Over the years I had donated sheets and towels to Bideawee in Westhampton but never knew a lot about the organization. When my little 15-year-old dog, Jasper, died in November of 2015, I had a lot of medicines, syringes and special diet food left. I brought them to Bideawee and they were grateful to have everything. It was good to know that Jasper’s medicines could help other animals.
The months after Jasper died were very hard for me, I missed him terribly and felt such a sense of loss. One thing that kept coming to mind was the welcoming reception I had received at Bideawee. I finally went on the website to learn more about their mission. I wasn’t ready to bring another dog into my family, but missed having one in my life. I thought that helping other dogs might help me fill the void and decided to fill out a Bideawee volunteer application via the website. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I went through volunteer training and started volunteering with the dogs in March of 2016. It’s been six months and I have come to enjoy it more and more each week.
When I began volunteering at Bideawee I thought I knew everything about dogs but soon realized that I needed help! I wanted to learn the correct methods of interacting with the dogs, and teaching the puppies and dogs commands like “sit” and “paw”. When I spoke to our Volunteer Manager, Kim, she was so helpful, and immediately set me up with another volunteer, Arlene, who taught me the correct way to connect and work with the pups. Later, when I was ready to move up to “yellow” dogs, another volunteer, Janet, spent time teaching me how to put a harness on big and active dogs and gave me invaluable advice. In addition, the associates, Adrianna and Michelle, who I work with on Saturdays, are always willing to answer my questions, show me where things are or help me when I am unsure of how to handle a situation with one of the dogs. Everyone at the Adoption Center has been incredibly helpful, and they are always so appreciative of my assistance.
Over the past few months, the time I have spent at Bideawee on Saturday afternoons has become one of the highlights of my week. I look forward to meeting the new arrivals and to seeing my buddies who have been there for a while. One of my favorites is Marlon Brando who always greets me with a wagging tail and a look of appreciation. Since I know his medication makes him have to go more often, I always make sure to take him out as soon as I arrive and right before I leave, when the Adoption Center is closing for the day. Even though I know he must be uncomfortable with his skin condition, he such a gentle guy and always walks right next to me as though he enjoys my company. It is such a great feeling to be able to give so little and get so much back!
Every one of the dogs that I have had the pleasure to meet at Bideawee has helped me to heal from my loss and taught me more than I ever expected to learn. Helping with their care and just spending time with both the puppies and older dogs while they wait to go home to their new families is so rewarding. I would encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering with dogs or cats to learn more about Bideawee and to contact Kim who is always enthusiastic and supportive of the volunteers. It will change your life for the better!
Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.