May 2022 Monthly Volunteer Profile: Marlene Puls
When Marlene Puls retired in 2010, she told herself she wanted to do two things: volunteer at the Winnipeg Humane Society and learn a second language. She’s aced her commitment to the WHS, but the Italian can be best described as a work in progress.
In addition to her weekly shift with the Behaviour Cat team, Marlene is a regular fixture at most Winnipeg Humane Society events, helping out wherever she can lend a hand. And she’s also a monthly donor.
“I chose the Humane Society because I like animals. I have cats and have had cats since 1982,” she explained. “That’s a long time.”
Marlene remembers how she got each cat over the years. The first was an Abyssinian she got from a breeder.
The next one was a stray found by her sister. Her sister and her husband figured Marlene would love the cat so they delivered it to her – from their home in Saskatoon. This one created a bit of a stir at first. “My mother said ‘anything but a black cat’ and what should come in the door,” Marlene laughed. “A black, long-haired cat. Not a short haired cat. But it was a very nice cat and I think he liked Mom better than me.”
Marlene has also adopted two cats at the Winnipeg Humane Society, another stray from a plant nursery in Portage la Prairie and the latest, a beautiful calico found as a stray (with no identification) in her niece’s yard. “So, over the years, I’ve had cats from strays to breeders to shelters and more,” she pointed out.
“After I retired, I told myself I wanted to be with the animals and see what the Humane Society is all about,” Marlene explained. “I wanted to try out being with the animals. I guess I like it because I’m still there.” Admittedly a cat person, Marlene also admits a fondness when she sees puppies in the shelter and wouldn’t mind interacting with them.
In addition to her weekly shift with the cats, Marlene has also helped out with special events like Paws in Motion, the December Bake Sale, the annual book sale, or just helping Administration wherever they need some assistance.
Marlene likes meeting people she meets at the shelter or at WHS events. “I enjoy the other volunteers and the staff,” she said. “I may not know everyone’s names but I recognize them and I know they’re all very friendly and love caring for the animals.”
She also enjoys visiting with people coming to the shelter to look for a feline companion. “You get to meet people who would like to adopt,” she pointed out. “I get to help them with that and I enjoy it. Sometimes some have just lost their pet so that’s difficult to try and choose a new pet. I try to help them whether they want to adopt that day or if they’re just looking for a bit of feline companionship.”
She admits to a fondness for mature cats, and feels it’s important to give them a bit of extra socialization at the shelter. They are not adopted as quickly as kittens so they need a bit more time from volunteers.
“There’s a cat for most everyone,” Marlene said. “Older cats are especially good if you’re looking for company. Many of the older ones like to sit in the sun or on your lap and cuddle, just enjoying a bit of companionship. Kittens have a lot of energy, but they need to get socialized in order to know people and learn to trust them.”
Written by: Brian Kozak, Volunteer MVP Writer
Photo by: Jim Harvey, Volunteer MVP Photographer
A group of volunteers founded the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894 and are vital to our success today! With the help of volunteers, we can provide care, love and attention to our four (and sometimes two) legged friends until they find their forever homes. The MVP (Monthly Volunteer Profile) recognizes the work and gets to know these special MVP’s in a spotlight each month that includes an article and photo shoot. MVPs receive a framed photo and gift card as our thanks!
Is there a volunteer you’d like to nominate to be MVP? E-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us why you think they should be an MVP!