Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ABC Wednesday: V

This week's ABC Wednesday

is brought to you by the letter V . . .

. . . for Volunteer

When I retired from teaching two years ago, I planned to spend part of my time volunteering, something I had had little time for while raising a family and working full-time. But most projects I was interested in required a set time commitment, which was difficult to do with an irregular substitute teaching schedule. Or perhaps that was just an excuse . . . However, last summer Oldest Granddaughter, who wants to be a Veterinarian, expressed an interest in volunteering at the local Humane Society. I wanted to encourage her, and since she needed not only transportation but also an adult mentor, I agreed to help, and together we went through orientation for Junior Volunteers.

Granddaughter has always been an animal lover, so this "job" is a natural for her. We help out several hours a month and can choose our own schedule, so it's also the perfect opportunity for me to help out in a small way. Junior volunteers are given simple jobs; dog walking, for example, is limited to those who are at least 18. Instead, one of our main activities is to socialize with the animals. Playing with the kittens or puppies, cuddling them, or brushing them helps them to interact with different humans as well as giving them a much-needed break from the confinement of their cages.

I can attest to the fact that the animals at our local shelter are well-cared for: well-fed, litterboxes regularly cleaned, and all necessary medical attention given. But it has to be hard for them to spend most of the day in a cage. The luckiest animals, I think, are some of the more laid-back cats who are allowed to live together in their own room with names like "The Catnap Cafe." I don't remember how they are selected to live here, but 8-10 cats live in each room filled with all sorts of climbing towers, scratching posts, and comfy couches. They still love the human attention, though.

Recently, Grandson #2 has tagged along with us. Now that school is out, I asked if he would like to come along so that he didn't have to spend a few hours home alone. He eagerly agreed--I thought it was because of the offer of going out to lunch afterwards. But he has really enjoyed it and now wants to become an official Junior Volunteer himself.

Granddaughter chooses what we will do each week, but our first stop is always to check out the puppy cages. Puppies never stay long at the shelter; usually by the time we see a new one, it already has a blue sticker on its cage, meaning someone has applied to adopt it. Even so, these little guys need play time, of course, and we're more than happy to oblige.

Can you tell by the blurry tail that this little English pointer mix was having fun?

This little guy was such a sweetie that if I didn't already have Sophie, I would have seriously considered adopting him. And that is the main problem with volunteering here--I wish I could take so many of these animals home. Although the shelter is not technically a no-kill shelter, we were assured at orientation that no animals are euthanized if they are not adopted. The shelter seems to have a high rate of adoption, and alternative homes, such as rescue societies are sought in special cases for a few animals.

Volunteering isn't just playing with the animals, though. Folding laundry, mopping up the occasional puppy "accident" in the play room, or washing and sanitizing the mountains of pet dishes and toys are all part of the experience, too, and Granddaughter is more than willing to do whatever is needed.

Helping at the Humane Society wasn't one of the volunteer projects I had in mind two years ago. But it's been a rewarding experience for both of us, and it's given me a lot of quality time with my granddaughter who is quite a remarkable and mature young lady.

And I do think the animals appreciate our being there.

ABC Wednesday is hosted by Mrs. Nesbitt and the ABC team.


  1. What a great way to teach the young to volunteer!

  2. Okay, now I want to go and volunteer at the shelter. I too am an animal lover even tho I have no pets.

    All the pics were so cute! Looks like the animals were having as much fun as the volunteers!

  3. Volunteering is wonderful! I would have a hard time at the Humane Society...I could easily become the lady down the street with all the dogs and cats. :-D

  4. Rose, what a nice project to do with your grandkid(s)! A friend of mine raises foster kittens and walks dogs for the local Humane Society. Yay!

  5. That's so fantastic, what a great thing for you all to do together. You sound so proud of her :-)

  6. What a lovely post. I really enjoyed reading that.
    If I had more time, I would love to do that sort of voluntary work. (If I wasn't working, that is.)

  7. How great is that ... I would do it too if it wasn't so far away from my house. I send them $$$ though.

  8. Such a nice post this morning. It just does a heart good to see the animals cared for in a loving manner. What a bonus to be able to spend time with grandkids and watch them make a difference.

  9. What a good V is volunteer ...and an interesting nice for children to volunteer

  10. Dear Rose, You are the best; mentoring your granddaughter and volunteering to help at the shelter! That would be a hard one for me to do, too. I would surely want a new kitten every time I saw one. Doesn't Sophie need a friend? gail

  11. Dear Rose,
    A lovely way to spend time with Grandchildren! Volunteering is needed in our world. Looks as if all of you are having fun too!
    A great "What I did on Summer Vacastion" essay!

  12. Veterinary volunteerS ;-)

    Learning a bit of responsibility is always a good thing.

  13. What an awesome thing to do with the Grandchildren!

    I wanted to let you know that I read every post that you and Beckie do, but blogger sometimes doesn't let me post comments :(

  14. Donna, This is something I didn't always have time to do with my children, so it's great to be able to have time to share it with my grandkids.

    Susie, We do have a lot of fun, so it hardly feels like "work."

    Janet, I hear you--I'm afraid one day I'll be that "old lady" with all the cats:)

    Monica, I'm thinking about doing the training for dog walking, so I can help out there, too. You would think Sophie has trained me enough:)

    Suburbia, I confess--I'm one of those grandmas always bragging about her grandkids:) I think Granddaughter and Tall Girl would get along famously.

    Maggie May, I don't work that much during the school year so I do have the time. I certainly didn't when I was working full-time either.

    JC, The money donations are certainly needed!

    Tina, The grandkids are learning something, and I'm definitely getting the benefit of getting to spend some time with them.

    Carol, I think kids are great volunteers, but it's not always easy for parents to have the time to get them where they need to be.

    Gail, Believe me, it's very hard to leave each time without a new friend for Sophie:) At the same time, she's convinced me that being a pet owner is a big responsibility and shouldn't be taken lightly.

    Sherry, I would love to do more volunteering, like tutoring, but it's hard to commit to a definite schedule. I have to give credit to Granddaughter for getting me involved here.

    RuneE, Granddaughter is a very responsible young lady, so I'm proud of her for taking on even more. Why didn't I think of V for Veterinary?!

    Laura, When I retired I vowed I would be available for the grandkids as much as possible. I know from experience how hard it is for parents working full-time to have time for it all. I have trouble leaving comments on some blogs, too. And I did guess the soybeans right, didn't I? It was your hint and the open field that helped:)

  15. Rose, I'm absolutely sure the animals appreciate it. Good luck to your granddaughter in her career path. I wish I would have followed thru with my first career choice and become a vet.

  16. Dear Rose....give your delightful granddaughter a hug from me. I also have an affinity with animals, especially those that have been neglected or treated badly. It warms my heart to see these two young people giving the animals love and attention.
    I have rescued many animals in my time....they are hard work at first but oh so rewarding as time goes on....and you always love them just that little bit more......

    English pointers are loyal and affectionate...a lovely breed. I have a friend who has one....
    I could most certainly see how happy puppy is....

    Enjoy this time spend time with our grandchildren is a priviledge....they grow so quickly, make the most of them now......

  17. What fun! Both the kids and the animals look like they are having a great time. You're setting a good example for this new Nanna!

  18. That is such a great thing to do! It will bring you closer to your granddaughter and grandson, and give them an excellent animal education too! Of course, the big winners are the animals themselves, and the shelter staff. It's a win-win-win-win situation! :D

  19. This has to be the best V post I've read so far. Quality time with your grandchildren while doing volunteer work for dogs and cats is honourable!

  20. What a wonderful way to give back and have special time with your grandkids, as well as teaching them the joy of volunteering. The animals seem to be loving all that attention!

  21. This is a great 'V". What a wonderful program Rose. You are the best Grannie a child could have.

    I would be hard pressed to not bring home another animal. Your shelter sounds great.

  22. Rose, I am so glad you finally posted about your ime at the animal shelter. I have been hoping you would. I think it is so important to encourage our grand children to follow their dreams. And to help them when we can. Equally important is teaching them that volunteering is something we all should do more of. If you start them young, theu will carry on with it all their lives.

    Great pictures of the kids!

  23. What a wonderful way to show your grand kids by example how to make a difference. I especially loved the first photo of Granddaughter getting a puppy kiss. Lovely post! Thanks for making me smile. :-)

  24. What a lovely way of volunteering! And of course you get to share a nice experience with your grandchildren too :)

    I've linked to you today as I'm asking for if any Spring Flingers have pictures of the Chicago street planting you mentioned the other day. You've whetted my appetite. Don't forget that something from your home town is just as welcome this month :)

  25. Marnie, The road to becoming a vet is hard work, and it's tougher to get into vet school here than in med school. But I've told Granddaughter there are other related careers if becoming a vet doesn't work out.

    Cheryl, The sad thing is that Granddaughter doesn't have any pets, other than a hamster. Their landlord doesn't allow them. She loves to come to my house to spend time with the animals, and going to the shelter gives her another opportunity. Oh yes, I do appreciate every moment, especially as these two are getting to that age where other interests often take over.

    Joyce, We do have a good time. This is the best part about being retired--I do have time to do more with the grandkids, and I'm available, whether it's chauffeuring them or babysitting. But really it's just "paying it forward," as my mother was such a great help when I was working.

    Jay, We don't spend that many hours here, but it's a good feeling to even have a small part in helping the animals.

    Leslie, How kind of you! It's the best of both worlds for me.

    Beverley, I sometimes wonder how much "good" we're actually doing, but I know the animals appreciate any special attention they get.

  26. Lisa, Can you tell I'm a proud grandma?:) It's hard for me, too, sometimes not to come home with another animal. But when I see that blue adoption sticker on their cages, I feel better.

    Beckie, I don't think I spent enough time doing things like this with my own kids, so this is a way to make up for it. Besides, I think we realize when we're grandparents, just how quickly time flies and how precious moments with the young ones are. I know that you understand that all too well.

    MG, Those puppy kisses make Granddaughter's day!

    VP, I've left a comment on your blog about this. I'm kicking myself for not getting some pictures of Chicago street scenes, but I know other Spring Flingers out there will have some.

  27. What a wonderful, touching post! I have a huge soft spot for shelter animals and a great respect for those who work on their behalf. I hope your granddaughter sticks with it. Veterinarians are very special people.

  28. Ah! What a wonderful job! I love animals too, but my inclination is more towards birds. Of course I love watching dogs and puppies, but in others' hands. I see your GD loves animals and is lucky to have you to help her.

  29. You must be VERY proud, Rose! (Right now, I'm probably the only VEXED grandmother in the world whose 2 young grandsons want to be 'taxidermists' ... go figure but a long story and not from my mentoring!

  30. I love this post, Rose. You're a great grandma to encourage the youngsters' dreams. It must be the best feeling to help out at the shelter and give your grands' self-esteem a boost at the same time.

  31. MMD, I'm hoping granddaughter sticks with her plans, too. She knows she's going to have to work very hard to achieve this.

    Chandramouli, I love to watch birds, but I wouldn't have the first idea how to take care of one.

    Joey, Well, the world needs taxidermists, too:)

    W2W, the kids do feel good about what they are doing. I saw in your last post that you volunteered at a shelter too when you were in Illinois.

  32. Rose, all the pictures are great but I love the one of the puppy giving your grandson a kiss on the nose! I know everyone's lives are that much richer for the experiences you're sharing.

  33. I love to see young people doing things like this, especially unpaid activities! I can just imagine how hard it is not to come home with a new friend each time. Thanks for such an encouraging post.

  34. What a rewarding, wonderful thing you and your grandchildren are doing Rose!


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