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. Not only do out volunteers bring their hard work and muscle--mucking out stalls and moping floors, but they also bring soft skills that help SAINTS. Many of our volunteers bring professional and personal experience and expertise that have benefited SAINTS and allowed SAINTS to grow and become better at what we do.
Mo has been volunteering at SAINTS for 6 years and she was SAINTS` very first volunteer. She brought with her vital knowledge and experience from working with barn animals and in particular horses, which has allowed SAINTS to start and expand its farm animal sanctuary program. For Mo SAINTS is making a difference not only in the lives of the animals but also in the helping educate and bring awareness.
I believe that SAINTS is making a dent in the way humans view our companion & food animals, it is pretty hard to come & visit us & see all that is happening there & not go away with some food for thought.
For the other volunteers, Mo`s greatest contribution is helping get the dogs out of the house so that they can clean. Mo has a following of a dozen or so devoted canine fans that love to spend the day with her in the barn and help her. And by help I mean help clean up by snacking on the tasty brown treats everywhere (ick). Al, a 17 year old lab cross adores Mo and will jump the fence to meet Mo every morning in the riding ring no matter the weather.
Mo and Al on Christmas Day 2010
Mo has 3 dogs and 3 cats of her own. She bring her dogs with her to SAINTS when she volunteers and they mostly help her by hunting rats. During her 9-5 she is a government employee and works in an office. But even on her commutes to and from work she is always talking about SAINTS to her fellow commuters on the train and thanks to that she has brought in many good volunteers and found wonderful forever homes for many of our saints.
Mo giving keynote address and 2010 gala
I asked her what she loves about SAINTS:
Lots & lots of things to absolutely love about SAINTS ... like seeing Jewel go from a screaming ( in pain ) puddle of a dog, to a tail wagging, pond loving, mud digging girl--miss you Jewel, and building a bond with the animals that seems so strong I think sometimes they talk inside my head ( quick go call the guys in the white suits). But ultimately the best thing is at the end of the day ( whether it was a good day or a bad day) is leaving SAINTS & knowing that stalls are cleaned, fresh water is out, everyone has had a soft touch , kind words, a special treat , and several walks to the pond & back . It is the feeling of somehow making a small difference in an animal’s world.
I asked her what the toughest part is:
The hardest part of SAINTS is saying goodbye, even when I know it is coming, it surprises me when I feel sucker-punched.
Mo really is a super volunteer--she is the team lead for the barn and she has devoted her Saturdays and Sundays to SAINTS (including holidays) since 2005. She has the best work ethic (both paid and unpaid) of anyone I know--I can scarcely recall a day she has missed and she never leaves until the job is done right. She helps SAINTS bring in and train new volunteers, she helps SAINTS find homes for its animals, and she also helps with raising funds. She really is the pioneer weekend warrior. Her years and thousands of hours of hard work, sweat, and sometimes blood (squirrel bite) and tears have helped SAINTS build, develop, grow, and become what is today. She has touched, kissed, held, and known nearly every saint and I know they are watching her from the rainbow bridge. The saints alumni are smiling down at her. Cheers Mo. There are no words that can describe how truly amazing you are.
Gawd this is sappy (but true). But I don`t want to end Mo`s feature all teary because Mo has such a great sense of humor so I will end it by telling a funny Mo story.
Once upon a time on a cool winter day Carol arrives at SAINTS from work for her lunch break and heads to the barn to find Mo and take the dogs for a walk around the pond. She cannot find Mo anywhere, so she starts to walk to the pond with dogs and another volunteer. As she is walking she stops mid step as she spots a homeless person down by pond. She exclaims it utter bewilderment and curiosity to the accompanying volunteer, ``What is a homeless person doing walking around our pond?`` As they approach closer they see that they recognize this homeless wanderer. ``Oh its just Mo wearing an ugly toque` declared Carol to much laughter and merriment.
OK that was more a funny Carol story staring Mo. If you have any funny Mo stories please comment :) Thanks for always making me laugh Mo on top of all your other great qualities you are a lot of fun to be around.
Mo and Casper (adopted)
In case you missed them check out the preceding Volunteer Features:
For information about volunteering please see http://www.saintsrescue.ca/helping/volunteer.htm