When Dawn Kleinfield adopted two kittens, sisters, from St. Hubert’s back in 2000, she liked what she saw at the shelter and decided to volunteer. Eighteen years later one of those kittens, Pi, is a retired therapy cat and robust senior, and Dawn is one of St. Hubert’s most dedicated volunteers and a passionate advocate for the cats.
A software engineer for many years, Dawn had a successful second career as a middle school math teacher. Since her retirement 4 years ago she has been able to devote more time to volunteering. She tries to be in the cattery four days a week, assisting staff, mentoring new volunteers and helping potential adopters.
For the past 4 years she has also served as a cat/kitten foster. Foster coordinator Kat and lead vet tech Sam know they can count on Dawn, that she will take excellent care of her fosters and act as an adoption ambassador on their behalf. She has only “foster failed” once. Dawn remembers that Pi was depressed and cried for weeks when her litter mate died at age 10. During this time Dawn was asked to foster Theo, a 6 year old male cat who had been hit by a car and whose leg was broken in four places. That was eight years ago; Theo was just what the doctor ordered for Pi, and he made himself right at home. He has pins and a metal rod in his leg, but Theo is a happy lap cat whose primary interests are eating and lounging on the couch.
Talking with potential adopters is Dawn’s favorite role at St. Hubert’s. “I like matching people up with cats; that is very rewarding,” she says. She stays in touch with some adopters, happy to offer advice and encouragement. And she has become indispensable to staff. According to one staff member, “Dawn is my right arm and my left arm. I couldn’t do it without her.”