This is a shout out to all the working staff at RAPS who do such an amazing job of keeping the hundreds of cats at RAPS healthy, comfortable and loved. Since I frequently refer to the staff in my blog posts, I thought I’d give the Wednesday night crew a chance at the spotlight too.Leslie is the sanctuary’s senior medical staff and gifted cat savant with a profuse knowledge of all the cats’ names and histories. How is it possible for one woman to know so much about so many cats? I guess it would be because that knowledge comes from a place of love for every single one of them.
Leslie started in 1998 after meeting RAPS executive director and founder at a garage sale back when it was known as the Richmond Homeless Cats Society. The sanctuary was built in 1999 and she has been here ever since. When I asked Leslie what she thought was the best thing about working at the sanctuary, she said this: "unconditional love from hundreds of wonderful little souls and getting to know each individual's personality. Taking care of their health needs is challenging, but very rewarding." Indeed, Leslie takes very good care of the sick cats at the sanctuary and I`ve no doubt that a good dose of her love is the best medicine around for those cats.
|Leslie and Ann holding Tugboat and Marmalade|
Ann started as a volunteer for RAPS sanctuary in 2008 and eventually worked her way to a medical staff position and works alongside Leslie every Wednesday night. Ann has a vivacious and infectious energy about her that brings about peals of laughter, fun and adoration from everyone two legged or four.
Often I come to work on Wednesdays and Ann will enthusiastically tell me about some new cat that has arrived and is always eager to take me to meet them. Fearless med staff that she is, she has plenty of scratch and bite scars to prove that she is dedicated to helping the sick and needy cats of the sanctuary.When I asked Ann who her favorite cat of the sanctuary was she said this: “well, I guess that would be Maxi man or Marmalade… or maybe Gilbert, but then there is Gunther and Sylvester and well Cagney is great and I can’t forget about Seven and also…” and well, you get the picture. An unfair question on my part really, how can you pick just one?
Doug works Wednesday nights but he keeps to himself and I don’t often get a chance to talk to him all that much. He keeps the sanctuary running smoothly, fixing just about anything and everything that needs some fixing. He has built some of the houses for the cats and keeps up on all carpentry and maintenance issues. That is a tall order with hundreds of cats running loose who keep him busy in the wake of their destructive ways. Doug is always hard at work whenever I see him but every once in a while I catch him with his laser light out playing with one of the cats.Doug plead the fifth when asked who is favorite cat was but I have been informed by the rest of the staff that Doug has an admirer in Josie who stomps around in delight whenever Doug comes near. She is absolutely overjoyed when Doug kneels down to pat her hind end which elicits an odd but endearing little dancing jig and singing number from this little lover cat.
|Doug with Josie by his side and Lincoln in his lap|
And finally there is Louise who came from South Africa and started as a volunteer in 2009, eventually finding a position in 2011. Louise has an incredibly gentle way with the cats softly talking to them and cooing at them while she goes about her work. She has an endearing laugh and a beautiful smile and seems to be able to read the minds of these cats with incredible insight. She always has a good story to tell about any cat you care to ask about.Though hard for her to nail it down to one cat, when pushed, Louise states she has a special affection for Buddy as he is just a sweet boy always ready for a cuddle.
|Louise with Buddy|
These four staff members are just a few of the dedicated staff who provide love and care for the cats at RAPS. You are all loved and appreciated not only by the cats, but the volunteers who work with you and make our experience at the sanctuary complete.