When Lyla and her husband moved to Vancouver, she longed to become part of the community, and began volunteering for us in March 2022.

Because of her husband’s severe cat allergies, they have no cats of their own, and volunteering felt like a way for Lyla to be around them, which she missed. It was also a way of getting to know fellow cat lovers and to spend her time giving back in a positive and beneficial way.

She has worked the same shift once a week since she started and despite a few volunteers coming and going, several of them have been there the entire time. They’re very chatty and love talking to one another and spending the evening together. As is so common among volunteers, Lyla’s biggest challenge is not being able to take home every fluffy cat she falls in love with.

Seeing a cat in the med room one week, sick, skittish or scared, and then a few weeks later, seeing them healthy, playful and purring in her lap is her favorite part of volunteering. To know that they’re off the street, well fed and warm, and that they’re going to make a great companion for someone, is a wonderful feeling.

Outside of Furry Friends, Lyla does public relations for an Internet infrastructure company based in San Francisco. And because she loves the outdoors and nature, she cares deeply about protecting natural spaces, leaving places better than when we found them, and doing as much as we can to limit climate change before we reach a tipping point. She also wants Vancouver to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone, where everyone is valued and has a roof over their head.

While she doesn’t currently volunteer for other organizations, she was, in previous years, a board member of a peace-building organization to engage with and foster a deeper understanding of Muslims and Islam. She also mentored disadvantaged high school students through their internships at tech companies and their college application process.

Although she laughingly boasts that her hidden talent is the ability to untangle ANY necklace, her passions include taking long walks while listening to podcasts, hiking, camping, backpacking and rock climbing almost every weekend. She also loves reading (she’s part of a local book club) and doing puzzles and playing board games in the winter.


Furry Friends Volunteer Spotlights are compiled and written by Nomi Berger who is the bestselling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry, and hundreds of articles. She is a volunteer writer for Furry Friends in Vancouver, WA and also volunteers her writing skills to animal rescue groups in Canada and the USA.

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.