In 2014, after several years of helping and supporting municipal shelters in the area, the board of Sammy’s Hope decided that we would open and operate a home of our own: The Sammy’s Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center. We had learned a lot in previous years about how to organize, staff and operate an extraordinarilywell-run shelter, where homeless animals would receive love, medical care, human (and animal) companionship, socialization and enrichment during their shelter stay.
After tremendous planning and many discussions that went late into many evenings, it was clear that the only way we could move forward would be to recruit a large group of volunteers who shared a love for animals and the joy of caring for them. We knew that there were a lot of wonderful people out there, some of whom had already worked with Sammy’s Hope and people we would yet meet who were not only willing but very eager to join us.
We joyfully opened the Sammy’s Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center formally in February of 2015, and almost a year and a half since that opening we have a complement of 115 volunteers! Their support and commitment has been above and beyond our expectations—and led by their shift leaders, our volunteers do virtually everything: clean kennels, hand feed the animals, walk the dogs, play with the cats, and provide enrichment, exercise and socialization. They do laundry, mop floors, microchip the animals, and even foster them on an individual basis. Our volunteers take them on “field trips,” transport them to and from medical care, give them prescribed medicines in their kennels, and lately, even work with some to develop their manners, skills and agility. All the while, they’re falling in love with these sweet dogs and cats and working to find them forever homes. When that day comes, we send them off with tears of joy and warmth in our hearts that we’ve been so privileged to spend time—a few days or months—with creatures whose cuddles, wags, meows, purrs and kisses give us back far more than we can ever give.
The board and staff of Sammy’s Hope would like to thank our wonderful, amazing and giving volunteers who make it possible to fulfill our mission. We wouldn’t trade them, or the animals they love and care for, for anything.
This week's blog is by Elda Hubbard, Director of Volunteer Services. Elda has been volunteering at animal shelters since 2004. In 2010, together with Christine Young, current board member, and Darren Young, Executive Director, Elda co-founded Sammy’s Hope. She has been involved in many areas of the organization, including hands-on work with dogs, socialization, adoptions, canine evaluations, events, and volunteer recruitment and training.