Its National Volunteer Appreciation Week (April 10-16) and in recognition of our amazing volunteers I have been doing volunteer features throughout the week. Volunteering at SAINTS is not a hobby or something people do for something to do for a few hours week. Its a total commitment. Many of our volunteers take home laundry to do during the week, make special home made meals for the animals, fundraise and collect donations, clip coupons and shop for deals on bleach and other necessities, foster animals, find homes for our animals, answer emails, sort mail and the list goes on and on. Who would think it would take a small army of dedicated and passionate volunteers to run a "little farm in a little town" (2009 CBC news opening words used to describe SAINTS). The General (walking boss) of the SAINTS Volunteer Army is Carol, but her Captain would most definitely by Laura B. (FYI Daphne would be the Colonel).
When I think of Laura I think of ghost busters ... well just the "who ya gonna call ..." LAURA! If you happen to be working late and have a bunch of hungry and spoiled barn animals that need feeding and putting to bed you can call Laura and she would also check on the house guys and make sure everyone is sleeping safe and sound. If you happened to be cleaning an area and you grabbed a blanket and shook out a dead rat, you can SCREAM Laura and she will come over and dispose of the dead vermin. If you happened to be whining to your mother one day about how much you would really love a cold cola Laura may even drive to the store and get you one (the rat and the coke are true stories and may or may not have involved me ... I am not admitting to anything at this time please speak to my council aka Daphne). If there is a group of 15 people all wanting to be shown around and told about SAINTS, you are definitely calling Laura because she is the best (and frankly the only one willing to do the tours). If an 800lb pink pig princess has magically disappeared (or is hiding!) and has watched you look EVERYWHERE for her and walk the entire property 50 millions times and still won't reveal herself ... you better call Laura.
She has a common sense and a tenderness that is necessary when working at SAINTS with the multi-species and the old and sick animals that you cannot teach to someone. Carol knows that she can trust Laura with the important things and not have to worry. And if all that were not enough to give her the MVV award (most valuable volunteer), she does one of SAINTS' most successful yearly fundraisers--the Scotia Bank Bake sale in Mission. The last one brought in over $10,000. Wowzers!
So yeah Laura is definitely our knight in shinning gum boots. She is multi-talented and often makes multi-trips up to SAINTS in a day to help out where and when needed. She does the jobs (big and small) that no one else thinks of (or often does not want to do) like the recycling, mowing the lawns, poop scooping the yards, and of course the tours on Saturdays and Sundays. She has brought in many great volunteers to SAINTS and found homes for many of our hard to place animals. AND I just discovered a talent beside fundraiser, lawn cutter, rat disposer and pig finder I never knew Laura had ... Laura is a great writer! I will turn the page over to her so you can read her own wonderful and heartfelt words about volunteering at SAINTS.
I live in Mission and have worked at Scotiabank for 23 yrs. I also do part-time pet sitting & dog walking for Shake-A-Paw Pet Services. For leisure I play ice hockey.
I came to Saints for a tour Dec 2007 and could sense right away an amazing positive energy surrounding this place and was hooked. I started helping clean that same day and over 3 yrs later feel privileged to call Saints my 2nd home.
To me Saints is a place where every single animal is loved for who they are ... good, bad & ugly (though I think they are all cute). Once they realize that it is ok to be themselves, some very interesting characters emerge ... that bring us many laughs. That's what its all about--Live Laugh Love--which is the sign in our memorial garden.
The crippled crew past and present have burrowed into my heart and given me so many gifts. That is why I like being the tour guide, I love sharing their stories and letting the general public see the value in these once unwanted animals. The other thing I love about doing the tours is watching Percy wrap his tongue around some unsuspecting womens ponytail .. .then you've had the full Saints tour!
Laura and Muphy
Jobs I do:
Grass cutter (which makes my pooper scooper job much easier!)
Barn bed time when needed
Pig finder (when Ellie mae decides she wants to play hide-n-seek)
Also another volunteer perk is getting to know some cool SAINTS seniors who now call my place home
Dogs: Murphy, Lady, Banjo
Cats: Peter, Bobby, Dorothy
For helping always answering the call of duty anytime of day or night, for giving us all peace of mind knowing you are there looking out and supporting Carol, but most importantly, for being the best spokesperson SAINTS could ever ask for, thank you X infinity. Laura you are a rare and special human being and the saints could not ask for a better more tender heart to be their voice when showing and telling visitors about their home and their stories.
In case you missed them check out the preceding Volunteer Features:
For information about volunteering please see http://www.saintsrescue.ca/helping/volunteer.htm