Foster kittens bring smiles to Beth Sholom Village residents

September 2, 2019

Other News

Gabrielle Exum, art therapist, and Elizabeth Currence, BSV resident.

Gabrielle Exum, art therapist, and Elizabeth Currence, BSV resident.

Faces light up when Gabrielle Exum, art therapist, walks around Beth Sholom Village carrying foster kittens. As part of her work, she began fostering the kitties, not just to help them find permanent homes, but also to engage with residents looking for something to love.

Exum, who started the program earlier this year, brings the kittens in once or twice a week to both the long-term care facility and to the Terrace. “In a given day, the kittens can be exposed to over 60 people, which helps the animals socialize and improves their dispositions,” she says. “I have fostered over 15 kittens so far.”

Jean Rutherford.

Jean Rutherford.

These adoptable kittens are sometimes transferred to the Norfolk SPCA from other overwhelmed shelters or organizations such as PETA. The kittens are with Exum for two weeks or more at a time. And, some Beth Sholom staff have adopted some of the kittens through the Norfolk SPCA.

“I grew up on a farm and always had cats,” says resident Elizabeth Currence.

“I never had pets growing up,” says resident Jean Rutherford. And, Helen Pichardo says she’s happy to cat sit for Exum whenever needed.

For more information on adoption, contact the Norfolk SPCA at 757-622-3319 or Gabrielle Exum at or call 757-456-5212.

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