Here at the ASPCA, we’re extremely grateful for the unwavering dedication of our volunteers. In just 18 months, volunteer Tamara B. has accrued more than 700 volunteer hours, assisting with numerous tasks—Hurricane Sandy relief, cat socialization, kitten syringe feeding and adoptions counseling, just to name a few. Tamara shared her story with us:
When I was asked to share my home with a feisty cat named Gypsy, I had no idea how my life would change or where he would lead me. I didn’t know the term “animal socialization” then, and neither did he—I have the scars to prove it. Through trial and error, we found our way together and formed a loving, inseparable bond.
When Gypsy needed emergency care, I was referred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital. I was so impressed by the assistance and excellent medical care that Gypsy received; I knew I needed to do something to show our appreciation. I couldn’t give a large monetary donation but I could give my time. I applied to become a volunteer.
No matter how busy your schedule, the ASPCA makes it easy for volunteers to make the minimum commitment. Once I began volunteering, I found I wanted to give more of my time. There are many different roles for volunteers, and it’s a great learning experience. I started doing syringe feeding for young kittens that are still learning to eat on their own. No matter how stressful my work day had been, holding those little kittens washed that away. It was so rewarding to feed one of the little kittens, watch it grow a little bigger over time, and, while volunteering as an Adoptions Counselor, help that same kitten find a loving home.
Besides the great animals that I have met at the ASPCA, I have also met many wonderful people—the other volunteers, the staff and the adopters. I am honored to be part of this organization. My family and friends are impressed with my dedication, and Gypsy is proud of me, too.
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Animal shelters provide an invaluable service for animals in need, providing them with food, shelter, medical care and love. Many shelters operate with limited resources, doing their best to care for a population of needy animals that almost seems endless.
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week was created to honor the hardworking staff and volunteers who spend their lives helping homeless pets and inspire pet lovers to get involved with their local shelter or rescue. Need some ideas of how you can help? Here are a few of our favorites!
Volunteer your time. Socializing shelter pets helps them become better equipped to transition from shelter life to their new homes. Spend an afternoon playing with cats or walking dogs. Many shelters need more advanced helpers to work with canines in obedience classes as well.
Organize an event. Make your local shelter a cause for celebration! Throw a themed party, set up a bake sale, or parade your pet in a dog walk and donate the proceeds to your shelter. You’ll raise awareness, meet new animal-loving friends and help homeless pets.
Go shopping or get crafty! Besides monetary donations, shelters are in constant need of basic supplies that can be found at your local grocery or discount store like food, cleaning supplies, toys and other pet care supplies. Call your shelter and ask what they need most and what brands they use before you take your shopping trip for the cause. You can also make some catnip toys to keep boredom at bay—they’re easy to make and kid-friendly!