Volunteering for Homeless Animals
At BARCS, our volunteers are more than just a tremendous help to our mission—they are our lifeline and our family. One of our volunteers, Beth S., goes above and beyond as a volunteer and foster. Read more about how Beth gives her time to animals in need at our shelter.
Beth and her husband Chris have been animal lovers all their lives. From rats to iguanas to dogs, pets have made their lives richer.
Beth first learned about BARCS when she and Chris attended BARCStoberfest, our annual family- and pet-friendly festival and 5K. Since Chris is a runner, he entered the 5K race and pushed Beth in her wheelchair the whole way! The couple had a blast and were inspired to volunteer with BARCS.
Soon, Beth became involved in all kinds of volunteer opportunities at BARCS. She says, “I help with events like the vaccine clinic and BARCS Around Baltimore. I transport animals to and from vets and rescues. I also really like to spend time getting dogs out of the kennels. Even the best shelter in the world can be stressful and frightening place. Sitting in the play yard, enjoying the sun and fresh air and just living in the moment are good things for both dogs and people.”
In addition to volunteering, Beth also fosters dogs. Her most recent foster was Sassy, a beautiful three year old who had been returned by a previous adopter to BARCS. She was gentle and loving when at home with people, but poor Sassy had serious separation anxiety. When she was in a kennel or locked in a crate, she cried inconsolably or injured herself trying to escape. Then, Sassy developed a respiratory infection. Sassy needed a calm, quiet place to recover where she could learn how to be calm and relaxed—which is when Beth stepped up.
At first, Beth was worried that Sassy might never find a home. And she definitely felt inadequate—like she just didn’t have the knowledge or skills to help her foster. But what she hadn’t realized is that all animals adopted from BARCS get free access to professional training for their entire lives, so Beth and Chris got Sassy started with training.
As Sassy recovered physically, Beth started meeting prospective adopters. It took a few weeks, but they finally found a good match: a couple who had experience working in animal shelters. The couple knew about separation anxiety and had researched possible treatment options.
Beth says, “They were exactly the right people for Sassy. I think every animal has the ‘right people’ out there, and I like helping them find each other.”
Overall, Beth loves her volunteer experiences—and she always encourages others to join in on the lifesaving fun. She explains, “I really like being part of the BARCS team. I’m the kind of person who will remember your dog’s name but not yours. So I was really surprised that one of the things I like most about BARCS is the people. The staff and volunteers are all devoted to creating a world where every animal has a safe and loving home. We’re not there yet, but we know we’re fighting on the right side.
“I want to encourage everyone to explore volunteering! There are so many ways to help that I promise you can find one that fits. I’m a triple amputee living with scleroderma. Anyone who is differently abled knows you have to be creative in finding new ways to do things. I may not be able to walk the biggest, strongest dogs but with the BARCS staff and volunteers we’ve found ways for me to contribute to the mission.”
Thank you for all you do for homeless animals in Baltimore, Beth! And if you’re interested in joining the volunteer team, check out more information here.