Pay it 4ward: Albuquerque animal shelter recognizes dedicated volunteer

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A little bit of love can go a long way. This week, KOB 4 helps Pay it 4ward to a longtime volunteer, whose crafts are giving cats at the shelter a little bit of privacy and a whole lot of comfort.

“Today we’re here to Pay it 4ward to one of our cat volunteers,” said Nichole Day with Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department.

Elida Rice is a crafty cat lover who makes curtains, beds and extra padding for the furry friends at the cattery at Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department’s Westside Shelter.

“She spends a lot of her own personal time, but I don’t think it’s even logged as volunteer time, to be honest,” said Day.

Her own money too, putting in the work at home, while also showing up at the shelter and taking part in their “Fraidy Cats” program.

“Fraidy Cats in general are cats that are super scared of people,” explained Day.

Curtains give cats the privacy to be themselves, a safe space, before heading to their forever home.

“What we do is we try to rehab them and get them used to people and get them used to the fact that people aren’t out to hurt them,” Day said.

Rice helped start the “Fraidy Cats” program on the Westside.

“She spends her time sitting with them, getting them used to having people just around,” said Day. “She does so much for not just the cats here in our shelter, but for our staff. She spends most of her time making all these things on her own time. And she also comes in, spends her time working with our fraidy cats getting them ready for adopting out into homes.”

So she decided to Pay it 4ward with $400.

“We’re here to Pay it 4ward to you today Elida because you do so much for us and for the cats. Like with all the curtains you made and the beds and all the padding, and all the time you spend with all of our cats. We really appreciate you and all the time that you spend with them, so here you go, thank you!”

“I did this because I love the cats. And I love these guys. They’re just so wonderful. And so I just wanted to always help them as much as I can, and support them and the hard work they’ll do, they really do. They deserve so many kudos,” said Rice.

Like most volunteers here, Rice has pets of her own.

“To volunteer, it’s the best. It just is the best. It just feels so good,” Rice said.

Turns out this Pay it 4ward came at the perfect time.

“My husband, I haven’t been on vacation and 22 years. Taking son and our family to Disney, so this is a bit, we’re leaving tomorrow. And so for us, it’s a really big deal,” said Rice.

But you can bet, once that vacation is over, she’ll be back here.

“I just love what I do here, and I love these guys so much,” Rice said.