Help a special kitty this holiday season

Meet Freckles. He arrived at VOKRA earlier this year after being surrendered at a veterinary clinic.

Freckles started out  life normally enough, but when he went for a checkup the vet noticed his back legs were wobbly. The vet suspected Freckles had cerebellar hypoplasia (CH), a neurological disorder that occurs when a kitten’s brain doesn’t develop properly in the womb.

As he got older, Freckles condition began to get worse and, when he started to dribble urine, he was surrendered.

Once Freckles arrived at VOKRA it didn’t take long for us to suspect CH isn’t the cause of his issues. As he has no feeling in his back legs our best guess is Freckles has a spinal injury.

So far nothing has shown up on an X-ray so the next step is to take Freckles for an expensive MRI with the hope something can be done to increase his mobility.

Veterinary care accounts for 50% of our annual budget. In 2018 alone, we spent more than $300,000 on medical care! As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t afford these costs without the generous support of people like you. 

At VOKRA we believe kitties like Freckles deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life. Whether they’re kittens or adults, feral or tame, healthy or sick – we provide them all with the best care we can. But this does come at a cost.

Despite all his troubles, Freckles is a friendly guy who doesn’t let not being able to walk slow him down. He’s like a little rocket, pulling his legs behind him and only stopping when he meets someone who’ll give him love and treats!

Your support today will help pay for the cost of Freckles MRI, as well as the veterinary care for the more than 1,400 cats and kittens we rescue each year.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season you can give the gift of care and help kitties like Freckles.

 

 

P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 each month pays for one kitten to be vaccinated and $35 pays for one week of care.

Care for a kitten this holiday season

Elmer and Cobalt are the best of friends.

Both arrived at VOKRA as very young kittens, hungry and full of fleas. Elmer was found alone in the forest crying and Cobalt was taken from her mother too soon and then surrendered.

As they were both on their own, we decided to buddy them up in foster care and they took to each other right away. Now they’re off to the new forever home together just in time for the holidays.

So far this year, we’ve taken in more than 850 kittens, just like Elmer and Cobalt. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t continue to rescue this many kittens without your support

Kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. And by ensuring each kitten is spayed or neutered we’re breaking the cycle.

Your support today will help pay for the cost of rescuing more than 1,400 cats and kittens each year, including veterinary care, medication, food and litter.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season you can give the gift of care and help kittens like Elmer and Cobalt.

 

 

P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 each month pays for one kitten to be vaccinated and $15 pays for one flea treatment.

Hunter needs your help this Christmas

This handsome guy is Hunter and he has a problem. 

Hunter suffers from a chronic ear infection due to a polyp in his middle ear. Despite being treated with antibiotic drops, the polyp has grown to a very large size and now Hunter needs to have surgery to remove it.

The cost of Hunter’s surgery is estimated to be upwards of $1,500.

At VOKRA we believe kitties like Hunter deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life free from pain. Whether they’re seniors or kittens, feral or tame, healthy or sick – we provide them all with the best care we can. But this does come at a cost.

Veterinary care accounts for 50% of our annual budget. In 2018 alone, we spent more than $300,000 on medical care! As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t afford these costs without the generous support of people like you. 

Without surgery Hunter will continue to live in discomfort. Your support today will ensure he gets the medical attention he needs.

Will you chip in to help Hunter today?

 

 

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

2019 Board of Directors Election

VOKRA will be holding its 2019 Annual General Meeting on October 10 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. 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.

2019 VOKRA AGM
Thursday, October 10
7 to 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.)
St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1573 – 18 Avenue E., Vancouver
RSVP & BECOME A SOCIETY MEMBER
(Online membership sales close at 3 p.m. on Oct. 10. Memberships will be for sale at the door.)

Members will receive a full agenda package, but briefly, the points to be covered will be:

  • Minutes of the Previous AGM, October 18, 2018
  • Presentation: 2018 – 2019 in Review
  • Treasurer’s Report: 2018 Financial Statements
  • Motion to set membership fee post October AGM
  • Motions to change the bylaws to align with the new Societies Act
  • Election of board members
  • Thank you to the outgoing board
  • New business
  • Meeting adjourned

We have asked people to indicate whether or not they will be attending the meeting so we can get a rough idea of the number of people who will show up. People intending to run for Board positions must be present for both the nomination and the acceptance of the nomination. Under BC Society Act bylaws, no proxies are permitted.

At the AGM we will be electing six new members of the board of directors to serve a two-year term until 2021 and one new member to serve a one-year term. 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.

Current board members seeking re-election:

Tasha Bukovnik

Tasha’s been volunteering with VOKRA since 2014 and has been on the board since 2016, currently in the role of president. She’s a public relations professional and leads VOKRA’s integrated communications and marketing team. She oversees all of VOKRA’s social media activities, manages the Mewsletter and blog, coordinates the development of marketing materials, helps promote events, handles media relations and generally supports other VOKRA teams with whatever they need. Tasha also leads the fundraising committee and her main focus is to manage VOKRA’s direct fundraising initiatives and appeals. When not volunteering, Tasha can usually be found at the yoga studio.

Nicky Forsman

Nicky is mostly known to those at VOKRA as the producer/director of the documentary series Kitty 911. Filming the series gave Nicky a unique perspective of all facets of VOKRA. It allowed her to meet volunteers from all departments and really delve into how the organization functions – an opportunity not many VOKRA volunteers are lucky enough to have. This insight inspired Nicky to join the board late last year and continues to inform the work that she does at VOKRA. When Nicky’s not working she’s usually at home snuggled up with her kitty Brooklynn, a former VOKRA mama, or educating her neighbours about how their cats should really be kept inside. A huge passion of hers, Nicky dreams of a world where seeing a cat outdoors alone raises the same red flag for the general public as it would to see a dog in the same situation.

Jeff Matthews

Jeff and his son Raine have been enthusiastic VOKRA volunteers for close to seven years. Originally starting out as drivers, they’ve taken on a range of roles, including cat care, failed foster, vaccinations and generally being available to help out when needed. Jeff was elected to the board in 2016 and spearheads many of VORKA’s grant writing efforts. He’s also the proud companion to two VOKRA kitties. Jeff has had a life-long love of animals, dedicating much of his spare time to volunteer activism for the environment and animal rights, including a stint as President of Sea Shepherd Canada. In his professional life, Jeff holds a PhD in Physics from UBC, working as a biomedical research consultant and advisor.

Maria Soroski

Maria co-founded VOKRA with Karen Duncan in 1999, after years of volunteering with cats and kittens. While volunteering, Maria saw a desperate need to develop a holistic approach to cat and kitten care, as well as a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program in order to keep the feral and homeless cat population down. After VOKRA’s inception, Maria’s dream started coming true. Local shelters were seeing a dramatic drop in feral cat and kitten numbers in Vancouver – something Maria is proud to have helped with. She paved the way with VOKRA’s founding values and continues to ensure that as a no-kill organization, the TNR program is one of the best in BC. With a passion for giving homeless and feral cats a happy and healthy life, Maria always ensures VOKRA uses organic and nutritious food for all cats. With VOKRA keeping her busy, the former prairie gal loves to reward herself with time spent at home relaxing with her cats.

New candidates seeking election:

Brian Blamey, BA, CGA CPA

Brian brings his athletic endurance, zeal and energy to public practice at Galloway Botteselle & Company where he has been a partner since 1996. Brian deals with the everyday issues small to medium‐sized businesses face regarding taxes, business expansions or reorganizations, acquisitions, valuations, and personal financial planning. He has dealt with the requirements of, and the audit for, a number of not for profit organizations. Brian is also an effective teacher and has made numerous presentations on the latest changes in tax laws and how to reduce taxes.

Brian is past Chair of the Porter Hétu International’s National Management Committee, a group of independent accounting firms across Canada and internationally, and is currently the treasurer for the Achilles International Track and Field Society.

Brian and his wife Rose are supporters of VOKRA and have fostered a number of cats, although they did foster fail with their first foster. Rose has been a volunteer with VOKRA for the past three years and encouraged Brian to become a board member. Earlier this year, Brian was appointed by the VOKRA board to fill the vacant role of treasurer.

Shelley Dowson

Shelley has volunteered for the past 11 years, since discovering VOKRA and adopting her two kitties Chookah and Ubu. She has volunteered for VOKRA in many different capacities: as a foster coordinator, adoption interviewer, adoption contracts, surrenders, event coordinator, adoption event coordinator and cat care. More recently, Shelley was instrumental in getting our Operations Centre up and running and she continues to coordinate building logistics.

During the day, Shelley works in the “not so real world“ of film and television, spending the past 25 years as a paint coordinator. As a result, she has been able to access materials that are to be recycled or has been in the right place at the right time to receive that perfect item the Operations Centre needs. She can usually be found at Ops whenever she is not working, busily moving or organizing things to run more smoothly for the volunteers.

Shelley is a past board member and is looking forward to returning to the board.

Vacancy: Director at Large

VOKRA is actively recruiting for one new member to join the board as a director at large. We are especially looking to fill the vacancy with someone with a strong background in human resources.

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, operations management team, volunteers and community to enhance VOKRA’s mission. Directors at large are required to attend monthly VOKRA board meetings, including preparation time to review materials.

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: personnel, policy, finance, programs, 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
  • Support of special events
  • Support of and participation in fundraising events

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

Volunteer of the Month – August 2019

Summertime’s in full swing, which means our Operations Centre is busier than usual. With cats and kittens going in and out and foster’s stopping by to get supplies, there’s always something to do and our reception team is on top of it!

This month we’re celebrating Margot Kubale, a volunteer who’s been part of our Ops reception team since September of 2017. Here Margot tells us in her own words how she became involved with VOKRA.

You see I first heard of Vokra when I adopted a cat in January of 2006. Here’s the story of how that happened:

I had been without a cat for about nine months because the last of my two cats had passed away in March 2005. I was in no rush to adopt another cat but then met Karen Duncan, VOKRA co-founder, at a craft fair about two weeks before. I almost didn’t make it to the fair and 10 minutes or so before closing time noticed the VOKRA sign to a separate room from the crafts. I walked in and was greeted by Karen with a “Hello, would you like a cat?”.

The last thing I expected was to find a cat at a craft fair. Karen let me hold the big, full grown fluffy orange cat who was very affectionate and in need of a one cat home. I was reluctant to adopt so I opted to foster him in case things didn’t work out. He came home with me that same day and I renamed him Rusty in keeping with my personal traditional of naming red cats with a name that starts with the letter “R”.

Two weeks later I had guests for Christmas for dinner,  five adults and three children, all in a small one bedroom apartment. I was very surprised that Rusty spent no time hiding under the bed and chose be amongst the guests and do a meet and greet of all the adults sitting on the L-shaped couch. He just went from one to the next saying “hello”. It was just like a salesperson would do a meet and greet and I’d never seen a cat do that. He was not intimidated by all the people.

A few weeks later Karen called to see how it was going. I told her how Rusty had been with my Christmas guests and that I’d decided to adopt him. He turned out to be the best cat ever!!!   He was my wonderful four-footed furry friend until he passed in February of 2017. Shortly after that I decided to put in an application to volunteer with VOKRA in memory of Rusty and to give back for receiving such a wonderful cat.

Margot and fellow reception volunteer Dave providing some TLC

I’m very much enjoying my time volunteering in reception and there is no shortage of stuff to do. It’s interesting to talk to the various people that walk in and I like making up the variety boxes for the fosters, printing labels and signs on the computer and keeping the reception area as tidy as possible, and, if it’s slow, helping out with laundry.

One of the things I’ve learned to do better is how to put a cat into a carrier. When it gets busy at Ops I have sometimes helped out with putting the cat’s into a carrier when they’re ready to go out to foster. I remember Keegan was so eager to get out the kennel that he walked right into the carrier without even any kibble inducement! That was fun… loading him so easily.

I also like combing cats and removing their mats if they are calm enough to allow that. I was able to do that once at Ops. In April of this year there was a fluffy black cat in need of a little TLC.  He was very mellow and let Dave, who does reception on the same day as I do, hold him so I could cut out some mats. With a little teamwork we got the job done.

THANK YOU so much Margot for all the time and energy you put into helping out everyone at VOKRA. We very much appreciate your dedication!

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 to each and every one of you!

VOKRA is always in need of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Will You Walk for Jeff?

Jeff’s a real gentleman and a sweet purr monster.

When Jeff arrived at VOKRA in 2017 he was hungry, thin and dirty. Even though he had a tattoo, the information wasn’t up-to-date so we have no idea what happened to him or how long he’d been on the streets.

During his initial vet check-up it was discovered Jeff’s hyperthyroid, which partly explains why he was so skinny. In order to keep his thyroid in check Jeff needs medication twice a day and periodic visits to the vet to check his levels.

Then, during another one of Jeff’s vet visits, he was diagnosed with kidney disease so he now gets sub-q fluids twice a week and a B-12 shot once a week. (And, for good measure, he’s a picky eater.) Whew! Despite all this, Jeff’s foster mom describes him as “an easy cat who loves cuddles and scratches under the chin or behind his ears”.

It’s very difficult to find someone willing to take on a kitty with health issues, so at some shelters cats like Jeff are often deemed “unadoptable” and end up being euthanized.

At VOKRA we believe every kitty deserves a chance at a happy, healthy life. Whether they’re kittens or adults, feral or tame, healthy or sick – we provide them all with the best care we can. But this does come at a cost.

Cats like Jeff are just one of the thousands of reasons why we Walk for the Kitties.

Each year, VOKRA rescues more than 1,400 homeless cats and kittens from around the Lower Mainland. Unlike many other animal rescue groups, VOKRA is a volunteer-driven, no-kill organization. Our work is made possible through the generous support of volunteers, adopters and people like you.

Without your support we wouldn’t be able to afford to rescue cats like Jeff.

Please help us help kitties like Jeff this September 15 by joining us for Walk for the Kitties, presented by FirstMate.

Eventbrite - VOKRA Walk for the Kitties 2018

Walk for the Kitties is our largest fundraising event of the year. This 5k fun walk takes place at Jericho Beach and all funds raised go directly towards supporting our rescue efforts. Learn more here.

Can’t make it on September 15? You can still donate today! 

 

Volunteer of the Month – July 2019

It’s summertime which means there’s no shortage of work for our volunteers. With more than 450 cats and kittens “in-stock” everyone’s being kept very busy. This month we’re celebrating one of our volunteers who never has a shortage of tasks on her plate – Glynda Summers.

Glynda has been a steadfast volunteer with VOKRA for 12 years and has been involved in many different capacities. Currently she’s instrumental in managing our post adoption follow-up survey process and ensuring the information goes where it needs to. Glynda has a wealth of VOKRA history stored in her brain and is invaluable to all of us.

Here Glynda tells us in her own words how and why she got involved with VOKRA:

I went to a foster’s home to meet Othello in September 2007 after seeing him on Petfinder. When I arrived, the foster, Dania, had just received two little foster kittens and Othello was with those kittens.  We sat on her living room floor and watched the kittens scampering around. I decided to adopt Othello but I didn’t have the heart to take him away from the two wee kittens. So I ended up adopting all three of them – something unusual back in 2007 as not many people were adopting three cats at the same time back then. So I adopted Othello (a.k.a. Tellie), Tess and Violet on September 21, 2007.

Tellie, Tess and Violet

While Dania and I were sitting on her living room floor, she and I found out a bit about each and she brought me into VOKRA because of my business skills. She thought I would be able to help out with a database and I started doing data entries of cat bios and uploading photos. So that was my start with VOKRA. Hard to believe it’s close to 12 years now! I helped set up bio icons, font sizing, featuring cats on our website, organization charts, so many different things as our website and database developed and grew over the years. Then, in 2010, I started doing newspaper submissions for VOKRA adoptable cats in several local newspapers and today I still handle the cat bios that are sent to the North Shore News. These ads result in many adoptions and also help promote VOKRA.

All of Glenda’s cats

In 2016 I was asked to help with Post Adoption Follow-up Surveys for all our adopted cats. Originally, I had simply copied the current section from the Google spreadsheet containing the responses into an Excel spreadsheet . And then, once again, I developed a Microsoft Access database into which I upload the adopters’ responses. I can review the responses in the database, send requests to appropriate vets for any information that is missing (ie tattoo numbers, spay/neuter dates, etc) and keep track of when they send this in, notify Adopter Support of any issues the adopter may have, update information in the database and keep track of all this information. It makes it so much easier to check the adopter responses and monitor follow-up and recording. So I have added a lot of “geek” to the thank you survey follow-up process. But that’s me. A geek with seven cats!

I think that covers a good bit of what I have done for VOKRA as a volunteer over the last 12 years, a lot of which is in the “background” and not actually touching the cats. And I am very thankful for taking my touch-typing class in high school many, MANY years back so I can type around various cats in my lap while I do all of this.

THANK YOU Glynda for all your years of dedication and efforts on behalf of the kitties at VOKRA. We’re privileged and honoured to have you as a volunteer and couldn’t be more grateful!
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 to each and every one of you!

VOKRA is always in need of volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.