We Love our Volunteers!
by Mary Marjorie Weber Marr
Some of the best conversations you’ll have when you get involved with rescue pertain to how other people first became involved in rescue. Oh, sure, there’s tons of drama out there, if that’s what you’re looking for, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make up your mind that you’re not going down that road, and look for people who are sincere in what they are trying to do. And hopefully along that path, you’ll find your own niche, your own passion, and you’ll make your own contributions to the cause of saving lives.
I would encourage you to make this one of your goals, to learn more about what the groups that you are working with stand for, and what their mission is, and who their leadership calls their “role models”. Are they open and honest with volunteers? Is there a chance for open conversations about the mission of the group as a whole? Is the group a true non-profit, with paperwork showing they are 501(c)3 certified? These may seem trivial if all you want to do is pet some dogs and cats at a weekly Saturday afternoon adoption event, but check out your rescue and make sure they are legit, so you don’t have to worry about the animals in their care.
Memphis Pets Alive! is based on a philosophy and ideals that is embodied in Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, TX. If you are interested in learning more about the ‘way’ our role model shelter came into being, you should check their website out: http://www.austinpetsalive.org/
Each year, that strong non-profit group holds a conference and invites people from all over the world to come and learn their techniques. Each year we encourage volunteers to attend if they are able. If you want more info on the conference, here’s the site: http://www.americanpetsalive.org/conference/
Not everyone can take such a trip. We have access to the “manual” (yes, it’s a tome) and many of the presentation slides. If you are interested in a certain topic from the conference, let me know and I’ll try to help you get more details about it.
Hopefully what you’re doing with your ‘spare’ volunteer time is very fulfilling for you, as well as meaningful for the pets you come in contact with: at the shelter, through fostering, helping with vet visits, socializing at adoption events, or other activities. Hearing your ideas rejuvenates our group, and keeps it fresh, so jump in where you feel most comfortable and be part of the solution as soon as you can.