Volunteers bring animal joy

 

UW-Whitewater senior Samantha Robinson acts as a voice for animals who can’t speak on their own behalf.

Robinson

Robinson’s work at The Humane Society of Jefferson County has given abandoned animals much needed love and attention.

“Even though some of these animals are hurting, they are so appreciative and show you love,” Robinson said.

Robinson is one of five UW-Whitewater students who volunteer regularly at the shelter.

“The importance of volunteering is that our shelter can’t function without volunteers, they are like gold,” Michelle Jenson said.

Jenson is the community outreach coordinator for The Humane Society of Jefferson County and has worked there for close to a year.

The Humane Society of Jefferson County is dedicated to providing a safe home for the animals of our community and always welcomes volunteers to help out at their shelter.

The shelter, which just celebrated its 90th anniversary, takes in stray animals, provide educational programs, provide opportunities for volunteers and provide pet adoptions.

Jenson’s passion for animals is seen through her dedication to the shelter. Her job includes setting up fundraisers, coordinating volunteers, educating groups about the shelter and setting up outreaches in the community.

Jenson

“There aren’t enough hours in the day for care staff to do the cleaning, the medicines and walking the dogs,” Jenson said. “The volunteers keep us going.”

The Humane Society has also teamed up with a UW-Whitewater organization called Helping Hands.

Helping Hands is an animal focused group that has helped the shelter at various events.

Robinson, a Helping Hands student organizer, said she hopes to have a shelter of her own someday. She knows the importance of being a volunteer at the shelter, because she has helped out at the Jefferson shelter for close to three years.

“The huge thing about volunteers is the fact they spread the word of mouth to come help out at the shelter,” Robinson said. “It helps bring in donations and has literally saved some of these animal’s lives.”

The organization is helping the shelter with a TerraCycle project. TerraCycle is a small U.S. business that turns packaging from common household items into new products to help eliminate waste.

The shelter receives money from this organization by sending in certain items.

The shelter will have a fundraising event at the Johnson Creek Culver’s on Dec. 10 with 10 percent of the proceeds from 4-8 p.m. will be donated to the shelter.

The proceeds from Culver’s will help cover the costs of: $20 for one day of cat litter, $175 for one week of on-call services, $90 for one month of bleach for laundry and cleaning, and $202 for one month of heartworm testing.

Some of the events the shelter has put together with volunteers in the past are dog washes, meet and greets, raffles and other fundraising efforts.

Robinson said the students who get involved with the shelter open up a door to network and build friendships with the people they are working with.

Both Robinson and Jenson feel that working at an animal shelter is an emotional challenge. They say it is a bittersweet feeling when an animal gets adopted after they have taken care of it for so long.

“You see abuse, injury and heartache from the animals who have been abandoned,” Jenson said. “Then, within seconds, someone can come in and make a donation or thank us, and then you know it’s worth this emotional fight.”

Robinson encourages students to get involved with Helping Hands or volunteer at the shelter. She said with more students involved in the organization, they can be more equipped to help the shelter with events.

“Even though it’s overwhelming to be a college student, once you start to help the animals, you almost forget about everything else,” Robinson said. “It’s a special relationship that you develop with both the animals and the people you are working with.”

Jenson said the shelter hopes to expand and update in the next few years.

Volunteers are always welcome and anyone can help out, Jenson said.

“When you help out the animals, they always say thank you somehow,” Jenson said. “They know they are getting a second chance.”

Helping Hands
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