Volunteer of the Month – January 2018

At VOKRA we have hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time to ensuring everything runs smoothly. At our Operations Centre alone there are more than 160 different volunteers who come through the doors on a weekly basis! We’re starting off 2018 by recognizing one of the many teams that are critical to ensuring the kitties in our care are healthy and happy – the Medical Team.

The primary goal of the Medical Team is to improve the overall health of all the cats temporarily staying at our Operations Center – basically to ensure they’re healthy, fed and have a clean environment to live in. The team provides them with medical care and treatments, as well as environmental and social enrichment during their shifts. At the Operations Center we also work very closely with our Cat Care friends whenever a cat requires monitoring. This includes monitoring overall health, cold symptoms, appetite, bowel movements and urine output. In exchange for the help the Cat Care Team provides, the Medical Team also provides assistance to their associates by offering their hands to treating and feeding the more feral cats while assessing and monitoring their behaviours as well.

Ringworm + a cold makes for a tricky combination. But after lots of care and attention Cadbury is now healthy and in her forever home.

Besides monitoring, some of the treatments the Med Team provides include administering oral and topical medications, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections, routine vaccinations, deworming and deflea treatments. Particular infectious cases, such as colds and ringworm, require extra care so the team undertakes extra measures to prevent transmission to healthy cats. This includes gowning up and strict disinfection protocols around the clock. This past year at VOKRA was particularly challenging for the Medical Team as they had a few outbreaks of ringworm (which is a persistent skin fungus). Due to the teams diligence in administering oral medications in conjunction with topical creams and medicated baths, we’re happy to say they successfully treated 22 cases of ringworm in 2017.

Also, we have a few members of the Med Team who are involved with the Management Team. These lovely people assist in many ways, including scheduling, conflict management, error checking medical records, updating health records, organizing and strategizing new treatment plans, researching and writing new operating protocols, and the list goes on. With such large tasks at hand during regular medical shifts, this small cohort of people work together to make things more manageable, largely by creating a less stressful environment to work in.

The Medical Team removes a tick from the face of a kitten.

Overall, they work as a team to improve the overall health of all cats by providing them with the medical care and treatments they need for placement into foster homes. From bottle-feeders to geriatrics, and semi-ferals to ferals, we’re confident in saying the team is happy in treating them all in order to ensure their happiness in the long-term.

We’re so thankful to have such a talented team with diverse skills sets. We have registered nurses, a registered massage therapist, vet assistants, a veterinarian from Japan, a medical office assistant, a PhD, master’s and bachelor’s of both the arts and sciences, as well as animators and a pianist. THANK YOU to the entire Medical Team for your dedication and love of the kitties!

Management Team: Melissa Glier (volunteer since Aug 2016), Olivia Chorny (Feb 2017), Cheryl Linaksita (Aug 2016), Elisabeth Spielbichler (May 2017), Robyn CQ (March 2017)

Sarah Brown (Nov 2015), Tanita Egger (Jan 2016), Tiana Suadela, Andrea Tremblay-Legendre (Jan 2016), Jane Moira (Jan 2016), Vincent Wong (Jan 2016), Masayo Matsuoka (Aug 2016), Kathryn Melnyk (Jan 2017), Celine Uy (Jan 2017), Rebecca Wieland (April 2017), Amanda Henderson (June 2017), Ashley Crivea (June 2017), Pouya Shafiei (Nov 2017), Shannon Strachan (Oct 2017)

My favorite part working at VOKRA is that I never stop learning. We are so lucky to have Karen and Maria as our mentors. Cat’s are probably the hardest patients in the veterinary world which means we are constantly troubleshooting how to work with feral and unpredictable cats. Oh, and the babies!!!

Melissa Glier

 

I get to make a difference in the world, whether it be small or big. I love seeing the very sick strive to becoming healthier (Like Jorje or Charlie). I love giving kitties love when they have never experienced it. I love spending times with cats that are sad and depressed (like our dear Milo). I love seeing the turn around from semi feral or scared cats to total lap cats. It’s totally rewarding. Most importantly it gives me a purpose in my life. I feel that I belong at vokra. I feel part of something. And it helps me with my anxiety that I carry in my day to day life.

Elisabeth Spielbichler

 

My favourite thing about volunteering on the Medical Team is building relationships with the cats over time and bringing them joy. I also love seeing “complicated” kitties thrive and grow, Charlie and Ruther in particular. They both came in aggressive, terrified, and upset, but with trust and time, their behaviour did a 180°! Turns out they’re both cuddle bugs!

Jane Csiszar

 

My favourite part of volunteering has been meeting new people and witnessing all the effort every volunteer puts in at VOKRA!

Kathryn Drury-Melnyk

 

My favorite part of volunteering is to witness all those happy stories. To see the cats off the streets, sick or feral, healing at ops and then going to a foster home all recovered and ready for a better life.

Andrea Tremblay-Legendre

 

My favourite part of working with VOKRA is the community. It’s a group of people all working to empower each other to achieve one huge goal – help cats in whatever capacity they can. From the medical team, where it’s a delight seeing all of these kind people spending their limited spare time discussing the best ways to get a pill in a particularly difficult cat (shout out Charis), or what fun surprise they found in someone’s litter box that day, or even just supporting each other in their day to day lives. It’s a group of people fervent to learn and support each other.

This seems to be the case across the board for all the VOKRA teams. It’s definitely evident when I work with cat care. No matter how difficult the cat, every shift I see cat care volunteers patiently working to ensure that each cat is safe, secure, healthy, and, if the particular feline allows it, loved.

Olivia Chorny

As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Help Cats this Holiday Season

Jorje showed up crying in the rain looking for a warm and dry place to stay.

When he arrived at VOKRA he was starving, had hair loss, rotten teeth and severe dermatitis. He also suffers from moderate kidney failure requiring daily medication to manage.

After initially going into foster care, it was discovered Jorje had ringworm, a persistent skin fungus, so he was brought back to our Operations Centre for treatment. While nursing him back to health, our volunteers found Jorje also has food allergies, which we manage by a raw diet of either bison or beef.

Because his ringworm was particularly difficult to treat, Jorje stayed at our Operations Centre for almost a year. Now he’s back in foster care where he’s doing well and hopes to be adopted one day. But the reality is, at 12-years old and with his all his health problems, the likelihood of Jorje being adopted is slim.

Jorje’s foster mom reports he’s quite the cuddle bug and he’s even learning some new things. Apparently you can teach an old cat new tricks!

At VOKRA we believe all cats deserve to have a safe and happy life, regardless of their challenges.

Even if Jorge is never adopted, he still has a loving future ahead of him. With the devotion of our fosters and volunteers, at VOKRA kitties will always have a home until their last days.

Your support today will help pay for the cost of caring for the more than 40 cats we currently have in long term care, including veterinary care, medication, food and litter.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season, please give to help care for cats like Jorge.

 

 

P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 pays for one kitten to be vaccinated each month and $25 pays for a flat of canned food.

 

Volunteer of the Month – June 2017

Frankie

With the sun shining (sort of), our volunteers are looking forward to a busy June as we head straight into kitten season! We appreciate how hard our volunteers work to ensure each kitty lives the best life they can, and this month we’d like to celebrate Yana Sabanskis, our Volunteer of the Month!

Yana became involved with VOKRA around eight years ago when she worked at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. There, she was familiarized with the faces of VOKRA – Karen and Maria – through their regular visits to restock supplies. She took the opportunity to understand our non-profit organization and the way we work to continuously provide the best care for kitties. Yana helped out with recycling and other odds and ends and, when our new Operations Centre opened in 2015, she continued recycling twice a week. Along with helping out at our Centre, Yana adopted from VOKRA and also fostered several cats, in which she has made strong, yet adorable memories with.

“The first kitty I adopted from VOKRA was Sammi, an 11-year old pure bred Chocolate Himalayan,” explains Yana. “He adapted very quickly to my other cat, Molly, who I had found in an alley in the West End. After Molly suddenly died, I was asked if I could possibly foster a semi-feral 2-year old. I was up to the task and took on Tommy. He really was a challenge, living in the bathroom for about a month. I slowly introduced him to Sammi by taking food and Sammi into the bathroom and leaving them together. Sammi was very docile and performed a miracle so, about a week later, Tommy followed Sammi out of the bathroom and stayed with him wherever he went!”

After Sammi passed away, Yana took in little Paula, a geriatric kitty found in an alley in the Downtown Eastside. “She was an absolute joy to welcome in our home,” said Yana. “She slept on my shoulder and only ever wanted to be loved. She was with us for almost six months before she fell asleep one night and didn’t wake again.”

The next cat that came into their home was Frankie, an 18-year old geriatric kitty who came in from the cold and needed a home. “He joined us for two years until he died,” remembers Yana. “He was so grateful to be inside and insisted on sleeping in my lap, on my shoulder or on my head. He was a large cat and would not compromise his needs, so I accepted him doing whatever he wanted.”

Yana goes on to say, “When Frankie passed away, Tommy decided I was his new pet and we’re now bonded, so much so that he sleeps on me at night! During the day he is elusive, but at night he is a cuddle monster!”

Yana has helped VOKRA in so many ways and her connection with all the furballs she cares for is one we admire. We can’t thank her enough and are happy and appreciative to have such a wonderful, kind-hearted person in our organization. You’re the best, Yana!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Wanted: Adoption Counsellors

momoWho wants to help our kitties find their forever homes?!

We’re looking to grow our team of adoption counsellors and are looking for cat lovers like you. Our adoption counsellors review new adoption applications, interview applicants and, ultimately, match up kitties with adopters. Yah!

Adoption counsellors can take on as many or as few applications as they choose. However, to keep up to date and involved in the adoptions process, it’s ideal for counsellors to have at least 6 hours of volunteer time available per week. Although it may only take a few moments to assist an applicant with their application, it’s important members of the adoptions team respond to emails readily and on a daily basis. All VOKRA volunteers are asked to commit at least 6 months of their time.

Adoption counsellors tasks include:

  • Receiving and reviewing new adoption applications
  • Contacting applicants, scheduling interviews and follow-up
  • Matching kitties and/or suggesting kitties for applicants
  • Liase with fosters to learn more about kitties personalities, pairings, etc..
  • Working with approved applicants to schedule viewing with kitties
  • Follow-up with applicants after viewings
  • Forward adopters to the papers team for processing/payment completion
  • Respond to adopters queries post adoption
  • Update database at each step to reflect status of adoption applications

Members of the adoptions team work closely together to manage the volume of applicants that apply to adopt through VOKRA. If you’re looking to join a fantastic group of people and help kitties find loving forever home then the adoptions team is for you!

To apply to become an adoption counsellor click here.

Questions? Email volunteervokra@gmail.com

Volunteer of the Month – August 2016


NatashaWe hope all our volunteers had an amazing time at our Volunteer Appreciation BBQ last month! Now we’re back to our regular Volunteer of the Month feature and for August we’d like to give all our thanks to Natasha Wodak!

Not only is Natasha a valued volunteer, she’s also a professional distance runner, athlete ambassador for Asics Canada and, come August 12, she’ll also be an Olympian when she steps on the track in Rio!

Running is no doubt one of Natasha’s top passions, but cuddling with kitties is definitely right up there. She started volunteering at VOKRA in October 2014 as a cat care volunteer coming in each Friday for a shift whenever she’s in town. She feeds the kitties, cleans litter boxes and cages, does dishes and laundry and, best of all, she cuddles all the kitties to help them socialize.

One of Natasha’s best moments volunteering was bottle-feeding a newborn kitten for the first time and it nearly brought tears to her eyes. Like all volunteers, Natasha has met a lot of cats that have a special place in her heart, but here she tell us the story of her first foster:

Natasha_0230 Natasha_0288

“Feeona was my foster kitty for a year and a half,” explains Natasha. “I met her last November when she was only eight months old after she was brought to the Operations Centre for the second time because she wasn’t using her litter box. She was the sweetest little thing and I fell in love with her instantly. I wasn’t looking to foster, but after three weeks of seeing her every Friday in a cage at Ops I had to take her home. In the time I had her she made loads of progress with using her box, but still, every few days she’d have an accident. Just about three weeks ago I had to give her to another foster. It was too hard for me to take care of her with all my travelling. My heart broke seeing her go, but I’m happy to hear she’s doing well and settled into a nice home on Gabriola Island.”

Natasha_3368

Feeona

The hardest part about volunteering at VOKRA for Natasha is seeing all of the neglected, abandoned and abused cats. However, the most rewarding part about volunteering is knowing what a difference all the volunteers make for these cats; more than a thousand kitties are saved each year! It makes Natasha extremely happy to know she’s helping all the helpless kitties in every way she can. She also loves taking photos of all the cats and kittens she works with, so check out her Instagram at @tasha_wodak if you want to melt from all the cuteness (and follow her Olympic experience)!

We want to thank Natasha for all her hard work and devotion to VOKRA, even with her busy schedule as a professional athlete. We also want to wish her the best of luck at the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. She’s one of the most kindhearted volunteers we know and she most definitely deserves an Olympic medal. So again, good luck Tasha in Rio – do it for the kitties!

Natasha_4531You can cheer on Nastasha as she competes in the Women’s 10,000m on August 12 at 7:10 a.m.!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Volunteer of the Month – July 2016

volunteer collage

Our July Volunteer of the Month is all of our VOKRA volunteers! We want to thank each and everyone one of you for all your help and support at our Volunteer Appreciation Barbeque on July 24!

We welcome our current volunteers and their families to drop in anytime between 1 – 3 p.m. for a rooftop BBQ. We’ll have door prizes and tours of our Operations Centre. If you’re planning to come to the pawty please RSVP by July 17 by clicking here.

Like we like to say, volunteering is the joy of making a difference one purr at a time. Thank you all for all your dedication and support for VOKRA! We honestly couldn’t do it without you.

2015 AGM set for August 27

VokraMeeting_FB

VOKRA will be holding its 2015 Annual General Meeting on August 27, our second since we officially became a society last year. Anyone can attend our AGM, however in order to vote you need to become a society member. Membership is only $10 and is a great way to show your support for VOKRA.

2015 VOKRA AGM
Thursday, August 27
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
VOKRA Operations Centre at 2028 Wall Street, Vancouver
RSVP & BECOME A SOCIETY MEMBER 

At the AGM we will be electing a new board of directors to serve an annual term until August 2016. Board membership is a leadership position within VOKRA that guides the organization to achieve its mission. Directors act in a position of trust for the community and are responsible for the effective governance of our organization.

We’re looking for board members with a desire to dedicate time to the development of VOKRA, and we could especially use people with financial and fundraising skills. Here’s what it takes to be a board member:

  • MEMBERSHIP IN THE VOKRA SOCIETY! You must be a member to be a board member
  • Commitment to the work of the organization
  • Knowledge and skills in one or more areas of board governance: policy, finance, programs, personnel, fundraising and advocacy
  • Willingness to serve on committees and attend committee meetings
  • Attendance at monthly board meetings + preparation time to review materials
  • Attendance at meetings of assigned committees
  • Attendance at Annual General Meetings
  • Attendance at membership meetings
  • Support of special events
  • Support of and participation in fundraising events

Board positions include:

President Emeritus – Provides VOKRA historical perspective to the board members; keeps the board’s activities focused on the organization’s mission and makes sure the board adheres to its bylaws and constitution. Required to attend monthly VOKRA Board meetings, including preparation time to review materials.

Chair – Provides leadership to the board; makes sure the board adheres to its bylaws and constitution; prepares the agenda for board meetings; chairs meetings of the board; keeps the board’s discussion on topic by summarizing issues; keeps the board’s activities focused on the organization’s mission; orients board members to the board; serves as ex officio member of committees and attends their meetings when possible; promotes the organization’s purpose in the community and to the media; prepares a report for the Annual General Meeting; and orients the new board chair. Required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials, and attendance at board committee meetings on an ad-hoc basis.

Vice Chair – Acts in the absence of the chairperson; works closely as consultant and advisor to the chairperson; and orients the new vice chair. Required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials.

Secretary – Keeps copies of the organization’s bylaws and the board’s policy statements; keeps lists of officers, board members, committees and general membership; notifies board members of meetings; brings official minute book to meetings; keeps record of board attendance; makes sure that there is a quorum at board meetings; keeps accurate minutes of meetings; records all motions and decisions of meetings; keeps copies of minutes of both board and committee meetings; distributes copies of minutes to board members promptly after meetings; files the annual return, amendments to the bylaws and other incorporating documents; makes sure members are notified of general meetings; and in the absence of the chairperson and vice chairperson, chairs board meetings until the election of an alternate chairperson. Required to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials.

Treasurer – Gives regular reports to the Board on the financial state of the organization; keeps financial reports on file; undertakes special projects to reduce costs; chairs the finance committee; acts as signing officer, with another officer or executive director for cheques and other documents; and orients the new treasurer. Required to attend monthly VOKRA Board meeting, including preparation time to review materials and monthly finance committee meeting to prepare up to date financial statements.

Directors at Large – A director is fully informed on organizational matters and participates in the Board’s deliberations and decisions in matters of policy, finance, programs, personnel and advocacy. They also review the bylaws and policy manual and recommend bylaw changes to the membership; participate in the development of VOKRA’s organizational plan and annual review; and assist in developing and maintaining positive relations among the board, committees, OMT, volunteers and community to enhance VOKRA’s mission. Require to attend monthly VOKRA board meeting, including preparation time to review materials.

If you’ve got what it takes and want to learn more email communications@vokra.ca