CFC News

MCRUDERS_with cats_aug2014 (1024x815) (800x637) CCraig and Cheryl McGruder love the 150 cats and kittens who reside at Caring for Creatures. They have been enthusiastic volunteers for 10 years.  In the beginning, they volunteered the first Monday of each month, cleaning one of the rooms at the Scratching Post.  They helped the staff as they got to know and love the cats.  Eventually once a month was not enough and they started coming every Monday.

It is almost impossible to name the number and variety of tasks and projects that Craig and Cheryl have undertaken for CFC.  They do laundry (and put up a clothes line to help with this task) and dishes (no small task with 150 felines).  They have replaced the countertop surfaces in each cat room.  They built cat steps and benches and patio tables.  They had a Memory Garden constructed in honor of their parents, which provides a wonderful place for everyone to enjoy the peaceful Sanctuary that is Caring for Creatures.

The McGruders clean the leukemia positive room, which contains, in their words, “some of the most awesome cats at CFC. Watching them play and zip around the room is so rewarding and even if we have them for only a short time we know they are safe, warm, well fed, and loved without limits.”

Craig McGruder was born in Richmond and grew up in Henrico County.  Cheryl moved to Henrico County when she was very young.  They met in high school and married in 1969.  They have lived in Goochland County since 1977. They got to know Caring for Creatures initially when they were volunteering with a small cat rescue group in Richmond.  They had a FIV+ kitty named Mr. T and CFC agreed to accept him.  They were so impressed with the Sanctuary and its mission that they promised themselves that they would volunteer at CFC when they retired (a promised they kept!).

When asked about their favorite part of volunteering at Caring for Creatures, Cheryl responds, “The feeling I have at the end of the day that we have helped in some small way.  Mary is such an amazing woman that you just want to help in any way you can.”  Craig adds, “Interacting with all the different kitty personalities.  We mourn when one passes and we celebrate when they go to their forever loving homes.”  They both love watching a shy, scared and sometimes terrified cat realize that everything is going to be OK.  Seeing that stark fear leave their eyes to be replaced by trust and love is so rewarding.  They also have met some very special humans at CFC.

When they are not at the Sanctuary, Craig and Cheryl live with 9 very spoiled kitties ranging in age from 4 to 15.  They also foster a very petite 4 year old FIV+ kitty from CFC named Porsche as she recovers from dental surgery.  Five of their cats were adopted from CFC and four were rescues from Richmond.  Sitting in their sun room reading the Sunday paper surrounded by these wonderful creatures is one of their favorite activities.

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Donna and Lulu

Donna and Lulu

Donna Horan has been a really “sweet” volunteer for Caring for Creatures since 2005.  She began making and selling baked goods soon thereafter, donating the proceeds to CFC.  Her baking has satisfied many a sweet tooth and bread lover!  When Donna isn’t baking, she is busy walking CFC dogs, washing them, helping with fund raisers, and transporting dogs to and from CFC’s very helpful Veterinarians.  Donna also sells dog bandanas, cat toys, and she has just added cat nip bags, all of which provide much needed revenue for the Sanctuary.

With all of her caring for Creatures activities, it’s hard to believe that Donna has time for anything else, but she loves cooking and baking, working around her great house, traveling and cruising, and having family and friends come to visit.

Donna and her late husband Bernie lived in Hicksville Long Island, New York before moving to Lake Monticello.  They built their house in 2003 and moved in in 2005.  Soon after, persuasive Sue Scott (see other Volunteer Spotlights) came knocking and asked Donna if she liked animals and would be interested in helping at an animal sanctuary walking dogs once a week.  Donna said yes and the rest is history.

When asked who her favorite dog is, Donna chose Lulu, a five year old black and tan beauty.  “She really is beautiful, she’s house trained and just a sweet girl who needs a loving family,” Donna said.

Donna’s husband died in 2012. She is sustained by the love of her friends at Lake Monticello, her family, and the unconditional love of her four legged friends at Caring for Creatures.  CFC is a peaceful spot to walk dogs, and the rural setting and the quiet helps to reduce stress.  In her words, “you get to escape for several hours from the craziness of the world.”  She especially appreciates the “thank you” and the “I am glad to see you” doggie kisses, and the barking and tail wagging when she arrives at the Sanctuary.  It makes her day!

Come find out for yourself why Caring for Creatures is such a special place.  You can meet Lulu and the other dogs and cats at CFC.  You might even see Donna walking or washing dogs.  You can also check out the dogs and cats at www.caringforcreatures.org.

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