By: Mary Cook
We've all heard about the success of Washington Humane Society's Clear the Shelter event, where 117 animals found new homes, but what is equally remarkable to me is that the lives of over 117 people were transformed, as well.
As a volunteer at the New York Avenue adoption center, I have done countless loads of laundry, led numerous tours of the facility, and transported ferrets, cats, and bunnies (not all at once, thankfully!), but the thing I enjoy most is meeting new people and helping them find just the right cat or kitten (kittens?) to add to their family. Naturally, I've met lots of great cats and kittens at the adoption center, but I am always surprised that it's often the people that I remember the most.
At our Clear the Shelter event, I met Miss D., who stood out in the crowd with her perfectly coiffed hair, gold outfit, and countless bangle bracelets. Miss D. really wanted a kitten, as did everyone else. She had no fewer than five kittens on her adoption sheet -- all of which were adopted by others before her.
At the end of the day, she was tired, frustrated, and devastated at the thought that she would not be going home with a kitten. Any kitten. I guessed that we probably had more kittens coming onto the floor once the adopted kittens were moved. I confirmed that with WHS staff and asked Miss D. if she could wait an extra half hour. She said, "Yes!"
I went on to help other adopters while Lex, an adoption center worker, verified that the ideal kitten for Miss D. was a little Tabby boy. Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Lex pulled Pippins out of a cat carrier and handed him to Miss D.
When I saw her a couple of weeks after the event, I asked her how things had gone with the kitten. She took my hand, but was so excited she could barely speak. She showed me a photo of Pippins and actually cried with joy when she told me about seeing him for the first time.
Another person whose story has stayed with me is the young man who came up and asked me if he could change the species of the animal he wanted to adopt. I thought it was a funny way to ask if he could adopt a cat instead of a dog, but I said, "Sure," and offered to introduce Jimmy to some cats.
Jimmy was such a gentle man that I took him to see Alicia, one of our older cats who really needs a gentle, loving home. He really liked Alicia and held her on his lap for a very long time, deciding what to do. He was hesitant to adopt a cat who was experiencing some temporary health issues; he was between jobs and was concerned that he wouldn't be able to afford the care Alicia might need.
I really admired his thoughtful, careful approach and introduced him to some more sprightly adoption center inhabitants. After a few false starts, my new friend found Hoosier, a beautiful six year old cat that warmed to him immediately.
In my mind, everyone who walks out of the adoption center lives happily ever after with their new family member. I know that can't always be the case, but I have every confidence that it is for Miss D and Pippins, and Jimmy and Hoosier.
Want to learn more about how to adopt from WHS or view our adorable adoptable animals? Visit the adoption page on our website at http://washhumane.org/adopt! Not ready to adopt? Consider Sponsoring an Animal!