|Oakley at PetSmart.|
I volunteer in animal rescue because I love animals.
…Obviously, right? But it’s about more than just loving them. It’s about believing that they deserve more respect and love than they receive. And it’s about fighting for their rights when they cannot do so themselves.
I read a quote once (and unfortunately I do not remember where) that said: “One day, you will wake up and realize a lifelong dream that you never knew you had.”
I suppose a realization of that nature is how I ended up applying to be a volunteer with TAGS. I was on the website looking at adoptable dogs and cats and fantasizing about actually being able to adopt one (I live with my parents, who have decided that our two cats are enough for one house), and then I landed on the In Memorium page. I was so moved by the stories I read. Not only had this rescue organization clearly changed the lives of all the people who were sharing their memories, but I was overwhelmed with happiness for the dogs. Their lives had been changed for the better because they were adopted, yes, but the real moment their lives changed was when they were rescued. After having such an emotional reaction to these testimonies and memories, I instantly knew that I had to be involved somehow. However, I wasn’t quite sure how I would be able to help since I couldn’t adopt or foster at this point in my life.
|Cali at a Pet Valu Adoptathon.|
Looking through the volunteer application cleared up any questions I had. There were several areas that needed volunteers and that interested me for different reasons, so I knew I would be able to help out in one way or another. During my interview, I was asked if I would like to be a part of the TAGS Social Media Committee, which was just forming around the time I submitted my application. I thought this was a great way for me to volunteer as it could be done from home, and I could use skills I gained while studying for my degree in journalism. That said, I also wanted to do something hands-on with the animals I would be writing about, especially since wanting to be around animals was part of my initial motivation for applying.
As a result, I am also part of a large group of volunteers who take turns showing dogs at local PetSmart and Pet Valu locations on the weekends. The shifts usually pass by pretty quickly—I spend the time alternating between getting to know the dogs we have in the store and talking to customers about TAGS and our adoptable dogs. A large chunk of the time also goes to story swapping—everyone loves to talk about the furry friends in their lives, so there are always lots of quirky stories being exchanged. (Note: I really do try to keep my cat stories to a minimum. Really, I do. It’s just that my minimum is probably someone else’s maximum.)
|Rocky at PetSmart. Love this little guy!|
I enjoy my roles, but at the end of the day, I volunteer in rescue because too many dogs and cats are homeless, neglected, abused or misunderstood. I volunteer in rescue so that I can be part of an organization that educates the public about pet health, training, the needs of animals and responsible pet ownership. I volunteer in rescue because I want the number of dogs and cats being euthanized each year to go down, not up.
I volunteer in rescue because I love the feeling I get when I find out one of the TAGS animals has found his or her fur-ever home.
If you can’t adopt…foster.
If you can’t foster…volunteer.
If you can’t volunteer…donate.
If you can’t donate…educate, network and share.
Everyone can do something to help animals in need.