The Arc Volunteers Provide Life-Saving Aide to Abandoned Cats

pet adoptionFor five days-a-week, over the past four years, volunteers from The Arc Rockland’s Day Habilitation program have been taking turns feeding and caring for abandoned felines at two Rockland County locations. In addition to providing food and water to the rescued cats, the volunteers clean cages, change the litter, pet and play with the animals and provide much-needed care and attention while efforts are made to secure adoptive homes.

The program is the result of a partnership between The Arc Rockland and Rockland-Orange Furrever Homes, an animal rescue organization founded by Sharon LaGreca. “I began Furrever Homes in 2014 to rescue abandoned cats,” explains Ms. LaGreca. “I contacted two area pet stores, Petco in Nanuet and Pet Valu in West Haverstraw, which agreed to provide cages for some of the cats, with the stipulation that Furrever Homes remains responsible for their care and adoptive placements.”

Ms. LaGreca could not possibly care for all the cats on her own and was in need of volunteers.  Bryan Connelly, Coordinator of Community Connections for The Arc, is always looking for community-based volunteer opportunities for members of the Day Habilitation program.  Thus, a match was made. “The Arc volunteers are great with the cats, socializing and giving the kitties a ton of attention and affection,” says Ms. LaGreca.

Jonathan Cherubin, a Community Specialist at The Arc, accompanies one of the Day Habilitation groups to Pet Valu every Thursday.  “Not everyone enjoys being with cats, so I try to take those individuals who are cat lovers and enjoy playing with them and petting them,” he explains.  “Usually, the cats are a little hesitant when seeing new people.  We are very careful to make sure they don’t get out of the cages.  If they do seem like they’re trying to get out, it’s usually because they want to be petted.”

The volunteers enjoy the work as much as the cats they are helping.  “They talk a lot about the experience,” says Mr. Cherubin. “One who wants a cat of his own is learning firsthand how to care for a pet. Others have had pets before.”

“I like helping with the cats because it reminds me of the cats my family used to have,” says William Bailey, one of the volunteers.  “It brings back good memories.”

“I’ve adopted out hundreds of cats to good homes in the last few years, and the success is greatly due to The Arc’s volunteers,” says Ms. LaGreca. “They really do help to save lives.

Photo ID: From left: Jonathan Cherubin, The Arc Rockland Direct Support Professional with Jarron Walker and William Bailey.

Thank You to The Arc Rockland’s 2020 Corporate Sponsors: