by guest blogger, Alicia Fogarty, Westville, IN
When I was asked if I liked cats as my internship was being assigned, I knew I had gotten lucky. It isn’t everyday that your academic projects involve loveable, fluffy cats. It’s not even possible to be stressed when you know all your efforts will benefit 200 cats that deserve wonderful and loving homes.
One of my first meetings was at the shelter in Westville. I was warmly greeted by the people working at the shelter, as well as a huge orange tabby cat named Georgie. He was even the winner of this year’s Sweetheart Contest! Such a gentleman, that Georgie. This was the perfect beginning to my experience with the Independent Cat Society. I felt instantly welcomed by everyone, and I feel that can be a bit of a rarity when it comes to work experiences. I always felt respected and appreciated throughout my entire experience.
As I was touring the shelter, I learned of many cats that have been there for much longer than any cat should have to be, cats that have been there since they were brought in years ago. Out of all of the things I’ve done this semester, I hope at least one project I did could help a cat in need get adopted. All cats need loving homes and cuddles.
I’ve done local outreach within the community to help get the word out about Independent Cat Society and to help get donations. The caring people at ICS have taken on about 200 cats. At this point, they are hoping to build a larger building to house more cats and hold a new medical center. The importance of spay and neuter programs are crucial to save our cat population. ICS has been finding homes for cats since 1977 and show no signs of stopping. They can only continue to grow and I wanted to do everything I could in a short amount of time to help them achieve their goals.
I only did a few little projects in the grand scheme of things. I never did anything extraordinary, but I took on projects that had been put on pause. The ladies of Independent Cat Society are extremely busy, so I was proud to be able to help them finish any project that they had been meaning to check off their to do lists.
I got to do some pieces of writing that I am not accustomed to – this blog for example! I have written letters to businesses, attended some grant writing classes, wrote a kitten fostering manual, and met with some other non-profit organization leaders who have given me great tips and advice. This is an experience I will always look back on, and I plan to keep up with volunteering, whether it is once a year or once a month. Independent Cat Society has converted me to a lifelong supporter and I will always wish them the utmost success in all of their endeavors.