As in my first post I talked about my experience working as a CSR, on the second one I am going to tell my experience volunteering for a cat´s shelter for about four years, and also rant about other animal-related things.
During that period as a volunteer I´ve been helping on several areas: cleaning the shelter (especially the rooms where the cats were separated due to health issues), going to some occasional stalls selling second-hand stuff and food to raise funds, and managing the Facebook page where some donated cat-related items were sold to finance the shelter.
First of all, I have to say that I never received money for what I did. I think this can seem pretty obvious as I was a volunteer, but I want to clarify it as nowadays you can see lots of people who seem volunteers asking for money on the streets for several charities, but they are receiving a wage for it. I understand people has to earn a living but please, don´t talk to me about whatever drama somewhere when you probably care less than me. But that´s another topic…
So, related to my experience on the cat shelter, as a crazy cat lady I´ve been since I remember, it was hard but amazing overall. I used to go once a week to help cleaning the shelter. It was a hard job, seeing all those cats without a family, some of them really difficult to be adopted for their behaviour, illnesses, age or even coat colour. But I tried to see it on the good side: at least they were not living in the street, they were cared. And I was helping to improve their conditions. It was sad when one of them couldn´t be saved, but as I said before at least they were not left alone in a ditch. And I felt really happy when they got a good family. As in Spain animal abuse is normal, I had to hear and see some terrifying stories. These abuses and the lack of funding for these kind of charities in Spain made me aware of several things: the importance of education and social awareness, the need of neutering and the complete opposition to any kind of animal-related commerce, so spreaded here.
As a conclusion, I would like to encourage all animal lovers with a bit of time to give out to look for their closest shelter and cooperate. Even if it´s for a short period of time, (as i.e. you are unemployed or on holidays) it will be welcomed. You can donate animal food, blankets or any other thing they could need, sometimes even medicines used in humans. You can sponsor an animal, help on cleaning, walking and socialise animals, or even shelter at home while finding a family for them. It will be an amazing and revealing experience, for sure.
And if you are thinking about getting a four-legged friend, think about getting one from your local shelter, don´t buy it. Do you really want to give money to someone who makes their “loved” pet suffer the risk of a pregnancy and condemn others to a life without love just to get money? What happens to those puppies and kittens who are not sold?. Just to finish, there´s no money that can buy the feeling of having helped an animal in need.
All the pictures in this post have been taken at Proyecto Gato cat shelter in Vigo, Spain.