"I retired August 23rd 2019 at the age of 62. Covid changed a great many plans we had that year. In September of 2020 I was looking for somewhere to volunteer. Not knowing what or where I wanted I called a couple of places and LCHS (now CARE) was the one that stuck out...their enthusiasm when I called made the decision for me! Obviously my favorite part of volunteering is when I get one on one with the animals, they are so excited to get attention and affection. Some have come from difficult situations, some are strays and some for whatever reason are owner surrenders but all of them love being with somebody even if it's only a few moments at a time. As far as an impactful experience, before I finished dog walker training and was mostly, folding laundry, cleaning and doing dishes, I could walk the puppies/small dogs in the puppy room. There was this young chihuahua mix. I would walk him when I first got in and just before I went home. One day I came in and he was gone. I immediately felt sad because I was going to miss walking and petting him but at the same time honest to goodness joy the he had a home. This was the first "real" experience with what LCHS (now CARE) is all about."
1. What made you decide to start volunteering with LCHS (now CARE)?
I retired, and it was a no-brainer for me. I wanted to work with animals, so CARE was my first contact!
2. What is your favorite part of volunteering?
I’ve found my niche working behind the front desk. In my career, I did a lot of customer service, so it was a perfect fit for me. No day is the same as the previous one. It’s loads of fun and super interesting, and I’ve learned a lot from working behind the front desk.
3. What is the most impactful experience you’ve had or the animal that’s made the biggest impression on you? There’s a dog that stands out in my mind. His name was Coy. He came in terrified, abused, skinny, and missing hair. With the help of the CARE and a wonderful foster home, he is now in a very wonderful loving, happy home. He made such a transformation!
I graduated vet school last summer and moved to Alabama to start training in pathology. I found this work to be very rewarding but it meant that I was inside in the lab most days. I really missed that animal contact I received during school. I wanted to volunteer so that I could spend some time with the dogs and cats at the shelter. It is also just a part of my own personal philosophy that I believe I should always strive to be a force for good in the universe.
I enjoy spending time with the animals. I especially enjoy spending time with the creatures that may be more shy and withdrawn. It is very rewarding to see them slowly but surely come out of their shells.
I guess I've been most impacted by my own foster failure cat (Cupcake/Yuki), who I adopted last month. However I have also built a connection with Rue. Not that it was difficult. She is a very sweet girl who is always ready to greet everyone she meets with a toy in her mouth.
My husband and I adopted our wonderful dog from LCHS in 2015... so I knew about the organization. I'd also been looking to spend some of my free time to help a good cause. So I signed up to become a volunteer at the very beginning of 2016.
My favorite part of volunteering is giving a dog or cat some much needed love, comfort, exercise or outdoor time--- even if it's just for a short amount of time at the shelter or an off-site event, or for weeks or months at a time by being a foster and having an animal in my house. I know every animal that comes through the shelter doors needs love... and I want to help them feel that.
Fostering has been the most impactful experience. I've had the opportunity to give more than a dozen cats and a handful of dogs a break from shelter life and let them relax at my home. I know how important fosters are in helping animals find their forever home, and I hope to be able to continue in this role for a long time.
1. What made you decide to start volunteering with LCHS?
I wanted to get out and do something positive. Since I enjoy animals, it made sense to me to try volunteering at a shelter. Years later it looks like I made the right decision.
2. What is your favorite part of volunteering?
Meeting different animals with completely different personalities. As a pet owner who has learned the habits of my own pack, spending time with completely different dogs spices things up. It also allows me to appreciate my own pets and their unique "personalities". Also being able to discuss the shenanigans my pets get into is a bonus.
3. What is the most impactful experience you’ve had or the animal that’s made the biggest impression on you?
I forged new bonds with new people.
Mary Ellen Belcher
I started volunteering with LCHS because I love animals and have had pets all my life. I have only owned cats during my adult life but love dogs too! With the lifestyle changes that COVID has brought, I had some extra time each week and decided I would love to start volunteering somewhere. I volunteered for a cat rescue in Carmel, IN for 7 years and those rescue cats were adopted from Petsmart in Carmel. So I started with something I was familiar with and loved to do….caring for kitties at Petsmart. It’s stress-relieving for me and I really look forward to my morning at Petsmart each week!
I have also helped at the shelter with laundry (it is amazing how much laundry there is each day), been a “cat companion” and spent time at the shelter just playing with kitties and have worked at a couple of dog adoption events. I am currently making dog toys (at home) for the shelter dogs.
My favorite part of volunteering is being around different animals and helping to get them adopted! It’s great to go back to Petsmart each week and find that one or more of the cats has been adopted by a furr-ever family! And it’s fun to help introduce the dogs at adoption events to people who are potential furr-ever families for them!
I can’t say there’s just one animal who has left a biggest impression
on me. All the kitties are sweet in their own way and I’ve enjoyed
knowing them all. There are all temperaments and ages and I get to
“love on” them all after I clean the cages.
Volunteering with LCHS is a wonderful to spend any extra time you
might have, plus you get extra exercise as well as the animals do! The staff at LCHS are an amazing group of people and you could not find any nicer coworkers anywhere! We have even had Happy Hour get-togethers for volunteers. Some of the dog walkers run/jog/walk with each other and the dogs, so humans get a new friend while the dogs become more social and get exercise. There is a place for you to help with anything you might want to do at LCHS!
1. What is your favorite part of volunteering?
I really thought it would be hard to see all of the animals and not bring them all home with me. But actually it’s the opposite...they are so scared when they first get to the shelter. But after a day or two they know the routine and they get to know you. They are so excited to see you each day and give so much love in return. I love walking into the room and seeing them all trying to get my attention!
2. What is the most impactful experience you’ve had or the animal that’s made the biggest impression on you?
Lorelei will always hold a special place in my heart. Grey tabby cats get overlooked and seem to stay longer in the shelter than the young, fluffy cats. It’s heartbreaking because they really have the best personality. Lorelei loved jumping up on my back and would give the best hugs of any cat I’ve ever met!
The one thing I’ve learned is that there is a perfect family out there for every single one of them. I’m just the lucky one that gets to enjoy them while they wait for their forever home. Anyone that has time and love to give but maybe not be able to have s pet of their own, this is perfect!