top of page


Please tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Lena, I am 27 years old. I’m originally from Germany but have been living in Ireland for about 3 years now. I am living with my two dogs and two cats in the countryside in Kerry. I am working from home which allows me to volunteer with animal rescue while having a full-time job. I’ve always loved animals and I got my first dog Skippy about 4 years ago.

How do you volunteer with KLAWS?

I started with kitten fostering which turned into fostering adult cats and occasionally puppies. I am also involved in social media and transport, if needed. I like helping with whatever I can really.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer with an animal rescue charity?

When I came to Ireland I had no idea about the animal welfare situation here. I learned that rescues are struggling and always need help. I adopted two cats myself and when I found a pregnant feral cat outside, I fostered her and her kittens. Since then, there have always been foster cats in the house.

What have you learnt from volunteering?

I’ve learnt a lot from volunteering! From taking care of small kittens and puppies to helping cats with medical needs. I am constantly learning about new conditions and behaviours. It’s helping me to grow as a fosterer as well as a pet owner. But not only have I learnt about things that are directly related to the animals. I have met a lot of like-minded people and learnt about the overall situation in Ireland and how each and every one can help.

Is there anything about volunteering that you didn’t expect?

I didn’t expect it to be as rewarding as it is. I was worried I’d be left sad whenever a foster leaves to their forever home. But it’s exactly the opposite. It’s very rewarding and heartwarming to see them in their homes and with their families.

We know that working with rescue animals can be challenging — it can be stressful and heart-breaking at times. How do you cope with difficulties?

It’s definitely not always easy and it can be a lot at times. Whenever there’s a situation that makes me sad, I try to remind myself how many animals I’ve helped and will help in the future. Even though we can’t save them all, we can still try and save as many as possible and give them the best possible life!

What have been the high and low points of your time as a volunteer? Maybe you have some standout (foster) stories to tell?

The worst foster story is Stormy, definitely. I found her myself all alone on the road. She was only 4 weeks old, soaking wet from the rain, and she barely made it home because she was so sick. I warmed her up and rushed her to our vet. I bottle fed her until she was strong enough to eat herself. She had a little cave with a hot water bottle, and she was doing much better eventually! Sadly, I found her deceased one morning after weeks of nursing her back to health. We don’t know what caused her death, but it was probably inevitable. It was absolutely heart-breaking, and I needed weeks to accept that I still did my best even though the outcome was not as we had hoped.

My favourite foster story is Leo. He showed up in someone’s backyard sick, underweight and with a broken front leg. I went to collect him. He ran right up to me and let me lift him into the transport box as if he knew he’s being rescued. I brought him to our vet the next day. They said they wanted to try and save his leg! He just needed some time to recover and gain some weight, so he’d be strong enough for such a big surgery. The first two weeks of crate rest. As soon as he was well enough, they operated on his leg with great success! He learned how to use his leg again and I did physiotherapy with him daily to help him build muscle. After 6 weeks of crate rest, he was a happy, healthy cat. Eventually I would leave him meet other foster cats. He was very scared and passive around them. He never seemed to be comfortable, and some other cats liked to mess with him. So, he was a loner until Rosie moved in. They immediately seemed to have a connection. Even though she also liked to annoy him from time to time, Leo just seemed to love her. Their friendship got stronger and stronger, and I could not stand the idea of homing them separately from each other. So, we put them up for adoption as a bonded pair. It took a while to find a suitable home, but they found the best one! They are living the life I wished for them from the beginning. They are so loved and, most importantly, they can spend the rest of their lives together.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?

If you ever thought about volunteering with animal rescue, absolutely go for it! It’s not for everyone but it’s worth giving a try! It’s really fulfilling and rewarding, and I think a lot of people can benefit from working with animals in this way.

bottom of page