Everyone volunteers for a different reason. Every time I do, its for a different reason.
Sometimes it’s a social component. I live alone and spend a lot of my time alone. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Through volunteering I have met all types of people with various backgrounds. But we all come together for the love of animals. I look forward to showing up to volunteer to see who is there and who I can catch up with.
Some days the world seems against me and it seems nothing I do is right. However when I’m with the animals I don’t have to be anyone other than me. I don’t have to put on a happy face, or fake an emotion. I can be myself. I don’t have to do anything special. They appreciate that I’m there. Of course, a nice scratch or brushing is always welcomed, but many of the animals just enjoy human companionship. On stressful days this is exactly what I need. The positive energy and love that comes from spending time with animals cannot be matched.
Some days I am a skilled worker. I never even knew this was something I was capable of. Whenever I’m asked asked, “Hey can you help with this?” I jump to it. “Sure!” always seems to be the right answer.
If I don’t know how to do the job, I’m happy to learn. We never know what we are capable of if we don’t try. I have learned I can master fencing, leading horses, being a sous chef, deep cleaning pens/housing, and waste management. Who knew?
What I do know I have gained from volunteering is a sense of purpose. Many days are repetitive cycles of work, eat, sleep. Work, eat, sleep. If we don’t take the chance to go out and grab opportunity by the horns (no pun intended, Chompers or Boots!) the opportunities can pass us by. A Saturday can easily be spent huddled on the couch binge watching Netflix or napping. Or I can volunteer. Everything I can do to help, is one less job/chore left on the Havens to-do list. There is a great sense of accomplishment getting work done and seeing the benefit for the animals and/or the Haven as a whole.
Every time I close those metal gates at the end of the driveway I feel great. I never thought volunteering could have a selfish component, but there is. I feel great! Many times I wonder if the Haven is getting anything from my volunteering, but I know my heart, mind, body, and soul get a whole heap from it. I think what help I can offer the Haven, my soul gets back at least ten fold.