HCN News & Notes

Dakin Humane Society Plans to Reopen Kitten ICU in July

SPRINGFIELD — Dakin Humane Society announced the reopening of its Kitten ICU (intensive care unit), scheduled for July at its location at 171 Union St. in Springfield.

The KICU, which contains 24 kennels, is expected to be staffed by two volunteers and a staff person for each of its three daily shifts from July through Oct. 31. The Kitten ICU’s goal is to provide critical, life-saving care to kittens facing severe health challenges, including upper respiratory infections, dehydration, severe diarrhea, malnourishment, trauma, and various other complex issues. After treatment, the kittens typically progress to foster care, then adoption, which is made possible by the care received in the KICU.

The majority of kittens that enter the KICU will come from a variety of backgrounds; they are discovered outside and brought to Dakin by concerned people, or they arrive through Dakin’s Moms Fixed Free program or its all-volunteer Kitten Street Team. Additionally, many kittens are expected to be surrendered from households that cannot care for them. Typically, they are between 5 and 12 weeks old, with the majority being 5 to 8 weeks old. The seasonal program is expected to care for approximately 250 kittens who range from being frail to needing critical treatment.

“In order to successfully provide this program, we will need a core team of 50 volunteers to staff the KICU from July through October,” said Meg Talbert, executive director of Dakin Humane Society. “People in our region care so deeply about animals, and we are confident that we can recruit and train enough volunteers to help save these vulnerable kittens. Please reach out to learn more.”

Dakin is actively recruiting volunteers who can commit to at least one shift weekly during a two-month period of time and be available to occasionally substitute during the Kitten ICU’s other two months of operation, if need be.

Requirements for volunteers include the ability to function in a fast-paced environment; being comfortable handling and viewing sick, frail kittens; feeding and weighing kittens; assisting with cleaning; possessing an advanced skill set as it pertains to adhering to and administering medical protocols; monitoring vital signs; making medical notations; administering oral and eye medications; conducting examinations; handling needles for injectable medication; administering fluids; physical dexterity and visual acuity; and being able to bend, lift, and move quickly.