It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 10-16)! In our March newsletter we asked you to tell us about your volunteer experiences. You inspired us with all that you do.
Some of you have started all-volunteer rescue groups that consume most of your time, and your hearts. Thousands of you volunteer full-time for shelter pets.
Mariana, for instance, is the volunteer director of the largest shelter in the state of Morelos in Mexico. Others of you make it possible for animal-welfare organizations
to exist with traditionally low budgets and limited staff.
You socialize cats and dogs, you help with meet-and-greet days at local pet stores, you foster pets in your homes. Ten-year-old Kaitlyn and her mom sell bottled water and pink lemonade in front of stores and donate the proceeds to animal-welfare groups. Marion takes photos and writes descriptions for her local shelter’s Petfinder postings.
John A. started out at Lifeline for Pound Buddies
in Muskegon, MI, by washing dishes, helping with laundry and
socializing pets. He then branched out into public events such as adoption days
and fundraisers. His volunteer work led to a part-time paid job, but
of course, he still volunteers beyond his assigned hours. “The thing I
like best,” he writes, “is spending time with a scared and frightened dog
when it comes in, either as a stray or owner surrender, and
(hopefully) watching it turn around to become less frightened, and
trusting in me!”
Sandy is a dog groomer and volunteers her services for shelter dogs. She also crochets blankets for dogs.
Mary H. transports dogs to new homes, or more often, drives one leg of
a long trip. Sometimes there are as few as three drivers, she says, but
other trips may require 50. One dog she remembers particularly was Muffin.
Mary usually puts the dogs in crates to transport them, but the first
driver advised her that 12-year-old Muffin liked to sit
in the passenger seat.
“Muffin sat on the console of my car and
stared seriously into my face until we reached the next meeting spot,” Mary writes. “I
was concerned that she might be upset or not feeling well. We were 15
minutes early, so I pulled into the parking lot and turned off my car
engine. I turned my attention to Muffin to see if I could determine what
was on her mind. It didn’t take long to figure it out. Almost the
second the engine died, she marched up my body, planted a kiss on my
face and then just dropped into my arms to be held like a baby! Needless
to say I fell in love and it was tough to give her to the next driver,
but I knew she was on the way to something good.”
Mary’s note shows exactly what the hardest part of volunteering is: letting go.
As you can see from the diverse responses to our question, no matter what your skills or interests are, there’s
probably a way you can help your local animal-welfare organizations. To
those of you already volunteering, our thanks to you for all you do. You
make an amazing difference for homeless pets.
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