“The HS/SPCA of Sumter is a small shelter that does great things,” says Cathy, our February Volunteer of the Month.

Born in Niagara Falls, Cathy grew up on a farm in western NY. “Caring for animals was always a part of my life. We had dogs, cats, turkeys, chickens, geese, rabbits as well as a rescued raccoon and two rescued crows.”

After 32 years of teaching art to middle school students, Cathy retired and found herself with time to spare and wanted to give back to her community. “I was a volunteer at the Niagara County SPCA in Niagara Falls, NY for several years before I took on the job of their Volunteer Coordinator. That was a big job that was very rewarding.  Volunteering at an animal shelter not only offers opportunities to help animals, but brings one in touch with many caring and generous people of your community. I developed many friendships at NCSPCA and still keep in contact. In fact I still offer my artistic services for event flyers.”

Thankfully, it was that very same incentive that Cathy brought down to our HS/SPCA when she and her husband moved to the Villages in 2014. With their four sons all grown up and spread out across the country, the decision to move south was easy enough. But soon Cathy found herself really missing her ‘shelter family’ back up North. “I needed to reconnect with rescues and the great people who work and volunteer at a shelter.” So, in January 2015, she attended an orientation session with us here at the HS/SPCA and remarks that it was because of that first orientation, and the joyful experiences she had from then on participating as a volunteer, that she found her “Florida shelter family.”

Cathy sites the diligence of our volunteers as one of the most impressive qualities about our shelter. Our staff is welcoming and hard working, remarks Cathy proudly. “They are dedicated not only on shelter grounds, but at many community outreach opportunities. Which is precisely how and why our small shelter is about to accomplish so many great things in the name of animal welfare. “I look forward to volunteering each week,” says Cathy, “to see fellow volunteers, walk the dogs, visit the cats and even feed my new best friends, the pigs!”

So, during this festive month of February, when love is on everyone’s mind, we thank Cathy for becoming a member of our shelter family and bringing so much warmth and compassion to our animals in need!