- Posted August 6, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Impact Your World
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Garden Place Senior Living Staff, Seniors and Helping Strays to Host Kitty Showers
The first shower will be held at Garden Place of Waterloo on August 15 at 2:00 p.m. The second shower will be held at Garden Place of Columbia on August 21 at 2:00 p.m. The kitty showers will have kittens and adult cats available for residents and the public to adopt, and will be a means for the shelter to collect needed items on their wish list to continue caring for the cats who do not have forever homes. These events are free and open to the public. Vera Baebler, a resident at Garden Place of Waterloo who assists with donations, fundraising and adoption events, is eager to help with the upcoming showers.
“I really enjoy volunteering my time for the Helping Strays adoption events,” said Baebler. “Alice Imhof, a friend of mine that works with Helping Strays, will come by the community and pick me up and I will go with her on the weekends to assist with adoption events happening throughout the area. I like getting out of the house and doing something good with my time. I get just as excited as they do when one of the animals gets adopted. In addition to my time, I donate money so the shelter can buy the things that they are short on or need. I was very delighted when I heard that Garden Place Senior Living has partnered with Helping Strays to help find new homes for cats with residents in the community.”
Garden Place Senior Living allows residents to have one pet in their home. The community thought it would be an excellent opportunity to partner with Helping Strays and Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply to assist residents with adopting a cat, if they do not already have a pet. The kitty showers are the two big kickoff events for the program. An anonymous donor has agreed to pay for all the adoption fees so the residents can adopt the cats for free.
“When Garden Place contacted us with the idea, we thought it was a lovely opportunity to provide the cats at the shelter with good homes and similarly provide the company of a sweet companion to a senior,” said Alice Imhof, a foster mom, board member and fundraising coordinator at Helping Strays. “I am close friends with Vera and she tells me all the time that she would be lost without her cat Shadow. There are other residents at Garden Place that I feel would benefit from having the companionship of a cat in their home too. A cat gives seniors someone to talk to, share their days with, cuddle up with, and it gives them a reason to keep going, as they are responsible for a life other than their own. Currently I bring dogs to visit the seniors at Garden Place, and I can barely make it down the hallway because everyone wants to say hi to the pups.”
The shelter and staff at Garden Place assist with the animals by coordinating vet visits, shopping for supplies, and by checking on the animals and the residents to see how things are going. Helping Strays has a new program that they are in the process of rolling out with Garden Place Senior Living. Volunteers, through Helping Strays, have offered to deliver food, treats, litter and toys for the animals to the residents for no delivery fee. Residents will simply pay in advance for the items and the items will be delivered to them, which is helpful in cases where traveling is hard. Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply has also arranged for free transportation to their store, should a resident wish to send their pet out for grooming or bathing services.
One of the special things about the partnership between Helping Strays and Garden Place is that if a resident has adopted an animal through the shelter and reaches a point where they can no longer meet the needs of the animal, the shelter will take the animal back. When looking for cats that are suitable for seniors to adopt, the shelter identifies cats that are over one year of age, like to be held or like to cuddle, are laid back and very affectionate.
“We had our first kitty shower a couple of weeks ago,” shared Imhof. “We decorated the shelter like a baby shower with pastel colored décor, served refreshments, and set up a play pen out front where we collected items on our wish list. The public came out to donate supplies, had the opportunity to interact with our animals and if they were ready, adopt. We have about 60 cats that need homes. I am hopeful that we will find wonderful people and families to adopt our cats at the upcoming kitty showers at Garden Place.”
“Helping Strays is a fantastic organization. I had two pets when I moved to Garden Place, my cat Shadow and my dog Button,” shared Baebler. “Since I could only have one pet in my home, Alice offered to care for Shadow at her home until Button passed. We knew Button only had a little bit of time left, as she was very sick. Once Button passed, I was able to bring Shadow to my new home at Garden Place. I had started caring for Shadow at my private villa. She was a stray that I had begun to feed and before I knew it she had become my sweet little kitty cat. This is my first experience with a cat, as I have always had dogs. I’m just amazed at the difference between cats and dogs. Cats are so independent and are no trouble whatsoever. She knows my moods as well as I do, and she is quite happy to sit in a chair with me and snuggle up. Shadow is a little sweetheart.”
“We allow the seniors who live at Garden Place Senior Living communities to have one pet in their home, as we feel having a pet fulfills a need for companionship and family,” said Kathy Asselmeier, the general manager and part owner of Garden Place Senior Living. “We are looking forward to the partnership with Helping Strays and Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply, and putting on kitty showers for the residents and the public to participate in. This is an exciting opportunity and we think it will be a great success.”
If you would like to attend one of the upcoming kitty showers and bring items to donate, items on the wish list include kitten and puppy toys, Felidae cat food at Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply, non-latex surgical gloves, Clorox wipes, small cat beds, pro-plan kitten food, bleach (non-scented) and HP 564 ink cartridges. Kitten and cat adoptions will be a special price at the kitty showers and will include a microchip, vaccinations, spray/neuter and FIV/FeLeuk test. If you would like more information about the animals, the adoption services, or the wish list, please call Debbie Ruggeri at 618-939-7389. If you would like more information about the showers please contact Kaisey with Garden Place at 618-971-7706.