Editor’s note: In the spirit of our spring Nonprofit Issue, we reached out to volunteers from several local nonprofit organizations, asking them to reflect on what inspired them to begin their work and the impact it has had on both the community and themselves.
I have been a volunteer at Asheville Humane Society since 2007 — for 15 years! I first got involved with AHS because I am a retired certified dog groomer, and I wanted to use my skill to help the homeless dogs in our community. I could see right away that animals that were given a bath and haircut tended to get adopted more quickly.
I work in a fully equipped grooming parlor on the AHS animal care campus. I’m there at least one day a week and over the years have groomed thousands of dogs — and a few cats, too. I find grooming to be a very creative experience, but most of all, I love seeing how my grooming talent connects homeless animals with loving families.
One day, in 2007, when I first started volunteering, I noticed a 6-week-old kitten in a cage all by herself, meowing loudly. AHS allowed me to take this kitty home and foster her. I named her Sheba, and she was the beginning of my becoming a longtime foster mom. My husband and I turned our walk-out basement into an amazing “foster space.” Since taking home Sheba, I have fostered over 1,200 animals; mostly cats and kittens but occasionally dogs and puppies, too.
I love watching a foster animal blossom simply by offering it a safe and loving place while it recuperates and grows strong again. Fostering is one the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. During the pandemic, my “fur buddies” helped keep me emotionally healthy. They make me smile every day!
For more on the Asheville Humane Society, visit ashevillehumane.org.