A young volunteer from Vermont is inspiring the adults who work at her local humane society, through her high level of dedication to animals—despite her own physical challenges.
Shelburne’s Kira Serisky, 16, works as a foster parent to kittens who are too young or weak for adoption.
“They are my patients,” Serisky said of three 7-week-old orphan kittens she’s caring for at her home.
One of the kittens needs antibiotics for his eye following an upper respiratory infection, and still has to drink formula from a bottle.
Serisky has been a patient herself for much of her young life, for a cruel form of the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos.
It makes joints and organs really weak, and has meant serious mobility challenges for Kira, who uses a wheelchair.
During a long hospitalization this summer, Serisky couldn’t wait to get back home to the newborn kittens who needed her, she told necn and NBC 10 Boston.
“It felt really good to be back to taking care of them, as opposed to me being taken care of by nurses and everything,” the teen recalled.
In May, Serisky had a wish come true thanks to Make-a-Wish Vermont—not for a fancy trip or a chance to meet a celebrity, but for a new space-themed bedroom.
That bedroom was specially outfitted for Serisky to do her volunteer work helping rescue groups and shelters care for kittens until they are strong or healthy enough for adoption.
“For me to be able to give them a chance to grow up and be able to be adopted is really rewarding,” Serisky said.
The Humane Society of Chittenden County, which counts Kira among its volunteers, said it relies on community support and animal foster homes, especially with kittens, who often need intensive attention before they can be spayed or neutered.
“Kira’s definitely one of a kind,” said Erin Alamed of the Humane Society of Chittenden County. “It’s really inspiring that at a young age—and even younger—that she was that committed to doing the foster care for us.”
“Seeing, especially, young folks like Kira who are willing to go the extra mile on behalf of animals is fantastic,” added Cynthia Cole of the Humane Society of Chittenden County.
In addition to HSCC, Serisky also helps foster animals for FURRR 911, a rescue organization in New York located near the medical center where the teen receives care.
Serisky said she knows fostering often means having to say goodbye to the kittens she’s cared for, but when she does, she’s grateful to have been part of a team helping animals find permanent homes.
“I love what I do,” Serisky said, smiling.