Volunteers find holiday cheer at Vancouver’s Humane Society on Christmas Day


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Utter enjoys walking in the woods behind the building with a dog, even if it is raining. The activities that volunteers do with animals, no matter how thankless, are important to their growth and development, he said. All of this contributes to the end goal of getting them adopted.

Overall, nurturing goes a long way. It takes time and a lot of love to build a good relationship with a dog, Utter said, because you don’t know what his past was like. Unfortunately, some animals in the refuge come from difficult and sometimes abusive situations.

Ryerson, who has volunteered at the shelter for six years, said the kittens and cats are delighted to see and be looked after by a friendly human being, which is beneficial for both the cat and the volunteer.

“It’s very uplifting (and) fun,” she said. “It really is a great place to be and you can really see wonderful things happening. It’s very important at this point in life, and it’s so beautiful.

Kittens and cats typically follow Ryerson around the cattery as she sanitizes their kennels and replenishes food and water. Sometimes she stops to have a short social session with the animals or to wrap them in a soft blanket, and takes them to the window so they can look outside.

“It’s a great morning,” said Ryerson. “I mean, it’s like 2.5 hours of play with a cat.”

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