always has wonderful things to say about the people he volunteers alongside.
Sal and Ku’uipo are continually looking for new ways to help Furry friends and are up for any challenge.

Spotlight on Tricia and Sara

Spotlight on Tricia and Sara

We have a great medical team at Furry Friends and we appreciate all that they do for the cats in our care. Tricia Jones and Sara Thomson have both been volunteering with us for the last six months after responding to posts on social media looking for vet techs/assistants. They have dedicated almost every Sunday to the welfare of our current cats and cats coming into our care. 

Furry Friends kitty Linus is making progress

Furry Friends kitty Linus is making progress

Linus came to Furry Friends with his sister Trixie back in November, 2020. He was very skinny with a decreased appetite. Our veterinarians at Columbia River Veterinary Services examined him and recommended that he have a feeding tube since his liver seemed to be rapidly shutting down due to him not wanting to eat. When cats do not eat they can do serious damage inside their little bodies. Linus was diagnosed with feline hepatic lipidosis. When he stopped eating it forced his liver to convert his body fat into usable energy making fat build up in the cells of his liver. 

Monnie’s Journey

Monnie’s Journey

Feline stomatitis or Feline Chronic Gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is a rare condition affecting approximately 0.7-4% of cats. It is a chronic and very painful mouth tissue condition where the tissues/gums surrounding the teeth are very inflamed. The gums are usually bright red and bleed easily. Chewing and eating becomes a very painful experience for our feline friends. Cats that have this often lose weight, have bad breath, bleed & drool, and paw at their mouths. Currently it is not known what causes some cats to get FCGS but it is an over-reaction response by the immune system to bacteria in a cats mouth.
One cat that Furry Friends currently has in our care is Monnie and he has FCGS.

Medical Director/Veterinarian Assistant Wanted

Medical Director/Veterinarian Assistant Wanted

After 21 years of operation, Furry Friends is ready to hire our first ever paid employee. The position will be a paid part-time Lead Vet Tech position. Please message information@furryfriendswa.org if interested.
Furry Friends Cat Shelter in Vancouver WA is looking for a self-motivated Medical Director skilled in managing a diverse team of medical volunteers and capable of providing high-quality medical care.  He or she must demonstrate an aptitude in shelter/clinical medicine.  The Medical Director will act as a lead shelter Veterinarian Technician and provide oversight to shelter medical operations and medical volunteers as well as establishing relationships within the veterinary community.  This is a paid position and reports to the Furry Friends Board of Directors.

Spotlight on Jenn Hutchman, Furry Friends Volunteer

Spotlight on Jenn Hutchman, Furry Friends Volunteer

Following the pattern of many Furry Friends volunteers, Jennifer, or Jenn Hutchman does a lot. Both inside and outside of Furry Friends, she keeps very busy. Yet, despite being an independent consultant for the marketing company Scentsy and running an online auction, she gives about thirty hours a week to Furry Friends. Its twenty-four hours a day, of course, when she is fostering kittens. No matter how busy she is, however, she steps into the Halfway House ready to chat and a smile to give.

Colleen Finley-Furry Friends Volunteer Extraordinaire

Colleen Finley-Furry Friends Volunteer Extraordinaire

By Tina Starks

Colleen Figley is one of the best volunteers to share a shift with (In my biased opinion, being the one who volunteers with her on Sunday!). You can always count on her to give a lively air to the house and to laugh at your jokes or puns, however terrible they may be. Colleen is very often the first one in and the last one out on morning shift, busily cleaning the med room of all the stink and litter that its inhabitants have tossed onto the floor for about two hours.

Colleen first started volunteering five years ago. Upon hearing about Furry Friends from a neighbor, she promptly signed up and has volunteering with the Sunday morning Halfway House shift ever since. Her main task is to deep clean the med room. “To me, that should be the cleanest room in the house,” she explained. Considering its state when she leaves, it is indeed the most spick-and-span spot in the house. She tackles it with brooms, steam mops, and spray, scrubbing at pee that somehow ended up on the wall and rolling aside cages to find the weekly stash of toys that have fallen behind them. However, she is equally as aware of the kitties within as she is of the hair-bunnies and tumble-furs. She explains that the hardest part is to get the room really clean without freaking out cats who are already very frightened. “You’re already going in their space to sweep and scoop,” she points out. “Sometimes moving cages and running a noisy steam mop isn’t the kindest thing”. On those days, Colleen just cleans their “house” and stick to the perimeter for the rest of the room. The intakes certainly appreciate it! Colleen has also subbed on many other shifts and has “pretty much done all the different tasks.” She has can also add helping with the annual fund raiser and fairs to her Furry Friends resume.

Considering some of the gross stuff that Colleen has to clean up, she’s got to have a good reason, which she does, of course. “On the days when you think your life, all you have to do is look around and see how many people, and pets, can use someone to help,” she said. “Even if it’s just a simple thing like listening. It makes me feel more connected to the world”. Furthermore, she derives great satisfaction from being a part of caring for cats waiting for their new families. She tries to take the time to spend a few minutes with every cat, even though it’s never enough. “Some cats can’t ever get enough play time and attention, and it’s so hard when you have to move on!” she explained. Her proudest moments are when one of our “difficult” cats get adopted. Knowing you are part of the team that helped care for them, getting to know what they like and don’t like, and helping them become socialized enough to find their own family is the best feeling. A few examples she gave were Sheena, Charlie, Carlo and Bernie. “I’m just gutted that Bernie came back” Colleen admitted. “But she is better than she was.”

Until recently Colleen had three cats, Alice, Cooper and Dali. Alice and Cooper came from the Oregon Humane Society. Dali was found in some bushes on Fourth Plain. She was only about five weeks old and looked like she had been tossed there. At the beginning of September, a cat showed up in the yard who was very thin and clearly uncared for. They found he was chipped but the owners did not want to be contacted by anyone other than the chip vendor. “We tried everything to find his owners and they were contacted by the chip vendor and by Pet Smart, who inserted the chip, and never got a response” she explained. “We did find he was about seven months old. He has the markings of a Serengeti or Savannah; he’s quite handsome”. She says that bringing him into a house of older cats has been an adventure to say the least. “The first night we locked him on the catio and the next thing we knew he was out on the roof – hence his name, Roofus.” Hence, her three cats have turned to four!

Until recently Colleen worked in corporate governance and legal affairs. The company closed, so the unexpected “retirement” is taking some getting used to since she didn’t feel ready. “But I’m getting the hang of it,” she admitted. Along with Furry Friends, Colleen has been a Camp Fire Leader and a soccer coach, and volunteered for years at Toy & Joy Makers. They’re part of the Portland Fire Bureau, collecting and distributing toys for underprivileged families every Christmas. She loves to garden and I knit. For a time, she was a test knitter for a yarn company and one of her projects was included in one of their magazine advertisements.

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Thank you to Tina Starks for writing this spotlight on one of her co-volunteers. To find out more about becoming a Furry Friends volunteer, please visit our website at www.furryfriendswa.org.

 

Brandi Towner: New Executive Board Member

Brandi Towner: New Executive Board Member

Brandi Towner is the newest member of our Executive Committee. She has taken on the tasks of secretary, adoption councilor and intake liaison. She comes to us with management, accounting and business skills. She works full time as a realtor at Sundin Realty, Inc and wants to donate the rest of her time to help the kitties in our care.

Brandi says, “I have always enjoyed volunteering at various organizations and helping within the community throughout the years. My strong passion to help animals led me to Furry Friends. Now, I not only get to help clients find their dream homes; I also get to find forever homes for all the amazing cats.”

Furry Friends Board of Directors also called Executive Committee

We are very happy to welcome Brandi to our Executive Committee. The board is comprised of select volunteers who oversee the activities of Furry Friends. The members of the board are responsible for governing the organization, approving budgets, approving an organization’s policies and other similar tasks. Board members have an obligation of allegiance, care and duty to Furry Friends. We seek to fulfill our mission statement by providing advice and implementing long-term goals that will assist Furry Friends in planning for the future and creating the vision of what it will become.

 

Volunteer Spotlight on Jaimie Garver

Volunteer Spotlight on Jaimie Garver

Have you met Jaimie Garver? If not, chances are you will if you drop by the Halfway House even occasionally. This powerhouse, despite having only been a volunteer for less than two years, has taken on the demanding position of Furry Friends president. What’s more, she’s not just president, but is currently lead of park events, the grant team, the fundraising team, medical team, and Halfway House coordinator. That’s a mouthful to say and even more to do. So, how did she get to dedicating so many hours a week to Furry Friends?

Volunteer Spotlight on Brooke Peterson

Volunteer Spotlight on Brooke Peterson

Introducing Brooke, the multi-talented, Japanese speaking, cat volunteering college student of the Monday halfway house shift! She has been volunteering since the summer of 2017 when she was debating what type of service to do for her high school’s National Honor Society. “I was most interested in working more with animals,” she said. “I have four cats of my own and feel more comfortable around them. So, a cat shelter seemed like the best fit for me!”

Furry Friends is a nonprofit cat adoption organization. Its mission is to help homeless, relinquished and abused cats by providing spaying and neutering, medical care, and foster shelter for as long as it takes to find their forever home. Copyright © 2013 – 2020 Furry Friends. All rights reserved. Website design and development by Christina Roberts.