Local foster cats are lounging large and climbing high thanks to the Tofino Girl Guides.
Brownies and Guides, ranging in ages from 8-11, recently built and donated two cat scratching posts and cat hammocks for the Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Network.
“The scratching posts are used for a cat to scratch or climb and hopefully that means they’re not scratching the arm of one’s sofa or whatever cats get up to and the hammocks are just fantastic beds for cats,” CARE co-founder James Rodgers told the Westerly News. “For some cats, the only thing they want to sleep in is a hammock, which I get, why wouldn’t you?”
He said the new supplies will rotate through CARE’s network of foster homes and have already drawn rave reviews.
“The last report was that things were going well and everything was getting well-used,” Rodgers said. “Normally we wouldn’t be in favour of testing on animals, but when it comes to Girl Guide troupe-made cat hammocks and scratching posts, we’re quite happy to test them on our foster cats.”
Girl Guide leader Jeanette Martinolich told the Westerly that the girls chose the organization they wanted to support and picked CARE because of its valuable local impact.
“Part of the program is to take action, so we discussed what our choice would be to take action in our community and how we could support our community,” she said. “They made the choice, then they gave their voice and then they did the action.”
After making their decision, the girls spent their next two meetings assembling the hammocks and building the scratching posts.
“It’s great fun. We’re giving them skills, some of them had never used a drill before,” Martinolich said.
Rodgers said CARE has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the Girl Guides.
“We love them. I just love getting the call to come and visit, whether it’s for us to give a little presentation or receiving a great donation like this. They’ve been such a support for the animals in the region and I really just love the program,” he said. “I really think the Girl Guides are a perfect match for the volunteer spirit of our region. We have such an amazing community of big hearted folks that are willing to share their time and energy for the greater good and the Girl Guides are definitely a big part of that.”
Martinolich said there are currently 15 girls involved in the program in Tofino and 13 in Ucluelet, with ages ranging from Sparks, 5-6, Brownies, 7-8, Guides, 9-11 and Pathfinders, 12-14.
“It’s giving them leadership skills and it’s giving them opportunities to do something for their community and learn about volunteering. It’s learning life skills. There’s so many positive things,” she said. “It makes them feel good, it’s good for their mental health and good for their physical health; there’s so many positives out of it all.”
The program is winding down for the summer, but will kick up again in September and anyone interested in becoming a volunteer leader is encouraged to visit girlguides.ca or contact Martinolich at
“It’s great and you’re promoting wellness in youth, supporting them in learning skills, giving them opportunities to travel and giving them opportunities for scholarships potentially if they stay in long enough,” she said.
She added eight Pathfinders between Tofino and Ucluelet are currently fundraising for a trip to Thailand in 2022 and she encourages locals to keep their eyes out for their fundraisers.