How volunteering at an animal shelter can save more than just animals

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Leslie had it all. She had the most wonderful husband in the world. He was sweet and caring and he was her everything. Together, they had a large farm with horses and cats and dogs. Everything was perfect. One morning, Leslie’s husband left for work as he did every morning. Unfortunately, he never made it to work. That morning, Leslie’s husband died in a car accident and her world crumbled down around her.

Leslie had to give up her farm and move into a smaller place. Her animals went to friends and family. She stopped caring about her appearance. She started smoking and drinking. Her diet went downhill and she spent way too much time on the couch.  Leslie gave up on life.

Leslie did realize that she was lonely. She missed the farm atmosphere. Her husband was an animal lover and so was she. So, Leslie went to her local shelter to adopt a cat, as hers had stayed behind with the farm. Leslie actually ended up adopting 2 cats that day, but there is more to it than that. On her way out, Leslie noticed a sign requesting volunteers. She figured that she would give it a try and signed up right then and there.

It was the best move that she ever made. She no longer had time to sit around the house, nope, those animals needed her, the dogs needed her to walk them, the cats needed someone to play with, so there was the motivation to get up and get moving. Leslie wanted the dogs to have long quality walks, so she had to give up smoking. Soon, Leslie had lost 40 lbs and the pep was back in her step. More importantly, she had a purpose.

It’s been 7 years since Leslie started volunteering at her local shelter and she still arrives faithfully day in and day out. When you talk to her about it, she will tell you “Absolutely I’m here, this place saved me!”

So often, we think about what we give to the animals when volunteering, but Leslie’s story reminds us that we get so much out of it as well!