A lot of people fear getting old, because ageing is often associated with loneliness. But a 75-year-old man in Green Bay, Wisconsin knows exactly what to do to do to keep sadness from seeping in his heart. His secret behind his happiness? Taking naps with cats at the animal shelter near his home.
Terry Lauerman is a 75-year-old animal lover whose heart has a very soft spot for cats. In fact, the old man frequently drops by the animal shelter in Green Bay to cuddle and take a nap with the rescued cats!
According to the founder of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary, a non-profit organization which rescues cats with special needs from being put down, Terry casually strolled in their shelter with a cat brush in his hands. From that day onward, a day did not pass by without Terry dropping by.
“He just walked in and started brushing,” Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder, shared how they first met Terry. “So eventually we told him he was an official volunteer and had him fill out our volunteer form.”
As a volunteer to the cage-free cat sanctuary, Terry enjoys tending to the cats and giving them just the right amount of affection they need. The old man spends his afternoon brushing their furs and stays there for about three hours every day. And once he is done with his grooming duties, Terry dozes off for a refreshing nap in the arms of the cats he loves so much.
“[He sleeps for] about an hour, then he’ll wake up and switch cats.” Elizabeth said, describing Terry’s routine at their sanctuary.
Terry dedicates ample hours of his day as a volunteer, so this means that he takes care of the cats everyday for free.
“He said, [the brushing is] as great of an experience for him, as it is for them.” Elizabeth explained the fulfillment Terry feels from spending time with cats.
The charming sight of the old man taking a refreshing nap while surrounded with cats pulled the strings of the hearts of the staff. The heartwarming sight is simply too hard to resist, thus, the staff always find themselves taking photos of Terry and the cats.
The first photo of Terry which the shelter posted on their Facebook page is a picture of him dozing off with his favorite cat- Louis. Surprisingly, the photo appealed to the followers of the page as well. In fact, in less than a day, Louis was welcomed into a new family!
Since then, the Facebook page of the sanctuary often posts photos of Terry surrounded with cats. Some of the photos were uploaded on their Facebook page along with the caption of:
“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.”
Terry’s photo went viral in an instant, which just goes to show that the staff at the animal shelter are not the only one smitten over the Terry’s adorable hobby. The viral photo reached over 47 thousand likes and about 25 thousand shares!
The viral photo of Terry did not only bring fame to the sanctuary, it also encouraged a lot of people to donate to the shelter.
“People have been donating $1, $2 or $5 dollars.” Elizabeth said, sharing how the organization has raised more than $20,000 in just two days. Aside from monetary donations, toys and cat necessities were also donated to the shelter by good samaritans.
The overwhelming attention of the internet to the sanctuary warms Terry’s heart. But more than the fame, the old man is more than happy to know that his passion for cats is bringing a lot of help to the animal shelter.
“Terry and I do not know what to think about all the attention. He’s just SO happy that his accidental nap is raising money for his loved ones – the cats.” Elizabeth said, voicing out Terry’s grateful heart.
Terry’s story just goes to show how our small gesture can create great ripples. For the 75-year-old man, he was simply dedicating 3 hours of his time doing what he loves, but his ‘simple’ hobby made a big difference in the lives of the cats residing in the sanctuary.
This amazing volunteer has a message for everyone below, watch the short clip and SHARE Terry’s heartwarming and inspiring story!
All Photos | Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc.