Paid in Smiles

My sister, Debra, is involved in rescue of the feline sort. She is part of a group with a well-earned reputation for its effective trap, neuter and release (TNR) program to reduce the feral cat population in her town back East. A much better writer, she blogs about her work with this all-volunteer community effort, and the joy of living and working with animals in general. (Stealing one of her images…I’m pretty sure she’ll forgive me).

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Her program had a tough week – the kind where you find the limits of what you can and cannot accomplish or cure.

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Every couple of weeks, we put new recruits through a volunteer orientation.

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The long-term “stick-around” rate is in the low double digits because they encounter the kind of realities my sister faced this week. Hard work – this rescue stuff. It takes a giant heart that you have to be willing to leave open – while simultaneously protecting, knowing that the work makes an important difference as it did for our Kobe, here.

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“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.” ~ Victor Hugo

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I am in awe of the people who remain committed to difficult efforts despite the emotional risk. When I look at these faces, I am so grateful for the humans who return – week after week – to ours. Meet Mary, 12:

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And Libby, also 12:

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“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~ Edward Everett Hale

I nearly forgot to update you … sweet Emma, my first surrender intake, went home just two weeks after she arrived. From fear and trepidation…

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to happy and excited to begin her new life – you would not recognize her as the same dog.

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“Volunteers are paid in six figures…S-M-I-L-E-S.” ~ Gayla LeMaire

Kasey…all 14 years of him. 🙂 Payment made.

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6 comments

  1. Emma has remembered that she’s a completely lovable golden, and thanks to you all. The transformation from wariness to confidence is beautiful. Now she has trust that a new chapter is opening for her: PURE HB magic . . i.e., consistency, constancy, hard work behind the scenes. and tons of love!

  2. Bless you and your sister and all your volunteers…I encountered this in hospice work as well. When you do find a volunteer who can enter the suffering and learn boundaries and love the work…they’re golden.

    Thank you so much!

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