On any given day, the ASPCA Adoption Center and the ASPCA Animal Hospital are home to hundreds of animals. Caring for so many dogs and cats takes a lot of work, and none of it would be possible without our incredible, dedicated staff of volunteers. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we want to recognize one of those volunteers, Adoption Counselor Stephen Q., by sharing the story of “his best adoption ever.” Here’s what Stephen had to say:
On what started as a typical day volunteering as an ASPCA Adoption Counselor, I met a couple who came in looking to adopt a pair of adult cats. Delighted, I took them through the shelter showing them each of several bonded adult pairs, and while they enjoyed meeting each pair, none were quite right. As luck would have it, I must have saved the best for last. I said to them, “Well, we have one more bonded pair I can show you, please come with me.”
As I opened the kennel door to show them this beautiful pair of cats, I explained that both were completely blind.
The couple started petting these two loving and affectionate cats (one with non-seeing eyes, the other without eyes at all) while I started talking to them about my own experience with my blind-from-birth cat, Jenny. I talked about how perfectly Jenny gets around, how she opened my heart to a new type of human-cat experience, that no challenge is insurmountable and that perfection comes in many forms. After 20 minutes of petting, listening and asking questions, the couple turned to me with moist eyes and said, “We’ll take them.”
It was my best adoption ever, and all the credit goes to a couple with an open heart—and to my little blind cat with the biggest heart ever, also rescued by the ASPCA.
Thank you to Stephen, and to all of our volunteers, for your hard work, dedication, and inspiring stories!
Great news: this week offers a very special opportunity to get involved and help animals in your community. National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 12-18, is the perfect time to make a difference. Here are three ways you can help.
Host a pet food and supplies drive. Animal shelters are always in need of basic supplies that can be found around your home or at your local grocery or discount store including food, towels and bedding, cleaning supplies, toys and other pet care supplies. Consider hosting a supplies drive to gather items from your friends and family members to donate.
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. Help fight for the passage of stronger anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade As a Brigade member, you’ll have the opportunity to help pass important legislation for animals within your region.
At the ASPCA, we love our volunteers. These kindhearted people give their time and love to animals in our care, and we rely on them to help with many aspects of our shelter operations. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do all the good things we do!
If you are in the New York City area and are interested in volunteering at the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, here are a few things to note:
All ASPCA volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
Volunteers must be able to commit to a minimum of eight hours per month for a minimum of six months. Due to the extensive training requirements, we are not able to accept short-term volunteers.
The ASPCA does not accept volunteers needing to fulfill court-appointed community service.
Some of the major volunteer opportunities available at the ASPCA include Adoption Counselors, Cat Volunteers, Dog Volunteers, Foster Caretakers and Veterinary Assistants. For active volunteers who demonstrate advanced animal-handling skills, other opportunities may exist pending further training. For detailed descriptions of each position, visit our official Volunteer page.
If you’re eager to get started, please note the ASPCA’s Volunteer Program accepts online applications on a quarterly basis (sorry, we no longer accept paper applications). The next application period will be from Monday, December 1 at 10:00 A.M. through Sunday, December 8—so be sure to return and apply in that time!
Not in New York City? Don’t worry! There are plenty of fantastic animal welfare organizations across the country that can use your help. Check out the shelter finder tool to locate the shelter nearest you. Good luck and happy volunteering!
If you volunteer or work at your local shelter or spay/neuter clinic, or are involved in rescue work to help animals in your community, we’ve got a couple of questions for you...
Q. When is a paper plate not just a paper plate?
A. When it’s a make-shift E-collar for kittens who’ve just been spayed or neutered! Time- and money-savers, paper plates are great for use in foster homes, where you may not always have access to E-collars (especially late at night!), and can be used in shelter clinics when a quick E-collar is called for.
Q. What can you put in a baby pool other than water?
A. Puppies! Easy to clean, disinfect and reuse, baby pools are perfect for use in a shelter setting as a safe and sanitary area to contain pups, as well as for providing mom easy retreat for some R&R.
Q. Does saving animals’ lives knock your socks off?
A. Baby socks can be used to keep paws warm while animals are under anesthesia and recovering from surgery, as shown here.
Seeing a common theme? These everyday items can make life a little easier for the homeless animals you help care for, and can go a long way to stretch precious dollars for your local agencies, many of which rely on volunteers and animal advocates in the community.
With a little help from shelters all around the country, the team at ASPCApro, ASPCA.org’s sister website for animal welfare professionals, has put together a downloadable guide that’s free for shelter and rescue staff and volunteers, and anyone else involved in helping their community’s animals.
You know what they say: kindness is contagious. That’s why we love Be Kind to Animals Week, which kicks off today! Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated every year during the first week in May, and this year marks its 99th anniversary. And while we know that you’re kind to animals all year round, this week is a great excuse to get active. Here are four ways you can show your compassion for furry friends everywhere:
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade: Sign up for the Advocacy Brigade to receive important alerts from the ASPCA. We’ll contact you when we need your help fighting for laws against animal cruelty.
Help Fight Puppy Mills: Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills—large, sub-standard breeding facilities. Help us put puppy mills out of business by pledging not to shop in stores that sell puppies (not even for food or toys!).
Show Your Virtual Support: Spread the word about Be Kind to Animals Week through Facebook, Twitter, or your blog! And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ to keep track of breaking animal welfare news.
Volunteer: From walking dogs to fundraising, there are tons of ways you can get involved with your local animal shelter. Even if you can’t make a long-term commitment, consider lending a hand today! We can always use the help.