On October 24, Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter celebrated the value of volunteerism by hosting an appreciation dinner for current volunteers and friends at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport. In this photo, taken by volunteer Lisa Robinson, Doe Ruggles (right forefront) expresses congratulations to Ruth Gjessing. Both women have volunteered at the shelter for many years. While Doe spends most of her volunteer time working with and walking the dogs, Ruth’s passion is the spay/neuter clinic for cats and kittens. The number of hours expended by both of these volunteers is innumerable and invaluable, yet it represents only a fraction of the hours spent by all the volunteers combined throughout the year. In the background of the photo, Audrey Rockwell (left) is both surprised and pleased as she converses with Amy Mariotti. Audrey works at the shelter through the VT Associates Program and knows each of the cats by name and by their particular likes and dislikes.
Approximately 45 volunteers and guests were honored at the dinner. “Without the dedication and commitment that you demonstrate by giving of your time, your caring and compassionate interactions with our animals,” noted Sherry Girard, Board President, in her opening remarks at the dinner, “the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter would not be able to fulfill its goal which is to find loving, permanent homes for pets in Orleans and Northern Essex Counties and to help control the pet overpopulation by spaying and neutering each animal that comes into our care while supporting a low cost cat spay/neuter clinic for our community.” Girard further reported that since opening its doors in 1993, the shelter has cared for several thousand cats, dogs, kittens and puppies. “This has been accomplished because of YOU - our volunteers,” continued Girard. “It’s pretty amazing what a community of volunteers can accomplish when they believe in something!” After noting all the duties and chores involved in working at the shelter, some less pleasant than others, Girard asked “So why do we continue to volunteer at the shelter when our lives are so busy day to day? Because each one of us has a memory etched in our hearts. You remember the gentle lick or very faint purr of the cat or the dog that was crouched in the back of his kennel. And YOU were the human he chose to trust. You remember the faces on the new adoptive family as they led their new forever friend out to their waiting car. This is why we return to the shelter time and time again. It can be hard work, but it is so very much more to each and every one of us as volunteers.” Following a message of sincere appreciation to all the PMFAS volunteers, Girard honored them with a quote well known by animal rescue groups across the country and particularly meaningful to shelter volunteers…“ By saving the life of one animal we may not change the world, but the world will surely change for that one animal.” (Author unknown)