How does taking a nice long nap on a couch cuddled up with a cat sound? Good? We think so too, and that’s why we’re totally jealous of Terry Lauerman.
Terry is an all-star volunteer with Safe Have Pet Sanctuary, a no-kill animal shelter specializing in the rescue of cats with special needs and physical disabilities. There, the compassionate 75-year-old spends time loving on all the wonderful kitties, and even works in a nap or two with them each and every day.
When Terry first started visiting the Green Bay-based shelter, it wasn’t just to take advantage of the cozy couch.
The sanctuary’s founder, Elizabeth Feldhausen, recalls how Terry came to be a volunteer in the first place in an interview with HuffPost. She said he showed up with his own brush to groom the cats with about a year and a half ago, and basically never left.
Though Terry never asked to be a volunteer that Feldhausen recalls, he apparently felt that he didn’t need permission and no one was going to argue with him.
““He just walked in and started brushing. So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form,” she recalls.
It would seem that the shelter isn’t just a sanctuary for cats, either.
In fact, the shelter boasts a beautiful “lounge” area with fluffy, overstuffed couches and nice ambient lighting; the perfect place to settle in for a nice cozy snooze. The shelter is cage-free so that the cats can roam about freely and enjoy the company of all the visitors as they please.
All of the cats in the sanctuary are disabled either mentally or physically, suffer from debilitating diseases, or would be set for euthanasia for some other reason, such as age, at any other type of shelter. Here, though, they can rest easy knowing an expiration date isn’t hanging over their heads, and volunteers and donations provide all the love and medical care they need.
Terry provides the snoozy companionship for the cats for roughly 3 hours, on the daily.
Each day, Terry moseys into the shelter, brush in hand and settles himself down with the first kitty to come leaping into his lap for a nice grooming sesh. Inevitably, the sweet senior begins to doze off along with his furry companion.
Not wanting to leave any of the other cats out, Terry even makes sure to wake up each hour to switch out the cats.
“[He sleeps for] about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats,” Feldhausen explains.
After about six months of the kind old man showing up every day to brush the rescue kitties and cozy up for catnaps, all of the staff at the shelter couldn’t bare the cuteness anymore. They decided they had to share it with the world and did so by posting a shout-out to Terry on Facebook:
“We are so lucky to have a human like Terry. Terry just came along one day and introduced himself. He said he’d like to brush cats. Eventually it became everyday. He brushes all of the cats, and can tell you about all of their likes and dislikes. He also accidentally falls asleep most days. We don’t mind – Cats need this! Terry is a wonderful volunteer. 😻❤️🐾#nappingencouraged#grateful“
The shelter’s post about Terry quickly went viral, receiving millions of interactions in a matter of days. More importantly, though, it inspired other people to see the senior going out of his way to make these cats’ lives more comfortable and they wanted to help.
When staff told Terry he was internet famous, his response was beautiful:
“Now if all of those people would just donate $5 to help the kitties, that would make such a big difference,” he said.
Little did he know that his newfound fans would take that statement to heart. Donations began rolling in left and right and when they reached $500, the staff released an image of one of the pages they send out as a request for sponsorship, detailing specifically what the money will go toward…and the donations kept coming.
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Within a few months of the post circulating the internet like wildfire, Terry had managed to raise over $62,000 for his best furry friends at the cat shelter.
The response to Terry’s adorable catnaps with the kitties inspired the shelter to deem him “Honorary Cat Grandpa”. They now sell mugs and calendars with a picture of him napping with the cats, and all proceeds, of course, go to helping make sure they are kept happy and comfortable.