Meet Our Volunteer of the Month for August: Sylvia D.!

“I believe all stray and feral cats deserve a good and happy life. But the harsh truth is that ferals often do not survive long. For kittens born in the wild it is imperative that they be socialized with people so that they can be adopted. I hope in some small way I can help them achieve this.”

Like so many northerners, in 2015, Sylvia made the big move from New York to Florida. And it wasn’t long before she became part of our volunteer family. “As a young girl growing up on Long Island, we always had a cat or a dog as pets. It taught me responsibility, caring and compassion. As I was raising a family of my own I continued to have pets in the home so that my daughter would develop a love of animals just like I did.”

It’s easy to assume that all animal welfare advocates are pet parents themselves. Of course, many of them are. However, just as often, our volunteers are folks who, for one reason or another, do not have pets of their own at home. So, pitching in at our shelter, doing the work needed to make the lives of our feline and canine charges as happy as can be, is a welcome outlet. “Because my husband and I like to travel, I currently do not have pets of my own.”

Fostering kittens and spending time with the cats at our Catty Shack has given Sylvia an opportunity to provide some much-needed adoration to some in-need felines. “Even though I’m only a temporary mommy to these kittens and cats I certainly love them like they were my own.”

One of Sylvia’s most memorable experiences involved taking care of a sweet foster kitten. The odds were against him, but Sylvia’s love and determination to bring him around made all the difference. “Just about everyone thought he would not survive. He had serious respiratory infections, had no interest in eating, was rapidly losing weight and was not responding to his medications.”

Sylvia bottle fed him for two days. Then she put some of the formula on his food and fed him by hand, taking care to cleverly hide his meds in food. That trick worked like magic. “Thankfully, when he started to eat, he didn’t stop and he started to gain weight. Each day he grew stronger and eventually went on to be adopted into a wonderful forever home.”

For Sylvia, the experience was nothing short of personally validating. “I feel proud when my fosters are adopted by a loving forever family. Knowing that, in some small way, I taught this kitten to trust people and how to give and receive love from them.”

And that’s what volunteering at our HS/SPCA is all about. Tiny steps that lead down the path to marvelous long-term happiness. “It will put a HUGE smile on your face,” Sylvia explains of joining our team. “You will make lots of new friends, both 2 and 4 legged ones. And you will always come home with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.”

That being said, we thank Sylvia for her commitment to the two legged and four legged members of our HS/SPCA family. We couldn’t achieve any of these incredible rescues without the dedication of volunteers like Sylvia!