When Terry Lauerman, a retired high school Spanish teacher, walked into Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and inquired about volunteering, no one had a clue that he was going to make a world of difference. Lauerman, who wanted to spend time brushing the cats, became a hit on social media after pictures of him napping with his beloved felines were shared.
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary is no ordinary animal shelter. It is a non-profit organization that rescues cats with special needs from places where their chances of being euthanized are very likely.
Elizabeth Feldhausen, the sanctuary’s founder, told INSIDER: “We are a rescue for kitties with special needs that are at risk for euthanasia elsewhere.”
“The kitties are rehabilitated here, in a cage-free sanctuary, and then made available for adoption. Kitties with special needs need a lot of extra care and have lots of medical bills,” she further added.
So when Lauerman visited the sanctuary, he just “walked in with his own brush and started brushing cats.” Through brushing these cats he got to know every cat at the sanctuary, so much so that he can even tell you all of their likes and dislikes.
According to Love What Matters, Lauerman, who loves to pet cats, feels that they can be provided with better therapy there. This is mainly because it is a cage-free sanctuary.
“This is my home away from home, I’ve always liked cats and I don’t have them at my own home, so this is a real homey place for the cats and for me,” he told Green Bay News.
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…
But the most interesting part comes here: after some serious brushing sessions, he literally falls asleep on the couch with the adorable cats cuddled around him.
“If I’m tired I just fall asleep naturally on the couch and if I have a cat with me it’s a good thing, they enjoy being held and they like to go to sleep and so do I,” he said.
“Terry sleeps on accident like … every single day here,” Feldhausen said. “The cats love when he falls asleep, they always steal his body heat and sleep with him. I think he makes them feel safe.”
But little did Lauerman know that he was becoming famous with each passing day, as staff took pictures of him whenever he napped with the cats and posted them online. The pictures eventually went viral and went on to generate more than US$40,000 in donations in just a few days.
The series of pictures shared on Lauerman by the sanctuary has taken the internet by storm, garnering more than 96,000 likes and 26,000 shares.
One user wrote: “This guy is amazing I was there one day when he came in! Those kitties were so happy to see him! Brownie was literally jumping up in her play pen looking for a treat. Bless his heart for spending time at such a great place.”
Another jokingly commented, “Terry is clearly living his best life! Those look like the best kind of naps.”
“What a great man! The world needs more people like Terry,” an enthused user wrote.
What Lauerman and everyone else definitely learned here was the power of the “cat nap.” The donations will now go towards the projects and surgeries for his furry pets.
Jillian Dawson, manager at Safe Haven, said: “We are going to be adding two additional quarantine rooms so we can rescue even more cats, we are also going to be insulating the front and the back of the building to make it more energy efficient, we have some surgeries for cats we are going to be paying off as well as ones that will be coming up.”
“We all joke about if it would’ve been that easy for us to sleep on the job, we would’ve done it a long time ago,” Dawson added.
Safe Haven eventually made Lauerman an official volunteer, and he’s been dubbed “the Cat Grandpa” by the staff there. None of the staff there seem to mind when he falls asleep. In fact, they are more than grateful to have him as a volunteer.
Watch the video below:
Live with Terry 😻❤️🐾 #catnapterry #catgrandpa
Posted by Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary Inc. on Thursday, 20 September 2018