Here’s a secret.
Volunteer Appreciation Week at Tabby’s Place is a neverending affair.
That’s as it should be, given that our volunteers are collectively and individually infinite fountains of love and generosity and often entirely unglamorous efforts (scraping Adam‘s excrement off Suite A walls, anyone?).
So, although Lynn’s gorgeous words below may be our last guest post for Volunteer Appreciation Week(s) this time around, know that the wonder goes on and on.
And know that you’re invited along, too.
Take it away, lovely Lynn:
“After I retired, I wanted to do something useful. When I saw an article in a newspaper that told about volunteer opportunities at a local animal shelter, I thought that sounded perfect. I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs. When I first started volunteering, I went to adoption events where I walked dogs and introduced them to people. I was sad when no one was interested in ‘my’ dog, but I was thrilled when a match was made!
“After I’d been volunteering every Saturday for several months, Jenny, another volunteer, recruited me to help her with the cats. Although I owned cats, I wasn’t completely comfortable with all of the cats at the shelter. With Jenny’s help, advice, and encouragement, I went from someone scared to pick up a lot of the cats to someone who worked with some of the more difficult ones.
“It was one ‘difficult’ cat in particular who brought me to Tabby’s Place. The veterinarian at the other shelter had asked me to work with a cat who had just been brought over from intake. He was wrapped in a net and thrust into a cage. A staff member put on a heavy glove before she removed the net. I looked at the cat and wondered what could he have done to deserve this treatment. I left the tough guy alone for about fifteen minutes. I then went back, opened the cage and talked to him. He hissed once and swatted at me once. That was it! Several days later, I was carrying him around, giving him a tour of the shelter. You might have met this gentleman; his name is Wolfie!
“On one cold, bleak day, Wolfie was diagnosed with FIV. The shelter manager said they couldn’t keep him there, but would find a place for him. That place would ultimately be Tabby’s Place.
“When Wolfie came to Tabby’s Place, I followed and became a volunteer. Angela, the fabulous Development Director, asked me if I’d like to become Wolfie’s correspondent, penning monthly updates to his sponsors. I immediately said, ‘Yes!’ I’ve always loved writing, and Angela was giving me the chance to write about the Wolfman.
“In addition to providing me with the chance to write, Tabby’s Place has given me so much more. I’ve had the chance to meet many amazing people! I am so impressed by the dedication, the professionalism, and the compassion of the staff at Tabby’s Place. It’s obvious that working here is not just a job to them — it’s a commitment to giving the best possible care to the cats lucky enough to be here.
“I’ve also had the chance to get to know other volunteers. It’s wonderful to share stories about our own cats and to compare notes on our furry friends at Tabby’s Place. I’ve seen how cats react differently to different people and have learned to try different approaches when socializing a cat.
“Roger Caras was so right when he said, ‘Cats are a tonic, they are a laugh, they are a cuddle…’ Cats seem to sense our moods and needs. The day after Katie, my sweet calico, was called home to Heaven, I came to Tabby’s Place. I found such comfort here, talking to some staff members and spending time with the cats. One of my favorite cats is Lucille. At times, you know that she doesn’t want to be bothered. That day, I just wanted to hold her and tell her about Katie. It’s as if she knew; she cuddled in my arms, never squirming or swatting. She was just the tonic I needed!
“One of the greatest advantages to volunteering at Tabby’s Place is meeting so many wonderful cats! There is such great satisfaction in seeing shy cats change as they begin to trust people. I still remember the first time Buddy walked past Newman to come to me, and the first time he head-bumped me. That might not sound like much to you, but it meant so much to me. I had become one of Buddy’s buddies.
“I believe that the French novelist Colette was a very wise woman. She said, ‘Time spent with cats is never wasted.’ She also declared, ‘There are no ordinary cats.’ If you agree with me that both statements are true, and you’re not yet a volunteer, then Tabby’s Place is the place for you. How could anyone not benefit from spending time with our extraordinary cats? They have certainly brought immeasurable joys to my life, and I think I’m a better person for knowing them.”
Karen, Larry, Sarah, Lynn, and every single volunteer in the Tabby’s Place galaxy, to say that we “appreciate” you would be an outrageous understatement. We do that, but we also marvel at you…and cherish you…and stand in awe of all that you are. Thank you!