Why I Volunteer

Lots of people stop by to visit with our animals when we have them at malls, stores and other venues to meet the public. They often say:

“I don’t know how you people do it. I’d love to volunteer, but I’d want to take them all home.”

“I’d volunteer, but I know my heart would break every time I went into the shelter.”

“How DO you people do it?”

The answers are yes, we want to take them all home all the time, and yes, our hearts do break for them.

The animals have landed here at the W PA Humane Society for so many different reasons. Some are strays, wondering the streets; some are taken from abusive circumstances; some are in families who just couldn’t financially care for them anymore; some are the products of divorces; some belong to those who moved & couldn’t take them; some are homeless because their beloved owners became ill or died; some are here because they just aren’t wanted anymore.

Whenever I go into the shelter, it’s tough to see all the expectant faces. But at the same time, I can’t wait to see them. They all look at me & ask: How did I get here? Does anyone care?

Yes, we care so much that we are willing to put our own feelings aside. We love you enough that we’ll give up our time just to make sure you feel loved and not forgotten. We do this willingly because you need us so.

We take many forms – off-site volunteers, like me, who take animals away from the shelter to meet the public & show that we have decent, loving, good animals available for adoption. Hopefully, they get a home or attract someone to the shelter to find a new pet, when they may have gone elsewhere before they met our animals.

Volunteers foster those who need a little time to recover from illness or mistreatment; time to raise a litter; time for a “cage break” so they can remember what it is like to be in a loving home, instead of a cage.

There are those who do paper or computer work; facility cleanup and maintenance; feed the animals; walk the dogs; cuddle the cats; do bunny romps; adoption counselors who help families find the pets that fit nicely into their homes; those who work at fundraisers; and many more volunteer positions. All are important.

Big sloppy kisses and soft purrs next to your cheek are the reward. The animals are so grateful for every thing done for them. Mostly, they are grateful for hugs, kisses and kindnesses from you. The best feeling is when they leave the shelter to start their new lives with their new families. Knowing that you helped that animal begin a new life is a feeling beyond description.

Since I’ve been volunteering, it’s become very plain to me. This is something I MUST do. This is something that means something.

This is something I can do to pay back some of what animals have given to me throughout my life. I can help the unfortunate ones find their way home again. What a joy!

Volunteer Coordinator Chris Whyle has a tag line at the bottom of her email. We don’t know who wrote it, but it says it all.

I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter…the cast-offs of human society.

I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness and betrayal. And I was angry.

“God,” I said, “this is terrible! Why don’t you do something?”

God was silent for a moment and then He spoke softly. “I have done something,” He replied. “I created you.”