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Volunteer Spotlight: Socializers

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Socializers

At Animal Place, volunteers help with animal care, advocacy, outreach, and adoptions. One group of volunteers fulfills a special role of socializing shy or newly rescued animals. Meet three socializers who enjoy the double benefit of being outside in a gorgeous environment while also hanging out with some really cool animals!

Susan McCracken

sept 25 2013 sue willy sma

Susan has volunteered with Animal Place for more than three years.

Has there been an animal you’ve helped become more social?  

Lenny is the Animal Place resident I have had the most influence with, helping him overcome his fear and shyness. The sheep, with the exception of Aiden and Studley, require time and patience. When I’m with them, I find it best to sit and watch and let them do the approaching. Lenny now walks over to me and asks for face rubs.

What inspired you to volunteer with Animal Place?

Linus and Douglas, two calves rescued from a dairy farm. I was at Animal Place when the two were rescued. They were so small and Linus was so weak. I began to come up each week to sit and offer nurturing care to the two calves. When they became big and strong, Carmen (a three-legged lamb) arrived and I could continue my nurturing. Sitting with Carmen led to my special relationship with Samantha, Lenny, Aiden and the rest of the sheep flock.

 

Jan 29 2015 Alida A (1 of 1)Alida Labia

Alida has been a volunteer for the past three years.

Why did you start volunteering?

It was during the time Animal Place rescued the Turlock hens*. I read the story and wanted to help. I had no idea I would end up giving health checks to hens! I will never forget volunteers and caregivers alike, cooing and soothing these rescued birds. It was emotional for me when I saw these fragile birds take their first dust bath and live in safety and peace. The hands-on experience inspired me to keep volunteering with the animals in such a harmonious setting.

Who are some animals you socialized at Animal Place?

I have been privileged to spend time with new arrivals. I would have to wear a special suit to go in and socialize with them. I met Rudy, Magpie and Georgina, three piglets who had arrived. These three piglets are growing up with love and I enjoy spending time rooting around with them.

When you spend time with them, you get to know their personalities. Aiden the sheep is charming and his ears tell their own story. I recently was honored when Errol, a rescued chicken, sat on my lap. I am vegan for the animals, and Animal Place confirms my passion every time I am privileged to spend time with them.

DA9A7274Kim Midboe

Kim has been with Animal Place for two years, socializing animals for a year.

Has there been an animal you’ve helped become more social?
Jeffrey the goat and I have begun bonding, on his terms, of course! Even though he came to Animal Place at a young age, he is still wary of people. Progress comes in small increments with Jeffrey, but every now and then, he lets me know he’s learning that interacting with humans might not be all that bad.

What inspired you to volunteer with Animal Place?
Hearing the stories of what the animals have been through and seeing them now is inspirational. When you learn what Animal Place is all about and the work they do, you can’t help but want to be involved. Getting to know the animals as individuals — their personalities, their likes/dislikes, their quirks — is wonderful. Best part? They don’t mind if you are a bit quirky, too!

Interested in volunteering? Join our team! Sign up to volunteer here: http://animalplace.org/volunteer.html. Our next orientation is May 2nd. To attend, there is a $20 donation.

*In 2012, Animal Place rescued 4,460 hens from a cruelty case in Turlock, CA. Two egg farmers abandoned 50,000 hens and left them without food and water for more than two weeks. As a result of their legal case, the two farmers were banned from raising hens for egg production or owning animals.