This month, our Volunteer spotlight shines on an animal lover who hails from Vermont, Marilyn R.
“My family has been there since the 1700’s,” Marilyn tells us proudly. “I was surrounded by animals while growing up. My French grandparents had a farm.” As a result, starting from a young age, Marilyn had experience with all sorts of animals, everything from dogs and cats, cows and horses and pigs to chickens, orphaned skunks “and geese that acted like watchdogs if anyone came into the barnyard. Not to mention ducks, including one named Donald… who turned out to be a female.” Ooops!
“When I moved to The Villages, I looked at several organizations and decided I wanted to be a part of the HS/SPCA.” Marilyn, who has an eight year-old Golden Retriever named Winston, is not only a very active volunteer, but a creative one to boot. Marilyn has a contagious energy and unique ability to pool fundraising resources, as she also helps us make great strides with our benefit charity dog walk Strut Your Mutt and its feeder events. For instance, this year, she visited with many local wineries and breweries to collect all sorts of fabulous gift baskets and bottles that Strut Your Mutt auctioned off raising funds to help save lives.
“I love being with the animals. This shelter is very humble, however, the facility is very clean and the animals have excellent care from both the staff and the volunteers.”
Is volunteering always easy? “Absolutely not,” as Marilyn readily admits. “It’s important to know that there are days that are very difficult when you hear the animals’ stories. It’s not just what’s on their records but also how they look at you and respond to you. There’s a lot of work to be done. There is such a need for our animal shelter to expand and to also educate all the residents of Sumter County about responsible pet ownership and cruelty prevention.”
And it is precisely for those reasons, that volunteers like Marilyn make such an immeasurable difference at our shelter. And we do our best to let each of our volunteers shine in their own ways and giving us the best of their skill sets.
Clearly a team player through and through, Marilyn points out what has kept us going to reach 35 years serving our community and its animals. “There are so many dedicated volunteers. Each has different skills they bring to the HS/SPCA, but all are caring and loving. Without them, this shelter could not provide all of its programs to the public.”
Well, we couldn’t agree more. Which is why we salute the hard work and dedication of Marilyn as our October Volunteer of the Month. We’re so glad this Vermont native brought her love of animals down South!