Just recently, a life experience had me thinking about our generous volunteers. Every day they visit our resident cats, giving their time and energy, bringing smiles and comfort.
I’m pretty sure from time to time they might even wonder if what they are doing matters and if it really makes any difference to our cats.
That question I will address shortly, but first, here’s my story:
As stories often go – my day started out pretty much like any other: too many things to do and never enough time to do it in.
On this particular day, my son had been sick and out of school for several days. So, after work, it was a visit to the pediatrician for what we thought would be a quick diagnosis of the stomach flu. After nearly an hour and a half in the office we were eager to get out of there and on our way home. Our doctor however, had other thoughts and plans for us. So, instead of heading home we were on our way to the local Emergency Room for something that turned out to be a little more serious.
Several hours, numerous questions, prodding and tests later, we discovered that our next stop would be up to the OR.
We never did make it back home that night – and my son didn’t make it home for the next five nights. Fortunately, he was lucky to have us by his side during this time. Without us he would have felt alone, and even more frightened- a tough situation for anyone, even an adult to be in.
Over those six long days, he had a lot of “visitors” from different departments. Some brought treats (most of the time he wasn’t feeling up for), some brought activities, while others just came to sit and talk or play games to occupy the time.
Initially the visits felt too often, overwhelming and almost irritating. Over time, however, he came to look forward to these visits and the smiles and comforting words and feelings they brought.
This is the the point where my mind drifts back, as it usually does, to our cats at the Sanctuary. They come to us in a similar situation: scared, lonely, not feeling well, often with very few possessions of their own to comfort them. At times they are subjected to stressful vet visits beforehand where they are poked and prodded, often given vaccinations and blood tests and sometimes even surgery.
Just as with my son I am sure they initially just want to be left alone, wishing everyone would just go away. But I do know in time, that all changes. Slowly, they get used to their daily rounds of visitors – some who just want to sit and comfort, some who offer treats and still others who are happy to offer play. Eventually we begin to see changes in our cats behavior. We notice how they come to look forward to their special daily visits-and how they “perk up” when visitors arrive.
So, for me, answering the question of whether volunteers make a difference: There’s no question in my mind – and that answer is clearly YES.
And if you don’t just want to take my word for it – take a look at this recent study below:
So here’s a big thank you to all of our volunteers – who give their time and love.
And make our lives so much happier.
Lots of Love,