Volunteer of the Month: Carol Porteous

Volunteer of the Month: Carol Porteous

Few people have so much experience in all areas of RAPS!

The Volunteer of the Month for January 2022 is someone who is familiar to most people in the organization – and someone who is familiar with pretty much every facet of RAPS!

Carol Porteous began volunteering at RAPS almost by accident close to a decade ago. She wanted to adopt a cat, so she headed to the RAPS Shelter (then located on Number 5 Road). She found what she was looking for – and more.

Benjamin, the cat she adopted, is now a health, 20-pound behemoth. However, the adoption was only the beginning of Carol’s RAPS story. She heard they were looking for volunteers at the Shelter, so she signed up. But things really took off when she heard about the RAPS Cat Sanctuary for the very first time.

“The first time I saw it, I fell in love,” she recalls. “I couldn’t believe that such a place existed, all these cats who are unwanted, with behavioral issues, the sick who might have been euthanized who deserved to live or the feral cats that become so tame they run to greet you. I immediately started volunteering there.”

From there, she began helping to organize events and fundraisers, such as pub nights, galas, adoption events, RAPS’ participation in the Steveston Salmon Festival and many others.

Apparently not busy enough, Carol then started trapping feral and stray cats. Then she began volunteering at the (original) RAPS Thrift Store, quickly rising to become manager. Soon, she was a member of the RAPS Board of Directors.

“I was just all in,” she says, with her easy laugh.

About the time her husband Steve was retiring, Carol decided to slow down a little, so she retired from the thrift store.

“Now I volunteer three nights a week at the Sanctuary, which I absolutely love,” she says. “I just love those cats. I do the P.M. shift, which means I go and feed them, refresh their water, scoop, and relish the quiet serenity of the Sanctuary and unconditional love from the kitties. I bring them salmon and chicken and canned food — I treat them all the time so it’s kind of like a Beefaroni commercial when they see me. They all come running, which really warms my heart.”

When she sees something that the Sanctuary could use, she routinely goes out and buys it to donate.
Being in the right place at the right time also allowed Carol to capture a video of Ariel, a Sanctuary resident, having a rumble with a garden hose – a video that went wildly viral.

Carol admired RAPS’ no-kill commitment and, after all these years, is in awe of our “Kitty Club Med.”

“To keep a place like the sanctuary going is incredible,” she says. “I just think they’re doing a great job and I’m glad to help us much as I can.”

In addition to the satisfaction Carol gets from all she does, she also aims to inspire others to commit to RAPS.

“I hope other volunteers are inspired to get right into it as well and help out, contribute,” she says.

RAPS is so lucky to have Carol in our family. Congratulations on being January’s Volunteer of the Month – and THANK YOU!

December 2021 Volunteer of the Month is Ron Rouben!

December 2021 Volunteer of the Month is Ron Rouben!

Rob has been volunteering at the Adoption Centre since August, when we started welcoming volunteers again. He has such a positive and friendly energy and always asks the staff if there are extra duties to perform on top of his regular tasks. He also often steps up to fill in for volunteer absences on top of his two regular weekly shifts.

We asked Ron a few questions …

Why did you choose to volunteer at RAPS?

The answer to that question is two-pronged.

First, I chose to volunteer because I needed an injection of purpose and meaning into my life.  The welfare of animals is something that I care deeply about so I figured that I should dedicate my efforts towards that very worthy cause.

Second, having decided that I was going to get involved in the animal health sector, it was now time to select an organization to ally myself with. I began to do some research to narrow the list to a few finalists and discovered that RAPS is a no-kill facility and that really stood out for me. Who wouldn’t want to support such an initiative!?

What is your favourite part of volunteering?

My favourite part of volunteering is the building of relationships with all of the cats in the adoption room.  It is very uplifting to be in a position to earn the trust and affection of the cats as the weeks pass by.  

Another element of volunteering that I really appreciate is the sense that I have done something important on the days that I am on duty at RAPS. My shifts there allow me to feel that I have contributed positively to the health and happiness of the cats in our care and that is extremely rewarding.