Dedicated animal volunteer for Best Friends

Gail Takahata is an outstanding Best Friends volunteer, who has helped extensively with the Nye County Cat Rescue.
By David Dickson

This story almost wasn’t told. Not because it was hard to find, but because Gail didn’t want any sort of recognition for all she’s doing for the animals. But finally, after much persuasion (lots and lots of begging!), this frequent volunteer around Best Friends Animal Sanctuary decided to let us tell her story.

Goal to strengthen existing animal sanctuaries

Gail Takahata lives in San Diego, California. She came to Best Friends not long ago to attend the How to Start an Animal Sanctuary workshop, but for reasons you might not suspect Gail doesn’t plan to start a new sanctuary, but rather wants to help strengthen existing sanctuaries. "I make a better Indian than a chief," she explains.

A dedicated animal volunteer

Back in San Diego, she used to have a full-time job. Even then, she volunteered most of her spare time to local shelters, putting in 1,000 hours each year. That’s 20 hours a week all year long! Recently, Gail quit her job and has been upping the volunteer time even more.

Get info on how to volunteer with animals

Helping with the Best Friends Nye County Cat Rescue

Several months ago, she went to Pahrump, Nevada, to help out with the Best Friends Nye County Cat Rescue, an institutional hoarding case. Gail was a huge asset down there, and Best Friends staffers can’t say enough good things about her. In fact, she even slept in the feral cat play area for a week or two. She’d keep the cats company at night, play with them, wake up every 20 minutes or so to give them more attention, and so forth. She admits to becoming a bit of a zombie after several days of that, but insists it was all worth the loss of sleep!

Read about animal hoarding

Volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

After a month of volunteering in Pahrump, Gail came up to Best Friends to help care for some of the cats who moved from there to the sanctuary. For nearly two months now, she has worked six days a week, all day long, as a volunteer.

Gail quietly goes about her business helping out. The rest of the cat caregivers who work with the Pahrump cats admit they’d be lost without her. She knows each cat and each cat’s needs. But try to thank her for what she’s done? She just smiles and starts talking about the cats.