Mother’s Day Memorial Post for Venita Wood

DCIN Friends: We are honoring our Founder Venita Wood, who recently crossed the Rainbow Bridge to join the innumerable kitties she loved, on this Mother’s Day by launching a fundraiser in her memory. Venita was the extra mom so many extra-sweet kitties needed. She didn’t just run DCIN, she loved each kitty she helped as if he or she were her own. And – when she found she could no longer manage DCIN on her own – she was willing to do something few founders are: She let a new team step up and continue her life-saving work.

We remain grateful for everything Venita did and hope that our Friends will help her legacy continue by giving to our Compassionate Assistance Program (CAP), the flagship program Venita built DCIN around. Through it, we provide caregivers of extra-sweet kitties who are experiencing limited-income situations with the diabetic testing supplies they need, as well as access to the medicine they need with a current prescription. We provide up to $500 in diabetic-related vet care per year. As you might imagine, this is an expensive program to run! It costs us about $1,000 per year to support one CAP client. Every dollar counts!

If you’d like to join us in honoring Venita’s memory and legacy, please click the PayPal Donate button at the bottom of this post.

We’ve brought out DCIN’s initial logo for this one event – Do you remember it?? 😻

Thank you so very much for caring and for helping Venita see how much she is still appreciated as she watches over us all from the Bridge. ~Amy

In Memory of Venita Wood

DCIN Friends: It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce our Founder, the inimitable Venita Wood, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge to join all the kitties who were waiting for her. 😿 We mourn the loss of an amazing person whose love for kitties – hers and others’ – knew no bounds.

Thousands of diabetic kitties owe their lives and renewed health to Venita, without whom DCIN would not exist. She ran this organization almost single-handedly from its founding in 2009 until the end of 2014, when we needed five new volunteers just to take over the core duties she had been performing. (We’ve added even more volunteers since then and are always willing to welcome more!)

When Venita founded DCIN in 2009, she had joined an online message board for diabetic cat caregivers after one of her precious furbabies received that terrifying Feline Diabetes diagnosis. She quickly realized that there was a need for an organization that could provide financial assistance to low-income caregivers: She saw on a daily basis people making the heart-wrenching decision to surrender their precious companions to shelters (and hoping they would make it out alive) or simply putting the kitty to sleep – all because treating Feline Diabetes is extremely expensive and people were having to choose between keeping their cat and paying rent or utilities. No one should have to make that decision! Venita founded DCIN upon that principle. To this day, DCIN holds as its mission the twin goals of providing financial support for those in need and education for our clients and the broader FD community.

Though we do not want to turn this tragedy into a fundraiser, we did want to share with you requests from the dear friend who let us know of Venita’s passing. Venita was charitable through and through, so we think she would be okay with this request to support two of her favorite organizations: “One of the charities she recently supported helped homeless people with pets: . Or just help a cat through DCIN at or another charity. Or tip your hat and give extra love to your kitties today.”

Everyone in the US and Canadian Feline Diabetes worlds owes Venita a major debt of gratitude. I haven’t mentioned the numerous other ways in which she helped us all (like performing the first test of Levemir in kitties, leading to a whole new class of insulin for us to use), but each and every one of us experiences the ripple effect of Venita’s amazing work every single day.

Please join us in sending up a massive THANK YOU to Venita Wood, who made such a difference to so many kitties and their people. Because Venita was such a private person, we have chosen to include only her FB profile picture – a cat joyously riding a bicycle – instead of a photo of her. We think this image embodies her spirit.

As Venita would say, “Thank you for caring.” ~Amy

Announcement: Leadership Team Transition

The DCIN Board of Directors would like to announce a transition in our leadership team. Jenna Watts, who has served with deep commitment as Executive Director since leading the DCIN relaunch in January 2015, will be succeeded in the ED role by Amy Sikes, who has also served on the core leadership team since the DCIN relaunch in January 2015. Dr. Sikes is joined by Jillian Rosile as Deputy Director and T Hamboyan Harrison as Director of Case Management; Sue Luhrs will remain as our Finance Director, and Lisa Sorini will remain as our Director of Diabetic Cat Rehoming.

Amy began her volunteer work with DCIN in 2015 as our Supplies Manager, adding the roles of Ground Transport Coordinator and Development Director in subsequent months. As DCIN’s needs changed and grew, she also added Acting Social Media Director and Deputy Director to her roles. Dr. Sikes holds a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.

Jillian joined DCIN in 2016 as a Case Manager and was quickly promoted to Director of Case Management due to extensive experience with feline diabetes care. Jillian’s professional experience in organizational and people management will support DCIN’s operational needs.

T joined DCIN in 2020 as a Case Manager. They have a deep knowledge of feline medical care from their years of volunteer work overseeing feline medical at a rescue and managing complicated medical needs of their own cats at home. T is also a cat behavior consultant at A Cat’s Purrspective, LLC, with certifications through IAABC (Associate Certified Shelter Behavior – Cat) and Fear Free Pets (animal trainer certification).

The whole DCIN Team thanks Jenna for her 7.5 years of dedicated service as our ED, leading DCIN through a challenging transition period when the organization was in danger of shuttering altogether, revamping our assistance programs, and growing the number of cats helped each year from dozens to hundreds. While Jenna’s intense schedule of saving human lives and training the next generation of human life-savers makes it too challenging for her to remain in the role of ED, she will continue in a role as Board member, along with Amy, Jillian, T, Sue, and Lisa.

Thank you for your continued support of extra-sweet kitties!