Appreciating volunteers for National Volunteer Week

A walk through the shelter reveals a small selection of the many generous people who volunteer their time to help homeless animals.

There by the front door is Barbara Duggar, greeting people with a kind word and smile as she guides them to a pet that may become their next best friend. As I pass the cat rooms, the images on the windows remind me of Elia Pirtle, who paints seasonal scenes featuring frolicking dogs and cats. In the volunteer office, Judi Kleidon is busy updating the database of volunteers. In one of the cat rooms, I spot Ann Simone, a cat mentor, showing two new volunteers how to help cats.

Over in the clinic, Roxie Naphan is cleaning and preparing surgical packs to go into the autoclave for sterilization. In the surgical suite, volunteer veterinarian Dr. Randy Genis is performing surgery on an injured homeless dog. Linda Thimot drops off a feral cat in a trap so she can be spayed for an elderly woman who has been feeding the kitty.

On the way to the dog area, Natasha Sperka is coming down the hall with a big smile and an eager dog on their way for a walk. Bob Lissner is sitting on the floor in a quiet corner with a shy dog, offering patient encouragement. In the exercise yard, Michelle Ting is photographing a dog so he will look his best for people visiting PetFinder.com. Behind the shelter, Marlene Williams and Ken Damon are loading the van for an offsite adoption event.

Back in the office, Gina Cole is helping out. Karen and Charlie Freemyer have just arrived bearing two large bags filled with colorful crocheted cat blankets. During the past four years, the Freemyers have made more than 4,700 kitty beds, many in holiday colors. Roz Zimmerman has come to pick up a litter of kittens that need foster care before they are old enough to be neutered.

The place is buzzing with volunteers — many more people than I can possibly mention. But this week, National Volunteer Appreciation Week, seemed a good time to share some of the many good things they make possible for the animals. Our very special thanks to our many volunteers.

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