All this week, we've been celebrating our volunteers via our social media channels, and volunteering will also be the focus of this column. Our volunteers are essential to the care of our animals while they're in the shelter. Volunteers can help by walking dogs, socializing cats, assisting with customer service, and completing our cleaning routines. Our new virtual fostering program also offers the opportunity to develop a close bond with one or two animals residing at the shelter. It is excellent for people who would like to foster but cannot bring animals home at this time. Virtual fosters also help us market their chosen pet or pets to help them find the perfect forever home, so it's great for anyone interested in photography, public relations, or animal advocacy.

PetSmart Cat Care Volunteers

Our PetSmart cat room, which was generously provided to us by the PetSmart of TigerTown, is entirely maintained by our volunteer cat care team, except for a weekly staff deep cleaning and restocking. Our PetSmart cat care volunteers provide all of the TLC for our cats, including keeping their kennels clean and providing fresh food and water, as well as daily playtime and socialization.

Mindy Taylor and Mary Ellen Belcher are two of our dedicated PetSmart cat care volunteers who visit the PetSmart cat room each week to care for our kitties.

When asked about her most impactful experience volunteering, Taylor said, "Lorelei will always hold a special place in my heart. Grey tabby cats get overlooked and seem to stay longer in the shelter than the young, fluffy cats. It's heartbreaking because they really have the best personality. Lorelei loved jumping up on my back and would give the best hugs of any cat I've ever met!"

Taylor added, "The one thing I've learned is that there is a perfect family out there for every single one of them. I'm just the lucky one that gets to enjoy them while they wait for their forever home. For anyone that has time and love to give but maybe isn't able to have a pet of their own, this is perfect!"

When asked about why she started volunteering at LCHS, Belcher said she had already gained quite a bit of experience volunteering with cats at another shelter. "So I started with something I was familiar with and loved to do….caring for kitties at Petsmart," Belcher explained. "It's stress-relieving for me, and I really look forward to my morning at Petsmart each week! When asked what aspect of volunteering is the most rewarding, Belcher said, "My favorite part of volunteering is being around different animals and helping to get them adopted! "