I was 10 years when I participated in my first volunteer project. Of course, at that age, I didn’t understand the concept of volunteer work A neighbor, a teacher, was a seasoned volunteer. Her children grew up volunteering.
A neighbor asked my mother if I could help with a volunteer project, mom agreed. This first experience was at The American Red Cross, for hours we sat and stuffed envelopes. At that age, it was fun, sitting for hours and putting pieces of paper into envelopes. Before we knew it, another box of envelopes appeared, and kept coming, for what seemed like hours.
Later, as a Girl Scout, I was active in delivering food and cookies to home-bound senior citizens. Our Girl Scout troop, co-volunteered on projects with B’nai Brith girls. I wish I had kept in touch, I wonder what they are doing now. Hopefully, they are still involved in “good works.”
In high school, after classes, I volunteered at a professional theater. Ah, live theater! I painted sets, swept floors, dressed celebrity actresses, and was a general go-fer! It was great – The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the crowd!
As an adult, I continued my love of volunteerism! I volunteered as a Crisis Hotline Counselor and a Literacy Tutor.
One year, in the office where I worked, I organized a “Letters to Santa,” program for staff and executives. At first the executives and managers balked, but, once I had the ball rolling, everyone in the office participated.
In the end, the jaded, executives were the ones most touched by our “Letters to Santa campaign,” than the staff.
Today, I still maintain my foot in the door of a volunteer organization. For over a year, I’ve been a volunteer at a non-profit animal shelter in New York City (Manhattan). It’s a joy to take the dog for a walk, hoping someone will stop and ask about the “bright orange “Adopt Me,” me signs the dogs wear when they go outdoors. It works – many of our dogs are adopted due to the sign. Who can resist a sweet-faced Beagle with long floppy ears, or, the sweetest Pit-bull mix you will ever meet.
Many of our dogs are given up for adoption because the family moving, or, people don’t realize the enormous responsibility of being a “pet parent.” Others can’t take their dog to their new apartment because of a “No Dogs Allowed” policy. Others are moving out of state, or, sadly, an elderly pet parent can no longer take care of the dog, or the sweet pup got lost from his pet parents. When this happens, someone spots the dog and calls our shelter, where we feed, bathe, groom, and take to a vet, to make sure the dog is in good health for his future “new loving home.”
As a volunteer, I help social the dogs, I sit on the floor and play with them, ah, the belly rubs and puppy kisses, hey, who can beat that! It’s so adorable to have a homeless pup crawl onto your lap for cuddles. They wiggle around on my lap until they get comfortable and fall asleep.
My hope is their doggie dream is about finding a “new forever home,” with the next person to walk through our door, or someone on the street that sees the bright orange, “Adopt Me” banner on the dog.
I’m sad when a favorite pup is adopted, but, I know its for the best. The apartment where I live, does not allow dog, or, I would have adopted several of the sweeties!
If you have a soft spot for dogs, and can provide a good home for him or her, please, consider adopting from your local dog shelter, or, the “kill shelter,” where stray dogs are taken and killed, if they are not adopted.
Call the Office of the Mayor, in your city, for the location of kill shelters in your area. http:///Petfinder.com can link you to shelters in your area. The ASPCA is a national organization, with shelters in all major cities. http://aspca.org; You may find local non-profit animal shelters listed in your local Yellow Pages telephone directory.
The dogs need you. Woof!