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It's no surprise to my family how much of a softy I am about animals. I can recall back to the age of 8 and having my own kitty. My first memory of my Siamese called Sassy was that my mom took her off someone's hands because she was a runt and he was going to brutally shoot her because she was small and she had 4 or 5 siblings already.

My mother, not one for gun violence, especially towards animals, didn't even think twice to ask if she could take the kitten home.

I had Sassy for 11 years, and when I was 19, I moved out of my mom's rent house and couldn't take my pets to my new apartment, so I left her in the care of my favorite high school teacher who admitted his children loved her very much. I was very pleased that even as a fat, old cat, she could still be just as loving as she had been growing up with me.

Witnessing my mother have so much concern and love for a homeless animal left such an impression on me.

While I was growing up, my mother lived out in the country, so there was always animals running around and I rescued several animals myself. One being a 3 week old kitty left on a porch and was being used as a feast for a colony of ants, and a puppy of only 3 or 4 weeks old being used as a chew toy by an older sibling. They are both now in a good home.

There was one kitten I just had to keep. I found him at my mother's and he was very small and was covered in fleas. I felt so bad for him, I gave him a bath and immediately begged my mother to let me keep him.

I called him Fingerling, Ling Ling for short, and he quickly became the love of my life.

Unfortunately, this past February, a former roommate of mine left a window open overnight in our apartment and he, being a very curious little guy, went outside and I never found him.
Image Ling Ling sporting his new sweater: Winter 2011

As heartbreaking as that situation was, I missed having a pet, so I adopted a kitten from one of the local animal shelters.

Then it turned into a situation where we felt that the one we had needed a friend and adopted a playmate for the other one. The fun thing about them, Thor and Terra, is that we unknowingly adopted two kittens that were estimated to be born 1 day apart.
Thor and Terra taking a cat nap on each other: Summer 2012

Adopting the kittens we have now has really made me step up my efforts in volunteering for the animal shelters here in Victoria. I have always done a little bit of volunteer work for them, but seeing how hard kennel attendants work to care for all of the animals they take in really make me want to work harder for them.

Here lately, it seems that when I come into contact with someone and I tell them I do this volunteer work, I get strange looks and get questioned as to why I want to work without getting paid in this type of economy.

The answer is simple, I love the work, and I love being able to help an animal in need. I really don't care if I get paid for the work or not; I know that I'm doing something good for something that wouldn't have had a chance to have a family.

Both shelters here in Victoria allow new volunteers to sign up. Each one has its own type of sign up process and orientation, but both are very self explanatory. They host events where you can volunteer and get service hours, and it's a great way to fill up time where you would be bored.

Getting into volunteering with animal shelters can look great on resumes or college transcripts! Below are the links to volunteer registry pages for Victoria shelters I'd love to see a larger turnout of volunteers at events.

How to get involved

Adopt-A-Pet Victoria: Ways to help