A group of volunteers founded the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894 and are vital to our success today! With the help of volunteers, we can provide care, love and attention to our four (and sometimes two) legged friends until they find their forever homes. The MVP (Monthly Volunteer Profile) will recognize the work and get to know these special MVP’s in a spotlight each month that includes an article and photo shoot. MVPs will receive a framed photo and gift card as our thanks!
Is there a volunteer you’d like to nominate to be MVP? E-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us why you think they should be an MVP!
MVP is a volunteer-driven project with articles by Brian Kozak and pictures by Jim Harvey.
February 2017 MVP: Marlene Rose
If you ever want to find out what Winnipeg Humane Society cat-based volunteering position is best for you, the easiest approach might asking volunteer Marlene Rose.
At one time or another, she’s done them all and she’s still doing many of them each week at the shelter.
You’ll find Marlene at the shelter most days but finding her could be a challenge. She could be working behind the scenes in assessment, or in the cat condos, for example. One of the rewarding things about the multitude of jobs is that sometimes she gets to follow a cat through from intake to adoption.
“I’ve just started doing animal care in the fall,” she said. “Cleaning cages and feeding the cats so it’s interesting – there might be a cat who I meet when they come in. I clean their cage or feed them breakfast. Maybe a day or two later I might see them again when I do the cat assessment.
“Then I might see them in adoptions when I am cat cuddling or as the condo assistant. And then I help with the photo shoot, and sometimes I’m there when someone meets them and falls in love with them. It’s the complete circle and it’s very rewarding. It doesn’t get any better.”
Marlene started her volunteer career with the Winnipeg Humane Society in 2009. She became interested in volunteering after a visit to the shelter and realized she could volunteer.
Retired from the Taxation Centre, Marlene decided to start volunteering because of her love for animals. “I’ve always loved animals. I’ve always had cats and I like dogs too but they’re very energetic,” she laughed. “So the only work I do with the dogs here is with the photos. I stand behind the photographer making faces and noises.”
Sometimes Marlene hears from friends about the time she spends at the Winnipeg Humane Society. “Occasionally they tell me ‘you spend a lot of time there. Maybe you should cut back,’” she said. “But I don’t know where I’d cut back. I enjoy everything I do.”
In addition to doing everything cat-related at the shelter, Marlene has also helped out with special events, including Paws for the Season, Behind Closed Doors and the Used Book & DVD Sale, being held April 8 and 9 this year. “There’s always a great selection of books in excellent condition,” she said. “It’s a win-win because people get books at a great price and the proceeds help the animals.”
She even takes her volunteer duties home with her, in a manner of speaking. She fostered two of her three cats as kittens before adopting them. And she loves to foster more when the need arises. “Fostering is fun, plus you give the kittens a great start in life,” she pointed out.
And while she doesn’t have a favourite job, she does have a special place in her heart for the shy cats. “Those are the ones I’d rather spend my time with,” she noted. “They don’t get as many visits as the kittens or the social cats that get lots of visits. It’s the shy cats, the older cats, time and patience can make quite a difference in their becoming more comfortable. That’s what’s really gratifying to see.”
Marlene’s dedication and love for the cats hasn’t gone unnoticed among her colleagues. “Marlene is such a caring and compassionate volunteer,” said Jill Bristow. She knows every detail about just about every cat it seems! Because of her knowledge and caring nature a lot of cats and kittens find great homes as she takes time to share the details of their little personalities with potential adopters!”
“Marlene devotes herself entirely to the wellbeing of all our cats,” added Adele Walker. “She is at the shelter almost every day of the week. She spends many hours at the shelter in addition to her regular scheduled hours checking on cats that she is particularly concerned about.”
Marlene encourages people – especially retirees – to volunteer at the Humane Society. “When I started volunteering here I had adopted my first two cats from the old shelter,” she said. “Just spending time in that room is so rewarding You get to make a difference and make some great friends too – two-legged, three-legged or four-legged friends.’
“I think there’s a volunteer opportunity for almost anybody here. There’s always something even if you’re not all that involved with the animals. There’s the office work or helping out with the special events that we do.”