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RAPS Behind the Scenes: The Humans!

Meet Shena Novotny, RAPS Cat Sanctuary and Adoption & Education Centre Manager

RAPS is all about the animals! But caring for them takes people! We are going to introduce you to more of the human faces of RAPS in coming months – volunteers, staff, supporters and friends!

Today, meet Shena Novotny, Cat Sanctuary and Adoption & Education Centre Manager.

What does the Cat Sanctuary and Adoption & Education Centre Manager do?

This means that I manage two locations at RAPS – the RAPS Cat Sanctuary and the RAPS Adoption & Education Centre. The Cat Sanctuary is home to upwards of 500 cats every year. Cats that come to the Sanctuary are usually deemed unadoptable for different reasons, such as being feral or aggressive, having medical complications, inappropriate urination or incontinence, etc.

The RAPS Adoption & Education Centre houses adoptable cats and finds them their forever homes.

How long have you been working with animals?

I have been working with RAPS since November 2016

Why do you do what you do?

Ever since I was a small child, I have always had a very strong passion for animals and helping them. As I got older, this passion grew even stronger and I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of animals. I wanted to give animals a voice and be able to advocate for them. I wanted to help rehabilitate and socialize animals that have been mistreated and give them a life they deserve – free of fear and instead filled with love, happiness and comfort.

What is your favourite / least favourite part of the job?

It’s hard to pick just one favourite part. I love meeting and connecting with all the new animals that come into our care. It’s always incredibly rewarding when you receive a fearful animal and make a breakthrough to where they start trusting you – getting that first tail wag from a dog or the first purr or head butt from a cat is so exciting and gratifying. Another big favourite is when we find animals their new loving forever homes, especially the animals that have been more difficult cases due to trauma from their past or behavioural needs, etc. Lastly, I love my team! They are so wonderful to work with as they too are passionate and committed to the animals and their wellbeing. As well as they are all very hard workers!

My least favourite part is when we receive animals that have been neglected and/or abused and you see the hurt and pain in their eyes. Or when we lose or have to say “Goodbye” to an animal and send them to heaven due very severe medical problems that cannot be treated.

Do you have pets at home?

I have a bit of a zoo and love them all to pieces! My dogs’ names are Brixton (aka Brix), Sky and Cloud. My cats’ names are Harlem, Bronx, Indie and Oakley (aka Chocolate Baby).

Sky, Cloud, Bronx, Indie and Oakley were all adopted from RAPS.

What do you do when you are not at work?

I love to get outside and explore new places with my dogs by going on different hikes. Also going to the dog park almost every day as my dogs love socializing and playing with all the other dogs.

I paddleboard. It’s a very fun and relaxing activity and has allowed me to see some beautiful spots in B.C. this past summer.

I also collect rocks, gems and crystals. It is truly amazing the beauty mother nature can create.

On my lazy days I love snuggling up on the couch with my zoo and watching a good show or movie.