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!” Now she spends a couple hours each week at the halfway house cleaning as well as checking on food/water in the rooms. She has also been one of the brave souls who risk the wrath of a cat uninterested in taking their mouthful of Clavamox meds or applying eye drops. While she doesn’t necessarily find her tasks challenging, Brooke says that “it’s tough seeing cats get returned that have really sweet personalities but didn’t mesh well with their new owners”. Despite the inevitable sad moments we experience at the House, however, we all have something that brings us back week after week to these kitties. Brooke gives her time and effort because she says that, “Mainly I just love the cats; it feels great to know that the animals you’re helping out will hopefully find homes of their own and people that love them rather than being stuck on the street.” Her favorite part is the other volunteers. She says that she has met great people through Furry Friends. Oh: and of course, the cats!
Outside of Furry Friends, as stated before, Brooke is an office aide and Japanese tutor at Clark College. Essentially, her job as an office aide is to greet students as they come in and get them paired with a tutor. Sometimes, she is the tutor, helping students navigate the intricacies of the Japanese language. She is a student herself at Clark, where classes like Biology have helped her realize an interest in conservation. While learning about a mammal called the Pika and conducting surveying for the Oregon zoo, Brooke recalls “it really opened my eyes to the struggle of local wildlife nearby rather than just endangered animals across the globe.” Outside of school, Brooke has four older cats at home that, she quotes, “loves to death”. She loves art and women’s soccer.
We’ll end with an answer that I’m sure someone has been thinking of. What happened to Bernie, the feisty calico who used to be a halfway house resident? Well, Brooke can help shed light on the situation. It also happens to be her proudest moment as a volunteer. She helped her grandparents adopt a cat. Guess who it was! That’s right: Bernie. “she [Bernie] is a perfect pet for them, particularly with my grandpa,” she explains. “He wasn’t sure about getting a pet, but now she’s his constant companion”. Thank you, Brooke, for not only cleaning up after the cats, but getting one of them a home. May you volunteer for us for many years to come!