From adopter to Board member, Diane Kupchak brings energy and passion to Sheltering Hands
For Diane Kupchak it was love at first sight. Jeremiah’s charisma was undeniable. He waltzed into her life and stole her heart. His coat was amazing, soft, and supple. His voice was smooth and gentle. His tail was perky and welcoming. Diane knew Jeremiah was the cat for her.
A serial entrepreneur, Diane previously owned a travel agency, secretarial service company, medical billing firm, and an MRI facility in Hollywood, FL. She began her retirement in 1996 and moved to Celebration, eventually relocating to Bridgeport at Lake Sumter, in the Villages, in 2006. In May 2023, Diane met Jeremiah at the PetSmart in Lady Lake (534 US-441) and quickly added a new member to her home.
Admiring the culture and services provided by, Sheltering Hands, Diane immediately wanted to join the organization and help bring awareness of Sheltering Hands to the Villages.
Sheltering Hands Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit cat rescue located at 10397 N US-27 in Ocala, FL, with an auxiliary adoption center at PetSmart in Lady Lake. Founded in 2007, it conducts over 5,000 spay/neuter surgeries. It annually places more than 250 cats in quality, loving homes through traditional and specialty adoption programs, including the Cathy D. Perry Love for a Lifetime program.
The simple act of petting a cat can lower blood pressure. Companionship decreases depression and loneliness, and the responsibility of caring for "another" can get seniors motivated to be more active. Some senior citizens are reluctant to adopt for fear of becoming incapacitated while caring for a pet and not having anyone to take on the responsibility when they are no longer able.
The Cathy D. Perry Love for a Lifetime Program effectively addresses these concerns. It is not an adoption but a foster opportunity for the senior citizen to take in an adult cat. In general, the human foster must be 75+ years of age, and the cat must be either 8+ years of age or s/he has a health concern. These requirements may sometimes be altered due to specific circumstances involving the cat and the human foster. The cat lives in the senior home until the senior wishes to return the cat to Sheltering Hands or cannot care for them properly.
The senior provides food, housing, and love. With more personalized attention from the senior “foster”, the cat is less stressed and can live comfortably. The senior human enjoys a connection with a loving, furry companion. Currently, there are almost 100 cats successfully placed within the program.