From January 1st to December 31st OC Animal Care Volunteers volunteered over 20,000 hours and on Saturday, January 24th OC Animal Care Staff had the great privilege to recognize all of their hard work and dedication during our annual Volunteer Recognition Event. Our volunteers are amazing individuals who are passionate and dedicated to promoting adoption and supporting OC Animal Care. The first awards that were given out were to our exceptional foster caretakers. Our foster families take in injured or orphaned animals into their homes and provide personalized care and love until they are ready to be adopted. Last year our fosters took in 587 animals including 473 kittens and 58 puppies! 16 volunteers received the Outstanding Foster Caretaker Award for fostering over 100 days last year alone. Other volunteers received awards for more than 100, 250 and 500 hours completed in a year. This Year’s Lifetime Award for those who complete 4,000 hours total went to Sharon Warren who is recognized by her passion for our pets by all staff and fellow volunteers. Our Volunteer of the Year was Cathy Franklin who has outstanding dedication to our adoptable animals. She improves the lives of countless foster animals in her home, paying for their spay surgeries in advance so they can go home the same day she brings them back and tirelessly arrives hours before Events to help us prepare and decorate the shelter. She spends many evenings per week devoting her time to re-releasing feral cats back into their cities and advocating for our spay and neuter plan. Each year the County of Orange recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions through the Excellence in Volunteering Awards. This awards program reinforces the County’s long-standing commitment to involve all volunteers in a full range of activities. It celebrates the successful partnership between county employees and volunteers whose combined efforts enhance services for OC residents. Our first recipient was Cindy Widdall who has been a volunteer with OC Animal Care since November 2013, and during that time, she has dedicated more than 1,920 hours of service. Her passion is working in the shelter’s rabbit area where she socializes adoptable rabbits and prepares detailed recommendations for potential adopters based on each rabbit’s personality and temperament. Cindy is a passionate advocate for OC Animal Care staff and volunteers who team up in their goal to educate the public about adoptable pets, shelter operations, the humane treatment of animals and the importance of spaying/neutering. Over the past year, she has helped to double the adoption rate for rabbits –Between November 2012 – November 2013, there were 223 rabbit adoptions at OC Animal Care. During Cindy’s tenure, between November 2013 – November 2014, 404 rabbits were adopted. Cindy’s positive attitude, great leadership skills, insightful recommendations and caring nature make her a valued and appreciated member of OC Animal Care’s volunteer team. Our second recipient is the team of Kim Kane, Ace Mask and Kane the Collie. Reading with Fido is a shelter community outreach program that helps educate Orange County youth about the responsibilities of pet ownership. Reading with Fido support comes from three very active volunteers – Kim Kane, Ace Mask & Kane the Collie – who dedicate countless hours and incredible energy to working with youth at libraries and schools throughout Orange County in an effort to spread the word about the importance of caring for family pets. Reading with Fido is an exceptional and unique program; however, Kim and Ace have taken it to the next level with the creation of two, shelter-specific books – “Katy to the Rescue” and “Katy Cares.” The books are read and presented to children attending each event. Ace authored both books, and he and Kim partnered to recruit a volunteer photographer, volunteer actors and a graphic artist to create eye-catching and professionally-produced publications. Through the involvement of Reading with Fido volunteers, OC Animal Care has a direct link to the youth of Orange County, which provides an opportunity to educate thousands of young people on the importance of responsible pet ownership. Our third recipient is a team of exceptional people known familiarly as Cats in Need Yorba Linda, the driving force behind OC Animal Care's Feral F.R.E.E. program. The Cats in Need Yorba Linda volunteers provide direct support to OC Animal Care’s Feral FREE program, which alters feral cats that are brought into the shelter and then releases them back to their original neighborhoods. The Feral FREE program’s implementation and continued success can be attributed to the ongoing involvement and high level of commitment of the Cats in Need Yorba Linda volunteers. OC Animal Care’s Feral FREE program, which is supported by an exceptional team of Cats in Need Yorba Linda volunteers, saves approximately 90 percent of the feral cats that are brought into the shelter. In addition, there is a decrease in the number of kittens coming into the shelter each year. In the year and a half that the program has been in operation, OC Animal Care has experienced a 30 percent reduction in the overall cat euthanasia rate and a 14 percent decrease in kitten intake. The unique and innovative partnership between OC Animal Care and Cats in Need Yorba Linda began on April 1, 2013, and since that time, the 15 volunteers who are an integral part of the program have contributed thousands of hours of service. As a result of their efforts, more than 3,000 cats have been successfully altered and released back to their original neighborhoods. OC Animal Care is grateful for all of the time, compassion and care our volunteers bring to our pets, we truly appreciate all that they do.
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