Terry Laureman is a retired schoolteacher who has a way of connecting with both kids and animals, something that just seems to come naturally for him. After spending several years in the classroom, he eventually made the decision that it was time to retire and move on to something new. Not wanting to let his days pass him by without something important to fill them, he made the decision to start working with many of the cats at the local animal shelter.
At the time that he initially went to the animal shelter to inquire about volunteering, the shelter was bursting at the seams with cats, as it had far too many that were looking for homes. The cats seemed to be lonely and didn’t get much human interaction because the staff was so overwhelmed with the sheer number of animals that it was forced to deal with. As a result, he volunteered to start brushing the cats and spending some time with them in order to determine which ones were better candidates for adoption. As is the case with most people who decide to volunteer at any animal shelter, it started a lifelong love that has turned into something of a full-time job. The only difference is that instead of being paid in cash, he’s paid in love from the cats and the people at the animal shelter.
Most people don’t really think about someone brushing cat’s, but this was an idea that he came up with and it certainly has worked well. The cats responded very well to the attention and before he knew it, he had ended up adopting several of the cats from that very shelter. Today, he still works at the shelter but many of the cats that he originally met are now living in his house. Recently, a photo of him sleeping on a couch with an adoptable cat went viral, and as it turns out, this is something that he routinely does. He believes that napping with the cats increases their level of trust and puts them at ease, allowing a deeper bond to be formed between human and animal.
The viral photo wasn’t a total accident. He’s been trying desperately to raise money for the animal shelter for some time now and when the results weren’t coming in at the level he had hoped, he decided it was time to do something a little different. He thought it might capture the attention of all who saw the photo if they saw him sleeping on the couch with a cat from the shelter and he was right. That photo has been shared thousands upon thousands of times and the animal shelter is currently raising money at an unprecedented level. This allows them to get the word out about more cats that need to be adopted, not to mention giving them the extra funds to buy food and provide medical care for the cats that are already there. Hopefully, it will even give them an opportunity to add on to their current facility and make some much-needed updates in the near future.
As far as Laureman himself is concerned, dealing with cats from the shelter isn’t really that different from working with children and he means that in the best possible way. If you really stop and think about it, kids and animals are a lot alike. Both of them see the world through different eyes than the jaded eyes of a human adult. They’re wide open and they have an innate ability to sense who is good and who they want to avoid at a moment’s notice. Clearly, the cats that are at the shelter have gravitated toward him because they know that he has their best interest at heart. It’s the same way that he felt towards the children when he was teaching. He wanted to be able to take someone who was struggling with something and mold them into an individual that was stronger and more capable than they had been before. That’s exactly what he’s doing with the cats today. He’s helping to prepare them for an opportunity to be adopted out by making them more sociable and less fearful of other human beings. By developing those bonds, he’s giving them the foundation they need to grow and move forward in life, just as he did years ago in the classroom. If more people took the time to make the effort that he has, there’s no doubt that this would be a better, more positive world to live in for all.