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!”

Volunteer Spotlight on Tina Starks

Volunteer Spotlight on Tina Starks

Like almost every kid at the Recycled Arts Festival, Tina Starks saw the booth with cats and immediately dragged my parents over so I could see. When her father made it clear that none of those cats were going to come home with Tina’s family, she did the next best thing: sign up to be a volunteer. So, at the age of thirteen, Tina began her journey with Furry Friends.

Cats in need of a Vet Tech

Cats in need of a Vet Tech

Crazy about cats? Not enough hair on your clothes already? If you are a veterinary technician wanting to give back to your community, then Furry Friends would like to talk to you. The cats, kittens and good folks at Furry Friends are looking for a qualified volunteer veterinary technician to help with the medical duties.

In the spotlight: Abi Harrington

In the spotlight: Abi Harrington

Abi has been volunteering with Furry Friends since October of 2018. She jumped in with both feet and we are amazed at all she does for the kitties. She has a heart of gold. When you email us at the information@furryfriendswa.org email address, she is the one on the other end receiving it. We treasure this girl and are so happy that she is with us. Here is what Abi has to say about herself.

Furry Friends Fur-Ever Tail: Milk and Cookies and Summer Turpin

Furry Friends Fur-Ever Tail: Milk and Cookies and Summer Turpin

“I had four other cats in the past,” explains Summer, “but Milk and Cookies are my only kitties now. “How could I change such cute names when Milk and Cookies suit them so perfectly? “I chose them for several reasons. It was important to me that they’re sisters since I sometimes work 16 or 18 hours a day. Then, when I met them, they seemed so friendly and so cuddly that I simply couldn’t resist them.

FURRY FRIENDS’ FAVORITE FELINES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

FURRY FRIENDS’ FAVORITE FELINES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Familiar with the old axiom: never judge a book by its cover? The same holds true for cats deemed less desirable than other cats. These less than “purr-fect” kitties may have medical conditions, physical limitations or behavioral issues but we at Furry Friends believe that cats with special needs deserve special owners who are dedicated to both loving them and providing them with the care and support they deserve.

Furry Friends Fur-Ever Tail: Franky and Jordan McEntaffer

Furry Friends Fur-Ever Tail: Franky and Jordan McEntaffer

“Franky (short for Frankenstein) is the first cat I’ve had on my own,” says Jordan. “I grew up with cats — as many as four at once — and while I called one of them mine, when I left for college, they all became my mom’s cats. “I may jokingly call myself a cat lady, but it’s true. I even tried unsuccessfully to talk my college roommates into allowing a cat, then resigned myself to waiting until I graduated to get one.

Furry Friends Fur-Ever: Jasper and the Emerts

Furry Friends Fur-Ever: Jasper and the Emerts

“Jasper, formerly Rascal (we wanted a name with a similar sound), is the most recent in a long line of kitties in our lives,” Mary says. “My kitty soul mate, Kisa,
passed away a few years ago. She was a beautiful Russian Blue, and my husband, Eric, also had gray cats he’d loved in the past. So when we saw Jasper at PetSmart and he immediately started purring and rubbing on the glass, we knew that he was the one.

Micro-chipping: Turning Lost into Found

Micro-chipping: Turning Lost into Found

Furry Friends offers low cost micro-chipping at their Esther Short Park events in Vancouver, WA. Visit their booth at the Recycled Arts Festival in June and the Peace and Justice Fair in September. The cost for micro-chipping your cat or dog through Furry Friends is only $20 (a $60 value). Millions of pets go missing each year. Unfortunately, very few of them are ever reunited with their owners. Many of them become and remain strays. Others are taken to pounds or shelters, where they are all too often, euthanized. The luckier ones are saved by rescue organizations and ultimately placed in adoptive homes.

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.