At the ARLGP we are incredibly fortunate to have a strong and dedicated network of volunteers, who support our mission to serve the homeless and displaced animals in our communities. We’ll be showcasing these amazing and generous people right here on our blog, to share why they volunteer at the ARLGP and what motivates them to donate their time to our shelter animals.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on the dynamic husband and wife duo, Lin and Jay MacNair. Lin and Jay have spent the past three years with us, volunteering twice each week (and rarely missing a day!). Jay is a dog walker and mutt mentor, and Lin is what we affectionately refer to as a ‘laundry superstar’ (the hardest job at the ARLGP!). Their time, support and generosity are incredibly appreciated by all of us here, especially by our four-legged friends. Read on to learn more about Lin and Jay, and why they spend time at the ARLGP.
Why did you choose the ARLGP as an organization to volunteer with?
Lin & Jay: When we both retired, we were looking for something to keep us busy. But, we also wanted something fun and rewarding. We both love animals, so we thought we would see if the ARLGP needed any help. Well, we soon found out that they are ALWAYS looking for help! What could be a better fit than a place that cares for animals and two animal lovers? We thought we would give it a 6 month commitment and see if we wanted to continue after that. It’s been 3 years now and we have never regretted a moment we have spent at the shelter. In fact, Tuesdays and Fridays have become the highlight of the week for us.
Have you had a favorite animal or a memory that sticks out during your volunteering?
Jay: There have been so many memories and dogs, that it is hard to pick one out. Pepper is probably the one that is closest to my heart. When Pepper came to the shelter, she had a rough life. The first time I tried to walk her, I couldn’t approach her. She was so afraid and confused. I sat in a play yard with her for about a half hour while she ran back and forth, watching me. After a while, I was able to attach a leash and walk her, even though she was very afraid. Each week, you could see a beautiful, caring personality start to emerge. When she finally got adopted, she was a beautiful, happy, wonderful dog that was going to a loving family. I mentioned to one of the staff members one day that I felt bad for the dogs at the shelter. He told me something I will never forget– “for a lot of these dogs, this is the best life they have ever had. We take dogs from unfortunate situations and place them in loving homes. What could be better than that?”
Lin: Of course I fall in love with every cat and rabbit that I meet, but I was a bit timid with the dogs at first, especially the big ones. Then, in comes Katie. She was the most beautiful, huge, wolf-like dog I had ever seen. Katie had been living with other dogs in a pack situation, yet she was gentle as a lamb. Once she trusted you, she was as affectionate as a puppy. Needless to say, Katie won my heart. She made it possible for me to be open to other large dogs, especially the large, bully mixes. Since Katie went to her ‘forever home’ I have come to trust many other dogs. Katie taught me that trust. I will always love and miss her, but most of all, I will always be grateful to her for teaching me that trust. Since then, it seems we always have a ‘favorite’ that we’re rooting for. I even adopted my very first dog and forever friend from the ARLGP, Charlie Thomas.
You both have been very supportive of our plan to build a new shelter. Why do you think the ARLGP needs a new facility and adoption center?
Lin & Jay: When we first started volunteering at the ARLGP, we thought that the shelter brought in animals and kept them until they were adopted. We soon found out that the shelter is so much more than just caring for the animals until they’re adopted. Many animals come to the shelter as strays, abandoned or abused. There is a lot of work needed to prepare these animals for adoption. A new shelter will provide a modern, first-class facility to care for these wonderful pets that need our care and support. When they come in, they are evaluated by staff for temperament and health needs. The animals are examined by a veterinarian and provided all medical care and vaccinations needed. They are spayed/neutered if needed and nursed back to good health. After that, there is mentoring and socializing and a lot of love and affection.
A new shelter would provide all of this care and more. The new modern building will be bright and cheerful and will make a great home for these animals while they are our guests. It will also show the community that we care about our pets. It’s a place to care for and heal our best friends.
Why should others consider volunteering at the ARLGP and animal shelters in general?
Lin & Jay: There is a simple answer for this: if you care about animals, volunteering at the ARLGP is your way of helping these animals when they need us most. People don’t realize how many of these animals haven’t had the same quality of life that your family pet has. If you want to help an animal that is scared, neglected or unwanted, nurse it back to mental and physical health and then find a caring, loving family for them, then volunteering at the ARLGP is the place for you!
Also, the ARLGP cannot provide all of this support without volunteers. The shelter staff is the engine that makes the process work and the volunteers are the wheels that carry it down the road. After 3 years at the shelter, we have never left without several “thank you’s” from the staff. It makes you feel wanted and ready to come back again. It’s a great partnership between the staff and volunteers. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing right now.
A big thanks to Jay and Lin for sharing their volunteer experiences with us on our blog! To learn more about volunteering, visit our website.