It's been busy weeks for our shelter in Inawashiro! For me as well...I’m teaching again, and supporting school programs, while trying to also help support JCN group admin. Some of my former elementary school students are currently working on a project to fund rescue efforts in Fukushima, by working on some original cat artwork! More about that in weeks to come.
April and Vanessa, our admin interns extraordinaire, have continued to tell you about many of the specific events and people in their weekly shelter updates and volunteer spotlights on the website news section! If you haven't been checking these out, please do so on the main page at japancatnetwork.org
Earlier events include some very athletic and charitable visitors, Jim’s cow feeding trips again (and again), new volunteers arriving from far and away, and a kind crew of English teachers helping to raise funds.
I've seen several very nice updates on feeding the cows AND roosters!! The hardworking volunteer managing the cow feeding sent some beautiful pictures of the roosters happily eating grapes :-) Not only the cows and Roosters were helped...Jim and April stopped into one of the small shelters that we would like to begin helping more regularly, and cleaned a bunch of kitty litter boxes. I know how much this must have meant to the kind woman usually doing most the work herself there! What an opportunity to be part of something that directly benefits animals surviving in evacuated areas, not to mention the people who care for them! Another trip out scheduled for this weekend—not too late to be a part, for those interested!
The Heritage girls on Yokosuka collected some fantastic animal goodies and supplies for us, and Jim brought them up on one of his trips up! This collection was accomplished primarily by two active young girls! We are always in need of supplies at the shelter, and supply drives are a great way for people to pitch in. Any extra supplies can also be shared with other shelters. If you're interested in helping this way, and need more information to get started, please contact us at [email protected]
Another reminder of days and nights spent in evacuated Fukushima, tracking down animals, came in the form of a thank you message from one of our adopters. She sent pictures of her two happy kittens, now grown, saying "Welcoming these two babies has been the best decision I've ever made. You cannot image the love, help and support I receive from them. Thank you!!" That brought me back to the cold snowy night another volunteer and I spent trapping, in evacuated Fukushima. Seeing the two kitties now safe, happy, and so far from where they'd been rescued, made me think about the concept of impact.
Participation in socially impactful work isn't usually about big dramatic happenings, like the ones we often watch on the news or see on Facebook...it's mostly about quiet moments. It's about one dark night, in a lonely shed in Fukushima and two tiny kittens (Mama, too!). Which is about where 3 little lives changed direction, and SO much more. Because it's also about how we got there, and what happened after. How many people's lives intersected at this one point in time, and what ripple effect was to follow. And, this is what I love about what we do. These moments are little seeds, planted, tended, and then popping up here, there...years later, WAY over there. Sure, some people walk on by these wild flowers, paying little attention. Some people inexplicably (and frustratingly) stomp right over them. But others will take significant notice, and that will encourage them to take their own positive action. As a result, new seeds are planted, which means new growth, more seeds, more lives...it goes on and on and on.
There have been some sad days this past month, many tired hours, and a few dropped plates…we keep picking up and starting again. Along with all of that we've been lucky enough to watch some quiet moments of wonder and joy, too. A successful TNR project completed...the cooperative rescue of a very needy Kansai cat (Sesame is now looking for a loving home!)…happy adoptions and fosters of pets once rescued in terrible shape...teamwork brought a dog from a terrible life at one end of Japan to find a new loving start on the other…lonely roosters happily eating grapes...more happy cows.
We are very thankful for these amazing little (and BIG) acts of love that are set to become so much more! We invite you to be even a small part...
Here are some specific areas where we need your help this month:
!. There are two very needy shelters operating in restricted areas, with quite a few dogs and cats in their care. They need volunteers to assist on clean up duty, at least once in a while, and they've asked for our help. We have the volunteers and we have drivers willing to come up to help out, but the drivers (who've already given lots and lots) understandably need some help with gas money. If this is something you are willing to contribute to in any way, please let us know!
2. The shelter needed a big repair on the septic tank and we've thankfully raised nearly half of the required cost. It's not very glamorous, but it is a very much needed part of keeping our shelter running--and I promise you, the kitties depending on that are little super stars! We generally just scrape by at the shelter, so a big bill like this is very hard for us to cover. Any and all help greatly appreciated.
3. We need bilingual admin help with some organizational details. If you are able to at least be part of a committee, and take on one small aspect from a distance, you could help those of us stretched very thin to do a better job.
4. We are looking for a volunteer or low-cost vet visit at the Inawashiro shelter, for some minor health maintenance issues. If you or someone you know could come out to lend a hand this way, please contact us!
5. There's a request from a feeder/rescuer going into Namie weekly...she is looking for fosters or adopters for some very sweet FELV or FIV positive kitties, rescued from the restricted area, currently otherwise in good health. These kitties can do very well on an ongoing basis, but particularly the FELV+ should not be kept with other cats, which makes sheltering very difficult. If you could open your heart and currently cat free home (or FELV+ home) to foster a special needs Fukushima kitty, please let us know. It would mean a lot to that kitty, to the kind rescuer, and also to a kitty still waiting for a chance to come into shelter!
And, of course...many other ways to help (us or anyone else who needs it)! As Jane Goodall says: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."
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