TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am? There isn’t a writer I know of who hasn’t, or hasn’t wanted to quote Edgar Allen Poe. I feel I get bonus points for doing it accurately. But truly, I am nervous. I’ve never volunteered for anything in my life; unless that volunteerism was directly related to my job, and then it was more like slave labor for a good cause than volunteerism, in my opinion. Never have I walked into a place, unannounced, unexpected, unknown and said “Hi, I want to volunteer.”
Nervous? Indeed, I was terrified!
In all honesty, I had no reason to be. Around a big round desk worked other volunteers who greeted me a hearty hello. The volunteer coordinator was as chipper as could be and was thrilled to have “another one”. I was afraid there would be formal training. I brought a change of clothes in case volunteering took place on the spot. I was handed a sheet of paper and told to check everything I would do.
Landscaping: Unless someone was pouring a bag of dirt into a three foot pot meant for a pretty flower, this was beyond what my back could handle. I guessed this wasn’t actually the job description and I did not check it.
Paperwork: Yes, I’m the queen of that.
Folding towels? Also know that by heart.
Website management? One of my umpteen majors was internet communication, I so got this. Coordinator lady, whose name is Megan, was extremely impressed.
Now for the holy grail of Humane Society volunteerism: Cat and dog socialization. Can I get an AMEN! This is why I’m here. Oh yes, right, I’m here to interact with people and enrich my life in Clinton. But the doggies, the kitties! How can you say no to those gorgeous little faces? I fell in love about fifteen times during my tour.
The first was Smokey Jones, an adolescent male cat looking for some lovin. He was a purrfect silver grey except for this white stripe running down his nose. There was too much tour left for me to smuggle him out. Not to mention the wrath of Jeremy when I showed up with a cat.
Next up was a pitty mix named Smiley. I don’t remember his real name; things were moving fast at that point. Smiley actually had a home to go to, which was perhaps the cause of his ear to ear permanent grin. A happier dog you wouldn’t meet. (I’m including my own, which would look at you serious as a heart attack if given a Whopper and say “What, no cheese?”)
There is a “get acquainted room”, which is similar to a space my mom came to love her Trevor, but it has an outside, so the dogs can “take a break.” There is similar neutral ground in a dog park of sorts. You bring your existing dog, the shelter brings their potential dog over, and if play or ignoring happens, you have a match! Other wise there are eleven acres for the dogs to romp and roam.
The cats don’t have it so well. Some earn privileges in a play room with staff. Despite the business brought by various factories and establishments, Clinton is still a rural area. There are many feral cats to contend with. It is the job of the Humane Society to get them when they are young kittens and young adolescents, and socialize the crap out of them. Some of the adults are just too far gone; they can never be domesticated, which is a sad reality of the job. Not that the workers don’t try. They give it their all. But farm cats might always want to be farm cats, and dumping them on the doorstep won’t change that. But it will be part of my job to try and change these cats, young, adolescent and old, to give them all a fair shot. It’s what they deserve.
I will also get to help socialize the pups, young and old alike. I’ve done a lot of training with Fredo, but he’s smart and willing to learn. Hopefully some will be too. But if I can train stubborn Miss BrieBrie to sit with a mere hand signal, I think I can work with some of these dogs. I don’t believe in any certain dog training program, but my vet did give me a good piece of advice. Dogs want. They always want. Make them work for it. So, dogs, get ready to work, there’s a new sheriff in town.
I’m sure I will have to do my fair share of nasty cleaning as well. Dogs don’t come with a self clean cycle. They drool, they pee, they poo and they love to roll in the nastiest things. I’m okay with this. Ever since I had my tonsils out, my gorge reflex has nearly gone away. If I can pull desiccated chipmunks out of Fredo’s mouth, I can handle what these dogs throw at me. Or throw at the floor, or throw wherever. I’m good.
Cats are a different story. I can’t clean cat boxes. Cat poo is the ultimate no-no. Sorry fellow workers and volunteers. Toxoplasmosis happens and it ain’t happening to this immune compromised chick. You go ahead and have fun cleaning that stinky pile of poo while I snuggle with Mr. Cuddles over here, m’kay? But seriously, it is a dangerous disease and if you don’t believe me, there are warnings right on the box. I’m all for being love bombed by kittens; I’ll just skip the painful and possibly deadly pathogens.
The one thing I do know about today is that I have no idea what is going to happen today. I’m nervous, I’m scared, I’m exhilarated and I’m ready. I hope I like it. I hope I don’t come home complaining what a waste today was. I hope I’m ready for more. I just hope. And that is all any of us can ask for.
This is our showcase page, containing various submissions from various Authors. Please look for snippets about the Authors following their pieces.