Pawsitive People: Jessica, Summer, and Nancy

Monday, March 18, 2024

In addition to our wonderful staff, we have an incredible team of dedicated and hardworking fosters and volunteers, without whom we could not dream of accomplishing our mission.
Thank you to all of our fosters and volunteers who help us save lives each day.

Meet three passionate animal advocates!

Foster Fam: Jessica and Summer

Some of our fosters work solo, and some commit to helping shelter pets as a family. Jessica Young and Summer Qabazard started fostering together four years ago, and together the couple has helped more than 100 animals! Mostly, Jessica and Summer foster mama cats with kittens, but they’ve also taken in dogs. They don’t hesitate to open their home and hearts to some tougher cases, like bottle-fed kittens or pets with special medical needs.

“The best part of fostering is knowing that we are saving lives,” Summer said.
Not every one of their fosters went back to the shelter, though – Jessica and Summer have adopted a few of their fosters.

They especially enjoy working alongside Kelly, our foster manager.
“Kelly Kraemer, the foster program manager, has coordinated the saving of countless lives. She is highly compassionate,” Jessica said.

Their advice to someone contemplating joining the league of lifesavers?

“If someone were thinking about becoming a foster, we would advise them to consider carefully whether they have the time and space to provide adequate care for their fosters. Then, we would advise them to take on what they are comfortable with and to remember to take care of themselves, too. Finally, we would tell them never to forget that they are saving lives and to enjoy every second of being with these sweet foster pets,” they said.

Become a foster

Volunteer: Nancy Knits

Nancy Kubisak visited Friends of Strays to look into volunteering opportunities. While she was here, she noticed that if adopters don’t have a cat carrier, many of our cats and kittens go home in a sturdy cardboard carrier.Nancy’s mother had given her a lot of yarn, and she had an idea: why not knit little blankets to fit inside the carriers to give the cats something to cuddle up with on their ride home?

Nancy began knitting “meow mats” and donating them to the shelter. In 2023, she knitted 331 mats. She averages about 30 per month, and she likes to style them in a 2-color block.

“I can’t volunteer at the shelter, but this is something I can do. I enjoy it,” she said. “This is how I help.”

Word has gotten around in her social circles. Her community friends at Gateway Square #5 Condominium began finding yarn and giving it to her to help with her meow mats. One friend, Dottie, has started learning how to knit the mats, too. A friend in Miami, Eva, recently donated a black trash bag full of yarn she’d found and collected to help Nancy’s efforts.

Nancy likes making the mats because she can fit it into her schedule however she wants. When she’s not busy, she can sit in her home next to her bookcase full of yarn of every color and knit.

She has a sweet supervisor, too: Nancy adopted a cat from Friends of Strays for her birthday two years ago. DJ Maui makes sure the mats are kitten-ready!

Become a volunteer