On Volunteerism and Gratitude at HOD
Volunteering. For most people, the idea of volunteering evokes one of two very different images –a goody-two-shoes or someone who is paying penance. Let’s face it, volunteering isn’t always convenient, or fun, but the rewards, especially for HOD volunteers, are worth it.
Jennifer Johnson, a dedicated HOD volunteer, reflects on what it means to her.
Pictured: Jack, a volunteer socializer, with Ivey
Each time I walk into House of Dreams I feel gratitude for everyone who made it possible that the kitties at HOD are safe, loved, have good food, fresh beds, and clean potty boxes. Medical care, and most importantly for many of them – patience. These cats often come to us scared, traumatized, depressed, in mourning, and scarred. The amazing volunteers at HOD work with them to get them through that. To not be afraid of being touched, to learn that they are loved, to fix whatever medical issues we can fix.
In 2022 House of Dreams adopted 44 cats to their furever homes. Forty-four! I get completely choked up with that number, not because it’s a large number (though it is a HUGE number for us!) but because I know each and every one of the 44 cats, and I know what that number represents. It represents cats that others have given up on, abandoned, or sadly even abused. And at the end of 2022, I was filled with gratitude, that every one of those 44 cats were in their own HOME. Loved, cared for, by their OWN people.
Pictured: Emily, a volunteer cleaner, with Mischief
During Portland’s recent late February snow storm, I knew those 44 cats were warm and safe. They were safe and warm because of HOD volunteers—people who come to HOD weekly to clean the same potty boxes, wipe down the same walls, sweep the same floors, wash the same cat beds. People come in to coax the shy kitties to play for the first time. People come in at the end of their workday to feed and medicate the kitties. People who work on items for our fundraisers, or they volunteer AT our fundraisers. Volunteers show up to the catnip kicker stuffing parties. They fold and stuff envelopes with our newsletters. I have such gratitude for the number of people who voluntarily open their wallets – many monthly, many when they can. These contributions help us to keep doing what we’re doing, willingly, to make the HOD kitties’ lives better.
Thank you, Feltcave, for Keeping our Kitties Safe and Toasty!
The kitties at House of Dreams love cozy, warm beds, and the wonderful beds that we received recently from Feltcave are no exception! HOD volunteers and kitties alike would like to give a great big thank you to Feltcave, who reached out to us over social media last year. They indicated that they make a point to connect with shelters that they feel may be able to benefit from donated products, and they asked if we would be interested in receiving some very gently pre-loved cave beds for our shelter’s kitties.
We were thrilled to say yes!
This donation of these beautiful beds that had been returned to Feltcave due to size/color/cat preferences, but were unused, was a win-win for HOD! The beds are individually hand-felted with 100% merino wool by artisans from Kathmandu, Nepal, which provides a better life to numerous families.
Many of our kitties have enjoyed snuggling in the comfy beds, which are high-quality and adorable! The accompanying photos show some of our residents expressing their appreciation.
Thank you again, Feltcave, for reaching out to us and making HOD’s kitties very happy! We are grateful for your thoughtfulness and generosity.
Looking for a Home: Phineas and Ferb
These adorable young brothers made their way to House of Dreams from a sad situation in Georgia. Fleeing domestic violence, their human mom had to move to a shelter, where she couldn’t keep her kitties.
A kind woman, who previously lived in Oregon, agreed to foster Phineas and Ferb, but she also couldn’t keep them. Believing they’d get better treatment here than in Georgia shelters, she brought the cats to Portland. After a brief stay at another shelter, Phineas and Ferb came to House of Dreams. They’ve been entertaining us ever since!
These sweet southern boys have experienced a lot of turmoil in their young lives and they’re ready for a new human family that will appreciate their youthful energy. They like to run and tussle, love their cat toys, and are also amenable to curling up together in a box or basket.
Phineas is a short-haired tabby whose white tail tip looks like a cotton ball. He’s extremely energetic and quite agile, having so far summited the kitchen door, a step ladder, various cat condos and cubbies, and a curtain rod!
Ferb has long fur and dark tabby markings. He loves to “help” our volunteers prepare meals and would gladly taste-test every offering. He can’t fathom why he’s often banished from the kitchen at mealtime! One of his favorite pastimes is drinking water from the kitchen faucet.
The antics of these two goofy brothers keep House of Dreams volunteers laughing, but we’d be even happier to see them in a fur-ever home. They will do best as the only cats in a dog-free house with lots of room to run around and play. We’d be happy to have you come meet them!
Volunteer Spotlight: Izzy and Julian
They’re relative newcomers, having come to House of Dreams just six months ago, but Izzy and Julian have already distinguished themselves as valuable volunteers. “Julian and I both clean every other Monday,” says Izzy, “but we pick up other shifts when we can because we love going to see the cats so much!” Izzy recently added Friday snacks to her HOD resume and both have tabled on behalf of the shelter.
HOD almost missed out on the dedicated pair. Izzy says that she investigated volunteering at other shelters, but they were too far to travel. Then she saw a post about HOD’s search for volunteers. “Julian decided to tag along,” and both were won over by the House of Dreams kitties!
Away from HOD, Izzy is pursuing an animation certificate. She enjoys reading, video games, and riding her bike. Julian builds and rides bikes, and enjoys reading, photography and music.
The couple share their home with a spry 11-year-old orange tabby named Nyx. Described as “a feral cat masquerading as a house cat,” Nyx is a quirky girl who loves to stick her nose in stinky shoes, is “absolutely infatuated with Julian” and curls up in the crook of Izzy’s arm at bedtime.
Volunteering at HOD is both fulfilling and inspiring for Izzy and Julian. “I actually block out two hours from my workday” to do Friday snacks, Izzy says. She tells people it’s for therapy, “because being at HOD really does do that for me.” Both find joy in knowing that they’re helping to make life better for special needs kitties and cats needing to transition to their forever homes.
They find other HOD volunteers to be “pleasant and welcoming,” “We hope to someday claim years of volunteering with HOD, like other folks here.” That’s fine with the rest of us, too. Welcome to HOD, Izzy and Julian!