Day 6 of Volunteer Week - Meet our weekend warriors Priscilla, Brenda, Emily and Penny
Jean · Apr. 11, 2014
It’s day six of Volunteer Week and we're continuing to bring you features of some of our amazing volunteers.
A unique opportunity for the residents of SAINTS is offered by four year volunteer, Priscilla. She offers Reiki (a form of Japanese energy healing) to the animals. She finds great reward in offering this hands-on therapy with our animals whether it is to calm them, to help them with their transitions, or to help them with healing. In addition to helping animals anyway she can, Priscilla has many other interests as well, including sports, music, movies and spreading the Buddhist Dharma; did you know that she is a Buddhist nun? What she loves about SAINTS is the commonality amongst the volunteers- “they all love the animals and want what is best for them.” She believes the animals here at SAINTS can teach people many things and she has learned a lot from them. However, Priscilla finds hardship in not knowing when the animals will make their transition. Sometimes, she doesn’t come for a week and upon returning to SAINTS, finds that a few of her friends have passed. But if she has been there to help, it is still difficult but at least she finds relief in knowing they are free of pain. What stands out in her mind is the horses she worked with coming together to thank her for Reiki. She remembers Lucky, Jewel and Al when they made their transitions. The friendships she developed through the course of her Reiki will never be forgotten. A few friends that have touched her heart in particular are Esther, Rose, Al, and Bambi…this kind passionate and dedicated volunteer wishes she could have adopted them. Priscilla’s three words for SAINTS: love, second chance, respect.
Seven years ago, Brenda found SAINTS while reading an article in Modern Dog magazine. She immediately called Carol and hasn’t looked back since. Brenda travels from Hope every Sunday come to the place she describes in these three words: Carol, unconditional love, a gift. Brenda is a gift to SAINTS….her love for the house animals and for volunteering is apparent in all she does and the kind words she has along her way to clean up, care for, and look after the animals. Brenda finds satisfaction in knowing all the house animals have clean beds, food, water, and lots of love. When she isn’t at SAINTS, Brenda has worked with mentally handicapped adults for 27 years. She supervises a group home in North Vancouver that includes three ladies. Her other interests are her dogs ( one from SAINTS), camping, gardening, and anything outside. Brenda loves SAINTS, and it is apparent in all she does. She loves what Carol stands for and appreciates the fact that she does not have special criteria for who she takes in, the animals are not crated, and volunteers can have relationships with these animals. “Carol likes a challenge and gives every animal a chance for love.” Brenda remembers her first visit to SAINTS and Carol gave her the tour of the house. Laundry was piled up (washing machine broken) roof was leaking, and the house smelled of wet dog, poop, and urine…Brenda thought, “ This is the most amazing place I have ever seen.” Dogs, cats, pigs, and she was hooked! Squirt, our tiny kitchen friend, has a special place in this volunteer’s heart. She was there the day he arrived. He was scared, quivering, and terrified. Now he is Brenda’s lovebug…but don’t let Mac (Benji Max) know. Mac found his way into Brenda’s heart a year ago and all are so happy with this situation. To be honest, Brenda wasn’t sure she could do this whole SAINTS gig….she worried that her heart couldn’t take it. It turned out to be the opposite for her. She finds it a happy, uplifting, positive place. There are sad, heart breaking moments that make you realize it is the end of the line and Carol has done everything she can; can ones heart take this? Brenda can….she finds it uplifting, happy, and positive because she knows that for some short time, some animals found a life, a home, and love. In Brenda’s words, “ I am always humbled when I leave SAINTS after my shift. It is an honor to be a very small part of something so great! Brenda, you are a such a huge part of this greatness, and we thank you!
Emily is in love with everything about SAINTS and is one our newer volunteers. At just 16, she exudes a maturity and kindness to all our animals that is unbelievable. Emily started volunteering 5 months ago in the MP room and the house after a friend of hers took a SAINTS resident named Bo home. Emily works hard at school, volunteers, and is involved in karate and kobudo martial arts. At SAINTS, Emily enjoys talking to Shawn about the many animals, the cats who are so friendly, and the bigger dogs in the house who are so gentle and sweet. She admits her favorite is Jazzy, and she is “just misunderstood.” Emily says as long as you know all of the animals’ personalities, they are all awesome! Her words to describe a perfect day,” I find the happiness of all the animals when you are there with them, bright happy faces, wagging tails most rewarding. Just being able to contribute to a new fantastic way of life and to help with their recoveries is great.” Her most memorable moment so far is an issue in the MP room when Jazzy was oblivious and Pepper was apologetic; clearly, this young lady “gets” SAINTS. Unfortunately, our young Emily finds loss as well. The buddy who is left without a partner and an animal mourning…how do they recover? Emily keeps coming back to SAINTS because of the animals’ bravery, her excitement, and her need to help people understand. If she could describe SAINTS in three words: Fun, Interconnected, and Friendly.
Penny, our lovely bunny volunteer, has been with us almost 3 years. She was hooked after a tour with a Laura which began in the bunny room. Penny is retired from Human Resources at Rogers Sugar and is loving the freedom, and we love having her volunteer every Sunday. When she is not occupying her time at SAINTS, Penny enjoys gardening, reading, long walks, antiques, friends and family time, as well as trying to find homes for stray cats. But when she is at SAINTS, Penny finds working in the bunny room peaceful and calming and the rabbits are quiet, gentle and affectionate. Penny has the innate ability to see each rabbit’s personality and unique qualities! Volunteering allows Penny to feel that she is making a difference in some small way. It is the feeling she gets when her Sunday shift is over and she sees that the bunnies are clean, groomed, fed, cuddles, and sleeping…it is a feeling of safety and content. When Penny was asked about her favorite memories, she had two answers. She adores when a shy, scared, abused cat finds the trust to come out of a hiding spot for some cuddles and hugs; it is unforgettable. Secondly, the Open House is her favorite time. It is so great to see how many people appreciate what SAINTS does. “It’s wonderful to see the children learning about the animals and hopefully, gaining new respect for them.” But the hard part of volunteering? The losses, especially one that was extra special to her. Even though it is tough at times, Penny, like so many other weekend warriors keep coming back. She keeps coming back because of the animals, the friendships, and the social interactions with other volunteers. Penny speaks very highly of her fellow volunteers who give themselves so selflessly, as does she. She put it very well when she said, “ No matter what out backgrounds, we all have the deep love of animals in common.” One animal that had Penny’s love is Princess Leia, a bunny that recently passed away. Penny felt a real bond with her; her personality and attitude captured this volunteer. Princess Leia would make sure that Penny said hello to her first- she would sit up on her hind legs and stretch to rub her nose on Penny’s hand, waiting for ear strokes. Thank you Penny for finding something in every bunny to love!
Stayed tuned for more upcoming volunteer features.
For more information about volunteering with us see: http://www.saintsrescue.ca/helping/volunteer.htm
Check out more of our volunteer features here: http://www.saintsrescue.ca/wordpress/category/volunteer-features/