Soft-Hearted Soldiers: And Why We Need More - Little Orange Buddha
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Soft-Hearted Soldiers: And Why We Need More

Part Five of a Series about Saving Chicago’s Healthy and Treatable Homeless Animals

I wrote a truly highbrow poem once. It was called, “Because You Gave a Shit.” And it began something like this: “Because you gave a shit, a life was saved today. It’s never been a pretty business, this death due to delay.” And it ended something like this: “Because you jumped into the fray. And because you gave a shit. A little life was saved today. And I am grateful for it.” I won’t bore you with the other masterful stanzas in between, but I will say that in true Emily Dickenson style, it went on for a fair number of them. The poem was an homage to that heartiest of soft-hearted soldier who gets knee deep down in the muddy, tear-filled animal welfare trenches to ensure that what once mattered to no one, mattered more than anything to them.

I love shelter volunteers. And I especially love the ones that venture into the municipal City shelter to help the hundreds of animals awaiting that coveted second chance. CACC has a small hard-working staff that performs the essentials, like cleaning, medical, customer service, administration and control services. But if the dogs are going to get walked, play-grouped, loved up and socialized, that takes volunteers. If people are going to be shown dogs and cats for adoption, that takes volunteers. If kittens are going to get bottle fed, that takes volunteers. If the animals are going to get promoted to the public and rescues, that takes volunteers. And it takes a heck of a lot of them.

And I’d like to make the argument, and a rather irrefutable one I think, that the more volunteers there are at the City shelter, the more time the animals can get out of their kennels, and the better their opportunity to stay mentally and physically fit for the duration of their stay. There is a bit of a process involved, including a background check, but the sooner you get started, the sooner the process can get started.

Volunteering at Chicago Animal Care and Control

While you’re waiting for your background check to clear, you can still volunteer with Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control at Pet Smart with the kitties, or Safe Humane Chicago at the shelter, doing in-kennel enrichment.

More is good. More, more, more, and more. If we want to save the City’s healthy and treatable homeless animals, the City shelter really needs an army of volunteers. It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it. Let’s make it happen Chicago.

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Susan Russell
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