Its National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 10-16) and in recognition of our amazing volunteers. I will be doing some volunteer features throughout the week. We call our volunteers the "weekend warriors" because they are committed to volunteering every weekend no matter what. Their weapons of choice are mops and shovels. And they have no mercy when it comes to getting the job done. With over 150 animals, many of which are old leaky and incontinent, cleaning is the biggest part of our volunteers' days.
Brenda's post is the main house. She is especially ruthless at killing any smells that may be lingering and with her mop and cloth she gets SAINTS looking and smelling like a glad commercial.
Cleaning may be mundane, but I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that all the saints have clean, comfy beds, full food and water bowls, clean litter boxes, and washed floors when I leave, and they've all had some pets and hugs along the way. Also, my goal is to have the house smell good when I leave, which can be challenging, but attainable.
SAINTS is a commitment for our weekend warriors and it fills up a large part of their hearts but outside of SAINTS our volunteers often have their own animals to look after and as well as fulltime jobs. Brenda works with mentally challenged adults in the community and has supervised and worked in a group home for the past 24 years. In her spare time, she camps with her roommate and their two dogs. She is a long time weekend warrior. She joined the SAINTS weekend warriors crew October of 2007 after reading an article about SAINTS in Modern Dog magazine. She drives 75 minutes to come to SAINTS every Sunday morning to volunteer. But for her it is worth the long drive.
I live in Hope but I always look forward to the drive, and the destination. I really enjoy working with the other weekend volunteers - knowing we're all there for the same reason - the animals! I am very happy and humbled to play a small part in the lives of those who call SAINTS their home. It is a privilege to share in the wild, wacky, and wonderful world of SAINTS.
Every volunteer has one or two animals they have an especially strong connection with. Often this is just as much the animal choosing the person as it is the person the choosing the animal. For Brenda that is Squirt.
I remember when Squirt first came to SAINTS. He was from a puppy mill, and did not want to be touched. He shivered and shook, and stayed inside a crate (with the door open), but would not come out. Even after he started to come out of the crate, he would hide whenever anyone came into the room, (other than Carol). I also remember the day he didn't hide when I arrived. He would watch me, and then try to nip my heels when I walked by. Then, soon after, he stopped nipping and started wagging his tail. Now, when I arrive he comes over for a hug and will jump into my lap if I sit down. He lets me pick him up and even seems to enjoy cuddles and kisses. I love that. He has a special place in my heart.
Brenda is the sort of volunteer that you get once in a lifetime. She cares for the animals as well as the people and is one mean cleaning machine. And by mean I mean nice :). Brenda, for always managing to make SAINTS look and smell great no matter what and for also caring enough about Carol to bring her lunch every Sunday, thank you. You are a more than a volunteer, you are a true friend and inspiration to us all.
Brenda and Squirt
Brenda bathing Doris
In case you missed them check out the preceeding Volunteer Features:
For information about volunteering please see http://www.saintsrescue.ca/helping/volunteer.htm