There are so many small cat rescues out there — every fairly large town has several of them and big cities have lots — where the main human in charge works very, very hard to make a difference in the lives of the kitties in her community. They are all worthy of our attention, help and donations, but every so often one rescue does so many things right that it stands as an inspiration for anyone who aspires to save cats’ lives. Even though Beth Turner lives thousands of miles away from me, in Ontario, Canada (we do not even live in the same country!), I always look forward to reading her blog, House of the Discarded, to find out who has been saved or adopted through Forever Home Cat Rescue, the organization she runs. Forever Home is new — its official start date is January 3 — but Beth has put her 20 years of cat rescue experience into it and they have already adopted out dozens of kitties. Just recently, Beth had one rescue day where 19 cats were pulled from a kill shelter!
As I mentioned, Forever Home Cat Rescue does a lot of things right. I’ll list some of them here — anyone who wants to be in cat rescue, or who wants to improve the work they are already doing should take note:
- Beth does not go it alone. There is no way she could do all that she does without having volunteer help and a large group of foster homes to rely on. I wish I could impart her talent for finding good fosters — she seems to have a natural instinct for locating these humans! I think part of it is that she inspires them with the upbeat, can-do attitude that comes through in her blog.
- The rescue is very organized. How can I tell when I am a cat in California and she is a cat rescuer in Canada? Easy. It’s in the way she blogs about things like administration, the fact that she is able to coordinate all her foster humans, screen adopters for the kitties, and how she put together this rescue so quickly. Although Forever Home Cat Rescue only started up a few months ago, it is already a Canadian Registered Charity, so clearly she is not afraid of paperwork! Beth knows that a lot goes into cat rescue that does not directly involve saving cats, but does impact her ability to rescue them. So she tries to keep it all in order.
- She takes time off. Beth is a wife and the mother of grown children, and she makes sure she has time for her family. Rescue can take over your whole life, but there’s a danger in that: you lose the perspective that’s so important to have when you are making life-and-death decisions. Having rescue be your life can overwhelm you with stress. I think Beth instinctively realizes that the fuller her life is, the better she is as a rescuer.
- She uses social networking without going overboard with it. She is a local rescue that adopts locally, so she does not need to be Tweeting every few minutes or making hourly announcements on Facebook. Yes, Forever Home has a Facebook page. Yes, Beth blogs. But she is not obsessive about either. When she has news or something to say, she updates them. There are times when less is more, and Beth’s updates are about right for a rescue her size.
- Her blog is awesome. House of the Discarded has been around longer than Forever Home Cat Rescue. In fact, longtime readers got to watch her build the rescue from scratch. Beth’s blog is great for a bunch of different reasons, but the main one is that she is a wonderful storyteller with an engaging voice. She’s passionate and upbeat. She’s realistic in that she shares her failures and problems with us, but she doesn’t make a big deal out of them. She does make a big deal out of rescue days, which is why readers like me keep coming back to her blog. She often has a video to share with us, like the one below.
Forever Home Cat Rescue is a shining example of what a cat rescue can, and should be, which is why I have devoted today’s Blog the Change post to it. I wish all homeless kitties were fortunate enough to have a rescue like that in their town — then maybe there would be a whole lot less homeless kitties!