December Greetings from Volunteer Services!

This is the time of year we reflect on the variety of events, challenges, activities, and changes that have occurred in 2017. Against the backdrop of our new branding which we rolled this past spring, we celebrated the successes of our signature events – the Marin Humane Gala held on March 4th at Peacock Gap, and Woofstock held on our campus on October 1st. Sprinkled throughout the year were other smaller but well-received and enthusiastically enjoyed events such as Dog Days of Summer at Cavallo Point and the PigNic on the big lawn at Marin Humane.

In late August and early September, Hurricane Harvey hit the gulf coast and Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys. We responded to the call for help from our shelter partners in Florida by taking in dogs and cats from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale shelters. These were animals that had been available for adoption and needed to be moved out of the shelters to make room for evacuated and stray animals impacted by the hurricane.

One week after Woofstock, on the evening of October 8th, fires fueled by extremely dry conditions and strong winds exploded throughout Sonoma and Napa counties. Thousands of people and their animals began evacuating their homes and towns, finding their way into Marin for safe sheltering. On Monday, October 9th, Marin Humane began transforming from an adoption center into an evacuation center for animals. For two weeks, we received hundreds of animals, donations (both in-kind and monetary), and offers for volunteer support.

Volunteer Services was responsible for providing volunteer support in a myriad of ways. As the situation with the fires changed minute by minute that first week, so did the needs and ways we utilized volunteer support. Your “can do” responses were immediate and gratifying. So many of you worked long hours doing jobs you hadn’t done before, working with staff to provide the best care for the animals we sheltered. You did countless loads of laundry, washed food bowls, litter pans and crates. You set up big tents on the lawn, crates and cages in the Pavilion, helped receive the many donations of food and supplies that poured in from the public. Some volunteers worked at the Marin Civic Center evacuation center, offering TLC to guardians who were co-habitating with their animals. As the situations and needs changed, you worked with staff on interim procedures to make the animals more comfortable, assisted with guardian visits of the pets, and prepared a second offsite location for evacuated guardians and their animals.

When evacuation areas were reopened, families anxiously returned for their animals. There were many joyous and tearful reunions. Guardians were so delighted to see that their beloved companions were not only well-cared for but many of the dogs were also freshly bathed! People who needed supplies left with plenty of food, blankets and animal beds, collars and leashes.

And, then you were here to help return the shelter back to an adoption center. You deep cleaned the shelter, continued to do load after load of laundry and began welcoming guests interested in adopting again. We shared many stories, laughter and tears as we debriefed from the events of the previous several weeks.

Fueled by volunteer power, we were able to provide safety and comfort for hundreds who came to us in need. Together we transformed lives and made lives happy.

As we bid farewell to 2017, we offer our sincerest gratitude and thanks for your enduring commitment to working hard on behalf of the welfare of animals and people within our community and beyond.

Happy holidays,

Anne and Candace