It's National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 10-16) and I would like to recognize and thank our volunteers. I will be doing some volunteer features throughout the week. SAINTS is not like a traditional shelter. The volunteers here are committed for years to rearranging their time with their friends and families to make sure they are here each and every weekend, rain, snow or shine. Carol is most definitely the head and vision behind SAINTS but the volunteers are its heart and hands.
Erin has been volunteering at SAINTS every Saturday for two years. She usually cleans the cat area in the house but she is just as happy to do any area that needs her superb cleaning skills. She is a mother of two kids aged seven and three. All of her family activities are arranged around her time at SAINTS. During the week she is a machine operator/forklift driver at a mill in Maple Ridge. Erin says that she volunteers at SAINTS for the animals. Here is what she had to say about volunteering at SAINTS:
I like when I make a bed and before I turn around somebody is laying on it, that means I'm doing my job right. The animals have been in some really bad places and they need some comfort now, and I can help provide that. I haven't got a lot of spare money, but I've got a few hours a week to spare.
Erin is glad to be a part of giving animals a second chance. I asked her, what is the hardest part about volunteering at SAINTS ?
What's hard about it? Scrubbing dried shit off the floor, no problem. Moving heavy furniture to mop up cat pee so that unbearable stench will leave, easy. Its the losses that are the tough part. Its an extended family and losing one is heartbreakingly hard.
Erin recalls the losses over the years that were especially hard: Cole, Buddy and Sissy. Yesterday was also difficult for her with the loss of Lehanie. She struggles with the sad reality that there is a never ending number of animals out there that have been abandoned in their old age. An empty spot at SAINTS is never empty long with new in comings waiting to take the place of the ones she still grieves.
But Erin also has treasured memories too, like Rosebud. When Rosebud first came to SAINTS she was hand shy but but after a few days she quickly figured out that people at SAINTS have soft hands and she would meet Erin at the door for some loves.
Erin's gift to the SAINTS every Saturday is her true and loving heart, her soft touch, and yes her ability to move the couch and mop up the stinky cat pee :). Erin, we thank you for all that you do and for giving all of us peace of mind to know that when Erin is there, there is little for us to worry about because we know that things are in the right hands (and heart).
For information about volunteering please see www.saintsrescue.ca/helping/volunteer.htm