Volunteering at a Cat Clinic

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I recently volunteered at a SNIP Feral Clinic in Martinez, California. This is a great clinic that spays and neuters feral cats in the community. My friend recommended volunteering here as she has been volunteering at this clinic for the past few years. I was immediately interested. After all, what could be better than hanging out with a bunch of cats all day?

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So at 7am we heading out to Martinez, California. We arrived early and my friend gave me a tour of the facility. The set-up was amazing! I have been to a lot of spay/neuter clinics, and this is the most impressive so far! The shelter is huge and they use every bit of space they can for the cats. Each room/area was set up to serve a different function for the cats. For example, the waiting area held a bunch of tables where the cats waited to be given anesthesia.  The cats then got transported to a room to get anesthesia and then are transferred again to another room (my room!) to receive a painkiller to ensure comfort during and after the surgery. After surgery the cat is given vaccines, flea and tick control and other such things.

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I was one of the three volunteers at the pain killer station. We received cats after they had undergone anesthesia and administered painkiller via subcutaneous injection. The day I volunteered, we saw 78 cats, but usually the number is much higher. Overall, the volunteers were great, the cats were amazing, and the lunch was incredible!

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Not only was I impressed with how well the clinic was set up within the animal shelter, but I was also impressed by the shelter itself. They even housed rabbits!

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Bunnies! Bunnies! Bunnies! How adorable!

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I’ll let you know about my next volunteering adventure!

-Paige

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Dog Days of Summer

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This morning I awoke to a very angry alarm clock. It seemed to scream at me to “Wake up! Wake up!” On any other day I would have hit snooze, but today was a volunteer day! I scrambled out of bed, grabbed the pair of scrubs and sneakers on my bedside table, and got ready for the day.I was soon walking to the parking lot to await the arrival of the other volunteers who I would be carpooling with to the clinic in Sacramento.

Before I write anymore, I should explain what Mercer is.  Mercer Clinic for the Homeless is a monthly clinic that serves homeless individuals in the Sacramento area to ensure proper care and health of the pets of the homeless. I began volunteering at this clinic during my first year at UC Davis and it has been a blast! It was here that I learned animal restraint techniques and how to communicate with clients from diverse backgrounds. I learned that the bond between a person and animal transcends a person’s living situation. I learned not to judge someone’s appearance or living situation and the joys of living with a pet.

During each clinic, undergraduate volunteers (such as myself) are paired with veterinary students in order to assist them in performing physical exams and serving our clients. Today, I paired myself with two vet students. They were both very welcoming and we worked as a team to exam our patients and reassure our clients that their animal(s) were doing fine.

One client that stood out to me was a female Boston Terrier. She was a beautiful dog with a wonderful owner and I couldn’t wait to help them out! At the end of the day, our patients left with wagging tails and our clients waved goodbye to us with happy smiles. What a great day!

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Have you made a difference in the life of someone today? It’s never too late!

-Paige

How to be a Great Volunteer

Now that summer is in full swing, volunteerism is skyrocketing as people find good causes to support. There is more to volunteering then just showing up on the day you committed, so below are some tricks to be a great volunteer.

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I took this from my high school agriculture teacher, who had a poster with this quote at the front of his classroom. He drilled the importance of integrity into our teenage minds until I couldn’t forget it. The lesson is simple: mean what you say. If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Although organizations love to have volunteers, they want good volunteers who will show up for the shift they signed up for.

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No matter where I volunteer, I always gain a new insight from the people I help. At Mercer Clinic for the Homeless in Sacramento, California volunteer veterinarians, vet students, and undergraduates provide medical care to pets of the homeless. Each time I attend this clinic I learn new things about the world around me and gain a better appreciation of animals and their owners. There is no room for judgement here. Instead, I learn to empathize and understand my client’s situations. Serving a segment of the population that you are unfamiliar with will help broaden your horizon, diversify your experiences, and allow you to relate to new people and their lifestyle.

Fun

I have volunteered at many events over the years and it always pays to have fun. Not only will you be excited, but so will everyone else. Being upbeat and positive always helps make the day go by faster and more productively. Being a downer or being too serious about your volunteer work will negatively affect everyone else’s work. Don’t be that person! Everyone is there to help and make a positive difference in the lives of others, so be happy-you’re doing good work!

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If you find yourself without work to do during your volunteer shift, then ask the event leader or volunteer coordinator if there are any available tasks to be done. The event leader will be impressed at your willingness to serve and your great work ethic.

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Always ask about the quality of your work and inquire about areas in which you can improve. Asking these simple questions will show the  event leaders that you are passionate about serving others by performing your absolute best. This will leave a good impression and you may walk away with a recommendation if you play your cards right.

Have you volunteered recently?