Lisa Bird, the Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury and Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month, describes her volunteering as the coolest job ever.
She is a kitten foster parent and encourages others to do it too.
Lisa says she couldn’t do it without the support of her husband because the kittens take over the house.
Fostering doesn’t mean Lisa has to be with them constantly, they are at home while she is at work.
But as a kitten foster parent Lisa feeds, loves, socialises, cuddles and cleans up after them and describes it as a absolute pleasure and so much fun.
For 18 months now Lisa has fostered kittens for the SPCA and during that time she has had about 55 balls of energetic and mischievous fun come and live in her house. The most she has had at one time is six kittens from two different litters.
She loves cats and responded when the SPCA put out a call for foster parents.
She had two cats getting older and a dog at the time, but says having another animal is not a barrier to being a foster parent in fact, it can be helpful in socialising the kitten you are fostering.
It’s hard for Lisa to send the kittens to the adoption unit at the local SPCA and she might shed a tear, but knowing happy and healthy kittens are off to be loved by a new family makes it a little easier.
Lisa knows the kittens don’t mind who they are with if they are being looked after and loved, as unlike dogs, cats and kittens show no loyalty.
She and her husband are about to break the rule they agreed on of not keeping one of the kittens, as Polly is going to have a permanent home with them.
Foster parents are called on when needed, sometimes the stream of foster kittens is constant but as a volunteer foster parent you can have holidays when you need them.
Lisa does sometimes take her foster kittens on vacation. This is good for the kittens as they get to socialise with more people and sometimes dogs, making rehoming easier.
Depending on their needs, the kittens are with her for up to five weeks.
As a foster parent Lisa says she is so well supported by the amazing team of volunteers and staff at the SPCA in Ashburton.
The SPCA provide the food, kitty litter and pay for vet visits. Foster parents do take the kittens to the vet.
The SPCA relies on donations and volunteers. They have their street appeal coming up on March 6 and need volunteers for that.
They need donations to keep the services operating and they need more great volunteers like Lisa to be foster parents.
Mid & South Canterbury appreciates all the wonderful volunteers in our community. We are always on the lookout for nominations. Nomination forms are available by contacting Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury, Community House, 44 Cass Street Ashburton, ph 3081237 ext 240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up a copy at Four Square in Rakaia.