Thursday, April 18, 2013


National Volunteer Week…April 21 to  27, 2013

Mary, a woman who always flamboyantly dressed, was a senior with whom I played duplicate bridge for a few years.  She confided in me that she was often so lonely, she'd go shopping in local malls to fill her empty hours.  I suggested to her that volunteering could give her much satisfaction and be of great appreciation to those with whom she spent time.  Twice I gave her lists from the local paper of where to volunteer in our city...she drove a black Maxima...and being with people, could be socially enjoyable.

Consider:  Joseph Brant Mem. Hospital          CNIB (Can. National Inst. for Blind).
                 Driving for Meals on Wheels          Big Sister and Brother  Assoc.
                 Heritage and Arts                           The Good Shepherd
                 Nursing Homes                               The Red Cross
                 Friends in Grief                               Disaster Relief
                 Nursing Homes                                 ...and the list goes on

Being an animal lover, she showed some interest in taking pets from the SPCA  and Animal Control to Nursing Homes, bringing cheer and happiness to patients. I discovered  she was  more  receptive to people paying attention to her.  Unfortunately, she couldn't conceive how pleasurable and rewarding  volunteering could be and the joy of satisfaction it could bring to her.

There is a Horse Rescue Reserve located near cares for abandoned animals whose usefulness is past or may be too ill to keep. Every day, somewhere, there is a horse that just wants to be loved and given a chance to live a happy life. Concerned volunteers give of their time and interest.

Longtime German friends (Adolf and Eva) living on Hamilton Mountain, were continually tending animals and birds in their home...ones who were injured or abandoned.  Then when “mended” and well fed, they released them to the wild again...a raccoon with an injured paw, a small owl with a broken wing, a cat with a partially severed tail, a lame puppy, a baby bird that fell from its nest.  What wonderful deeds of kindness resulted when they volunteered their time to restore health to the maimed!

One of Life's greatest joys is having a pet. 
They bring us so much happiness and companionship
                                                    that we cannot enjoy life without them.

Squirrel...a True Story
(Thanks to Sydney for sending this to me)

Soldiers in Belarus found a little squirrel and brought it to the Warrant Officer.  The squirrel was very weak and about to die, so the officer took care of it...fed it like a baby every four hours.  After fulfilling his deployment assignment, he left the army with “Peanut”, his squirrel and now works as a taxi driver.  The squirrel is always in his pocket, no matter where he goes...often sitting on the dash of the vehicle. Light brownish gray with dark ears, large bushy tail and a fully white tummy, he loves his master's table for snacks and often snuggles beside the master's gray and white tabby cat. His bed is a downy white blanket....and how richly he lives in this new homeland!

Rescuing one animal may not change the world;
but for that animal, his world is changed forever! 

Fur is Flying

Volunteers save thousands of dogs from death row 
on rescue missions.

At a Midwest National Air Center, a white Piper Cherokee drifts to earth like a paper airplane in the bright twilight, the buzz of its single engine only slightly louder than the chirp of grasshoppers in the surrounding farmland.  On the ground, the pilot unfolds his body backward through the passenger-side door.  Standing on the wing, he asks  his passenger, “Honey Bee, do you want to get out?” 

Honey Bee, a 2-year-old bluetick coonhound, raises her head and cocks her floppy velvet ears. She has slept for two hours since the gentle-voiced stranger picked her up at St. Louis Airport and loaded her into this strange vehicle. The pilot strokes Honey Bee under the chin, then leans in and scoops up the 50-pound hound.  Sam Taylor has the  squared shoulders and stick-straight posture of a military helicopter pilot who flew search-and-rescue missions during the Vietnam War. Now he flies animal rescue missions for Pilots N Paws. On average, Taylor goes on one to three rescue flights a week.  Most flights are in a 240-kilometre range.  In September, 2010, he was part of a mission that rescued 171 dogs from Louisiana after the gulf oil spill.  These pilots pay for their own gas, which averages $48 an hour.  He has transported 279 dogs and one cat and he has pictures of every one of them.

Honey Bee was rescued from a farm in rural Kentucky where a once-respected-breeder descended into ill health and hoarding behaviour and ultimately abandoned his property, leaving behind 29 coonhounds, many locked in kennels, horse stalls and the house.  Over the next 5 days, Honey Bee will be handed off 21 more times in a relay  stretching 3,460 kilometres.  But first, Taylor pushes his airplane into its hangar, pulls the door shut and locks it, the blanket Honey Bee slept on in the plane draped over his arm.  He spreads it out over the front seat of his pickup.  “She's familiar with the blanket, so that is a comforting thing.”

Many rescued dogs start their new lives with a stay at a foster home while volunteers post information about the animal online in hopes of finding an adoptive family. Once an adoption is arranged, the rescue organization contacts a volunteer transport co-ordinator to cobble together a route that often involves six to two dozen legs by road and by land.

Today, the network…Pilots and Paws...has 2,700 volunteer pilots in 50 states and has flown more than 10,000 animals. Kansas City's Patrick Regan wrote a book about the organization called " Dog is My Co-Pilot". He writes that Taylor is outstanding because of the combination of his professionalism and extreme compassion for dogs, an assessment shared by rescue volunteers who work with him.

                              (the above are excerpts from a June 30th, 2012 Spectator article)


My son sent  his 504,000-kilometre-travelled-Odessy van to Honda Heaven.
After one of my cat's “nine lives” expired, he went to Cat Heaven.
When a loved family member passes, he goes to Heaven to live out his spiritual life.
I am  confident there must be a special mansion in Heaven for Volunteers!

Fantasy Island

                                                     Many will be shocked to find
                                                     when the day of judgement  nears,
                                                     that there's a special place in Heaven
                                                     set aside for Volunteers.

                                                     Furnished with big recliners,
                                                     satin couches and footstools...
                                                     where there's no Committee Chairman,
                                                      no group leaders or car pools,
                                                      no eager team that needs a coach,
                                                      no bazaars and bake sale.
                                                      There will be nothing to staple;
                                                      not one thing to fold or mail.
                                                      Telephone lists will be outlawed.
                                                      But a finger-snap will bring
                                                      cool drinks and gourmet dinners
                                                      and rare treats fit for a king.

                                                      You ask, “Who'll serve these privileged few
                                                      and work for all they're worth?
                                                      Why, all those who reaped the benefits
                                                       and NOT ONCE volunteered on earth!

(Author unknown)

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr … April 2, 2013
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