Volunteer of the Month: Fred Neumann

FredNeumann1-300x300Fred Neumann is such an amazing part of our cat volunteer program. He is  here many times a week and really gives our cats and kittens the quality time they need. Fred takes the time to learn who they are and the special attention that each one wants. We are so glad to have him on our team!

When and why did you begin volunteering at the APS?

I’d admired the APS and the work they do for a long while—2 of our cats are APS alums—and wanted to volunteer, but my work schedule never seemed to permit it.  When I was downsized this summer, time was no longer an issue, so I became a cat volunteer as soon as I could.

You do so much for APS. Tell me about your job here. What do you like most?

Though I try to help the cat techs with their morning cleaning duties when I can, I mostly socialize the cats and kittens so that they, in turn, can socialize the lovely folks who adopt them.  The best thing about this is that mixture of joy and loss I get when one of the cats I’ve been working with finds its forever home. And, of course, there is the side benefit of being to lose yourself temporarily in a cat’s purr, which is calming, head-clearing and therapeutic and free—I recommend it to everyone.

What animals do you have at home?

My wife and I are the human companions to 4 cats: Fluffy, Wanda, Wednesday and Kali and we a recently adopted a dog, Cocoa.

Are there any stories about a particular animal here or anything else you’d like to share?

Several years ago, my wife and I went to APS and adopted a sleek, black beauty whom we named Morticia.  Tish quickly became my favorite cat ever, but we lost her early to cancer.  I was heartbroken and needed a way to channel my grief, so we went back to APS with a list of candidates culled from the website.  Our second interview was with a new arrival, another black short-hair, who wasn’t on the list.  A minute into the interview, she climbed onto my lap and buried her face in my beard; we filed the paperwork and put down our deposit 15 minutes later.  We called her Wednesday, and she’s the darling of the family.

Tell me a little about what you like to do when not here, including work or previous work, family and any hobbies you have.

Originally from Philadelphia, I’ve been a graduate student and professor at Duke and a manager at Barnes and Noble. I spend most of my time reading, writing, watching films and being socialized by my 4 cats and the dog.