By Tina Starks
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.
Jenn initially began volunteering with Furry Friends through the park events like the Recycled Arts Festival and the Peace Justice Fair almost two years ago. Of course, it wasn’t long before she got sucked up into the organization and decided to take up a leadership role (Or two or three). “Currently I answer voicemails and emails, schedule intakes, assist with Sunday medicals, assist with intakes & adoptions when needed, & I am a sub for cleaning shifts,” Jenn explains. “I will fill in anywhere that is needed to best help the cats. I also am a bottle baby foster, so I will take the kittens that have been abandoned by their mamas and essentially be their mama for the next 10-12 weeks until they are ready for adoption”. This year, Jenn has successfully fostered 55 kittens. The fostering is one of her biggest challenges. No surprise: it’s hard not to keep those fuzz-balls after having them waddling around your house and doing their best to play with your heart strings. Her other biggest challenge is trying to help however possible.
You can get an idea of who Jenn is by hearing the quotes she appreciates. “I really like this quote by Helen Keller”, she explains. “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Jenn’s quote would be, “We can do so much for one another as a community when we try”. She is trying to do more by enrolling in vet assistant school to help expand her knowledge to help on the medical days. She has also taken a class with a veterinarian to learn small procedures. This is the latest addition to her list of credentials, which include degrees in medical assisting, criminal justice, social services, and relaxation therapy. Jenn is a lifetime learner, gaining new experience through her variety of career and volunteer experiences. Furry Friends certainly provides a lot to learn, as well as fulfilling her love to help the community and cats. “It’s very rewarding to be a part of the process from start to finish,” Jenn explains
Outside of Furry Friends, Jenn has eight cats of her own, two of which were adopted from Furry Friends. She also has three girls: twenty-year old Sammy, thirteen-year-old Lilly, and four-year-old Kennedy. “They’re the lights of my life,” she explains proudly. Her favorite things, besides her girls, are cats, tattoos, and horror and true crime movies, TV shoes, and books. She has also volunteered with the Share House, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Trees, union organizations, the MS society, the American Heart Association, and Meals on Wheels.