Sandy Bush is a person that loves animals so much that she has dedicated her life to their well being. It was over 15 years ago that she received her Associate of Science degree in Veterinary Medicine from Portland Community College and she has been a Veterinary Technician ever since. Her compassion for animals runs deep and she gets much reward from helping them out.
About 4 years ago Sandy met Jennifer Hart, the now president of Furry Friends. Jennifer was volunteering at a Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) event and Sandy happened to strike up a conversation with her. Sandy was looking to contribute some time to helping cats and Furry Friends, which is located in Vancouver, Washington, was looking for more Vet Tech help with their growing organization. It was a purrfect match.
Sandy began her volunteer work with Furry Friends helping out the lead Vet Tech, and then it wasn’t long before she was the lead Vet Tech. Her work load has grown right along with Furry Friends requiring more and more of her time. For 2016 there have been about 200 cats under her care. That is a lot of cats for one person to be watching over. Some of the cats and kittens are adopted out quickly, while many more end up staying with Furry Friends for months and some for years.
When cats and kittens come in to Furry Friends, they all go through a wellness checkup with Sandy. This exam can take 15 to 25 minutes per cat. The kittens will end up having a 2nd checkup 4 weeks later. The initial exam includes: checking heart & lungs, testing for feline leukemia & aids, treatment for fleas, ear mites & worms, their eyes and skin is checked, scanned to see if they have a microchip. If the cat does not have a microchip, she will insert one. If the cat has not been spayed or neutered and is over 3lbs, they will be scheduled for an operation with Salmon Creek Companion Vet. If the cat has other health issues, they may have to go to visit the Vet at Claus Paws. In addition to the initial wellness checkup, she and Brianna the monthly vet tech, perform a monthly checkup on each of the cats in Furry Friends care which takes 5 hours to complete.
With so many cats in her care, there are always those needing daily medications. She ends up coming to the Furry Friends Halfway House one to three times a day to give medications. In addition to that she is run ragged taking cats to the vet. Right now there is a cat named Lillian with heart issues and high blood pressure and she has to see a specialist in Portland. Once her blood pressure is under control then we will need to take care of her dental issues. These vet trips take about 3 hours of Sandy’s time. Many other cats need teeth work, which Sandy is the one transporting them to Claus Paws to get the work done.
We would very much like to find more help for Sandy such as finding another Vet Tech that could work a few hours a week. Or perhaps someone is willing to transport cats to the vet or an experienced person to give some critical meds to cats so Sandy does not have to make one to three trips to the shelter each day.
What is impressive, Sandy, like the entire dedicated staff at Furry Friends, works on an entirely volunteer basis. Payment comes in the form of knowing she is making the world a better and safer place for kitties that wouldn’t have a fighting chance otherwise.
In the rare moments when Sandy is not consumed with cats, she loves to visit antique shows with her mom. She is also a car buff and loves visiting classic car shows with her boyfriend and watching NASCAR. Then she comes home to cuddle with her own two cats Nemo and Buddy. You guessed it; yes these were Furry Friends kitties that she adopted. You can’t work so long around these cats without one or two coming home with you.
We are so grateful for Sandy and her tireless effort for the kitties. She is an angel in the lives of our kitties and as a fellow volunteer for Furry Friends. She is a sacrificial person and it is an honor to work by her side.