I collaborated with a different set of co-workers recently. They were quiet chatty and a breed of their own.
My co-workers for a day — Ethan, Belle, Maggie, Bella, Rosie and Lori – are cats at SART, a cat shelter located in St. Marys, Ohio., where I spent a day volunteering.
At Marketing Essentials, one of our benefits includes a Pay It Forward day that allows employees to get paid for volunteer work. This year, I used my Pay It Forward time to volunteer at SART.
Having always loved cats and known at Marketing Essentials as the “office cat lady” (my 14-year-old cat often makes guest appearances at meetings), SART is a cause close to my heart. I have volunteered with SART Founder Sue Cheslock for several years now.
My Day Volunteering at SART
During my volunteer day, I assisted Sue by cleaning one of the smaller sections at the shelter, which is located at the Cheslock farm in rural St. Marys off Aqueduct Road. Some of my duties included:
- Cleaning and filling litter boxes
- Gathering linens to be washed
- Wiping down shelves, tables and crates
- Sweeping the floor
- Playing and brushing the cats
One of the main purposes of the area I was in — known as the quiet room — is to rehabilitate cats. For example, Bella was recently found on the streets of St. Marys with a litter of kittens (her second in the last six months) and was recovering from being spayed. Rosie, another feral cat in the quiet room, was brought to the shelter, having just given birth to young kittens.
Currently, there are approximately 180 cats at SART’s shelter, which is divided into three rooms on the farm. To date, SART has rescued over 4,000 cats.
Who is SART And What is Their Mission?
SART — originally known as Sue’s Animal Rescue Team — started when Cheslock began rescuing and rehabilitating cats in her garage and finding them new families. SART was officially incorporated in spring 2008.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” said Sue, who can name every cat at her shelter. Cheslock and her husband, Bill, worked with Mary Koons to develop the shelter into what it is today.
One of the organization’s biggest responsibilities in addition to the shelter is TNR — or trap, neuter, release — of feral cats in the community. TNR helps to control the feral cat population by spaying and neutering adults, so fewer offspring are produced.
SART partners with St. Marys Veterinary Clinic for the medical needs of the cats at the shelter and the kittens in foster homes.
How to Give Back to SART
There are few different ways to give back to SART. Here are some:
1. Adopt a cat.
SART cats have their medical work up to date and are house-trained. There are no adoption fees. Simply fill out an online application to get started.
2. Donate to SART.
P.O. Box 146
St. Marys, OH 45885-0011
3. Become a volunteer.
Another way to give back to SART is with your time. If you or a volunteer group are interested in becoming a SART volunteer, call 419-733-3650 or fill out the online form.
4. Attend an event.
SART participates in various events throughout the year. The next event is the Poker Run for Animals on Aug. 20, which benefits SART, Celina Cares and Deb’s Dogs.
5. Use community rewards programs.
SART is part of the Community Rewards Program through Kroger. It’s easy to sign up. Just create a Kroger account if you don’t already have one and find SART under the list of organizations. Learn more on the Community Reward program here.
Another option is shopping at AmazonSmile. Like Kroger, you can choose a charity to benefit. Simply choose SART as your charity of choice and shop through that link. Learn more about AmazonSmile here.