It started about three years ago. This need to volunteer. I wanted to give back and happened to read about this cat shelter in the local paper and sauntered in one rainy Sunday. A few things fell into place, and I became an official volunteer on Wednesdays. I work a few hours once a week. I show up and do my job.
That is just the beginning of the story. Yeah, I know it is only a volunteer job. I don’t get paid for it. And if something else comes up in my life, I can call up Sharon, and she will roust around and try to get someone to cover for me so the work gets done.
Then why do I feel so guilty whenever I even contemplate having to call up and miss a Wednesday? For example, the other day a friend suggested going out to lunch on a Wednesday. Well, that’s the day I volunteer. And, I found myself saying . . . I’d rather not have to call in . . .
My husband thinks I’m crazy. You’re only volunteering there, he reminds me. It’s not as if the entire place revolves around you. I know that, yet, how can I explain how I feel? Like the entire place hangs by a thread. You should see all the laundry, I tell him. It’s a lot of work. It’s for the cats. And what about Lily? I visit her when I’m there, and if I don’t show up, what will she think?
The other day my partner (in crime-ha) called to tell me she couldn’t make it for this Wednesday. For a very good reason! I could hear the guilt in her voice. I tried to console her on the phone. Don’t worry about it, I said. We’ll be fine. And we were. A volunteer from Monday showed up. We had a grand time.
Why do we all feel this way? Is it the cats? Do we imagine their food bowls won’t be filled? Their liter pans cleaned? Do we imagine they’ll actually miss us if we’re not there? On schedule?
One glance at Lily or Polly or Tashi, and I think I know the answer. We’re hooked, all right. Practically addicted to Tabby’s Place. Such a strange phenomena. We were looking to give and ended up getting so much in return.