I have always been around various different types of animals. Growing up, many stray cats and a dog always seemed to find our home and never left until they crossed that “Rainbow Bridge”. When I moved to Oregon many years ago, we continued to take in stray cats and a Basset Hound who somehow found us! We have adopted several cats from GHS over many years. Every time I would go back, I always thought how much fun it would be to get to hang out and love on all those beautiful felines.
In 2017, my husband began working full time so I was finally able to reduce my work load to part time. During that time, we lost our beloved dog Sadie to cancer. We were a team earning agility titles and having so much fun. I discovered how much I missed having that relationship with a dog. I needed to have a purpose again to help me move forward from losing her. I signed up for the GHS orientation. From that moment, I began to have a purpose again. I knew I wanted to work in the cattery, check off my bucket list goal! I have always felt a connection with dogs/cats and they seemed to reciprocate with trusting me. You might say I am kind of an animal whisperer.
I began dog walking but soon found this to be physically a challenge due to knee issues. I began spending more time in kennels when Greenhill began the Dog Enrichment Program. I quickly realized what I knew most of my life, I love animals and they love me back! While I was “healing”the dogs, they were “healing me”. My grief turned to absolute joy. We now have a 7 month old Goldendoodle named Baylee who we love so much. The staff at GHS realized I had so much more potential. My volunteering now extends to being a Team Leader, Trainer for Level 1 Dog Enrichment Program, Adoption Counselor in the cattery, and all my many volunteering hours of just plain loving on the many wonderful dogs and cats we have to take care of.
The staff and fellow volunteers all share the same passion for animals. You can see that love on their faces as they talk about the many animals in our care. The cute names they assign them like Goliath- a “small” chihuahua or Pumpkin Muffin- a gorgeous fluffy orange tabby cat. When you volunteer regularly, you get the chance to meet other volunteers who share your passion. You share stories and experiences. You work with animals who come to our shelter scared, hurt, lacking trust and without a home. Through our commitment as volunteers, we have the pure joy of seeing how much the animals behavior changes over time. They begin to trust humans again. Then something magical happens, that special person comes to our shelter looking for a companion wanting to fill that void in their lives. I have shed many sad and happy tears with them as they share their animal stories with me. The pure excitement and love each adopter shows after they have “chosen” their new family member. Actually, I think the animal has really “chosen” them!
Why do I keep volunteering? Besides all the reasons stated previously, it is enriching each and every life of our animals in our care. Giving them hope of finding a furever family. Meeting all of the other crazy cat and dog people out there who share that same goal. I have been known to shed some tears after one of my favorite cats or dogs gets adopted. My volunteering warms my soul and relieves all the stresses of my day. Best therapy in town!!
Meow and Woof,