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FFAR Volunteers

Cynthia Jacobson

I have been volunteering in the rescue community since 2004 and have been fostering since 2007. I was that kid in the neighborhood that always managed to have the stray animals follow me home.  Growing up I absolutely knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I took extra science classes in high school and had no doubts about my career choice.  Once in college though, my strengths were really people and business related and I ended up graduating with a Business major and managing in the human resources field. 
I still had a very strong love of animals and owned several cats as well as an Australian Shepherd dog.   Everyone who knew me knew how much I loved my Aussie as I talked about him a lot.  One of the people who happened to know how much I loved the breed also happened to be a local Shelter Manager of a shelter that had just opened.  Within a week of the shelter opening there was a gorgeous Australian Shepherd who was scheduled to be put down because she was sick.  Knowing how much I adored my Aussie, the manager called and asked if I would be willing to rescue the sick dog.  Of course I said I would and that night in 2007 I loaded up my very first rescue animal into my car to take home to an unsuspecting husband.  Soon there were numerous herding dogs coming through our home as a temporary place while I found new forever homes for them.  

While I was rescuing dogs I was also volunteering for a local rescue group in their cat area.  My daughter and I had actually been cage cleaners with a local rescue group for several years following our adoption of a kitten that had been found under some bushes at a local apartment complex.   Eventually I transitioned to fostering cats rather than dogs, although we still have had several rescue dogs that our family has fostered.  The rescue work with the animals has really been a family commitment.  All of our family has cleaned cat cages at adoption centers, my oldest son has fostered and done transport and my daughter and younger son have helped tremendously with socialization and care of the foster animals in our home.  

I did find that I have an affinity for caring for animals and have fostered over 500 animals through the years.  My specialty is dealing with pregnant momma cats and tiny kittens.  It is not unusual for me to be bottle feeding kittens each spring and I find it extremely rewarding to watch them grow and turn into gorgeous animals.  There has been more than a share of heartache as I deal with the most fragile of animals but the successes make it all worthwhile.
I have experience as a former Board member from another rescue group as well as experience managing the cat program.  Rescue work requires both people skills and a knowledge of animals so I’m able to put my job skills to work in a volunteer capacity.
I’m a founding member of Furry Friends Animal Rescue and I’m proud of our philosophies and our treatment of the animals and people who volunteer with us.  We’re one of the few member based organizations where we make it clear that our volunteers matter.  We are an all-volunteer rescue group with no paid members.  Our volunteers are what make a difference and I think we are extremely fortunate to have some absolutely terrific volunteers.
On a personal note – I’ve been married for a long, long time (since shortly after graduating from college) to a great guy who has coped with baby kittens in our bedroom crying at 3 am and scared cats in our living room while we socialize them.  He’s worked with many a foster dog to help get them adoptable.  The colder it is the less likely I am willing to take a dog outside and the more he gets stuck with that duty. 
We have three children; one who has graduated with a masters in Architecture and is working on his Architectural exams so he can be certified; one who graduated from college in three years and is in her first year of law school and one who is attending his first year of college.  They are wonderful kids who have dealt with cats giving birth during family birthday parties, have shared their bedrooms with foster animals and who have been loving and supportive throughout the years for a volunteer “job” that has many times taken me away from them when an animal needs me.
My current dog Lyndsey is an American Shepherd (also known as a mini aussie) who is in training for agility.  Actually she’s still in training for being totally housebroken and learning the word “come” but she’s a great dog and I adore her.  Our family also has four elderly cats including our last one who was adopted as a rescue kitten.  My husband has a sheltie who does agility and is a certified therapy dog.  We are currently caring for our daughter's dog while she navigates her first year of law school and our youngest son has our only foster failure – an Aussie/Sheltie mix.
Working with the rescue group takes most of my spare time but when I can I love to sneak in reading a book while a cat or two lays on top of me, or I’m out training my dog.  I’ll get up every three hours for a baby kitten but can’t seem to remember to water plants so I avoid my husband’s garden but he puts out some great fruit and vegetables each year.   I enjoy board games and play a mean game of monopoly and euchre ( a card game) while I’m not very good at Boggle or Trivial Pursuit.  No matter what I’m doing it usually involves my family including the four legged ones.