When it comes to demonstrating your commitment to a community, lots of people talk the talk but their actions don’t back up their words.
On the other hand, Winnipeg Humane Society volunteer Christine Davis walks the walk and loves what she does.
Christine is a volunteer for We are here for the Animals. We are here for You., a community outreach spay and neuter program addresses cat overpopulation in Winnipeg’s most impacted areas by offering surgeries for $10 including transportation.
The program is facilitated through Jessica Thompson, the WHS and Winnipeg Animal Services. It ensures that cats of low-income families are spayed and neutered. The aim is to build a bridge of trust between the citizens of Winnipeg who need us the most and the WHS, moving our city towards healthier cats. Healthy cats mean a healthy community. Surgical costs over and above the $10 are covered by a FixIt Grant from Winnipeg Animal Services and City cat licensing.
Christine is a volunteer driver for the outreach program. She picks up cats that have been neutered at the WHS or at participating veterinary clinics and delivers them back to their families.
“Two and a bit years ago Jessica (who was running a similar service on her own at the time) approached me,” Christine explained. “She said ‘We’re going to have this partnership with the Humane Society to get animals fixed for low income families. We’re going to need drivers because many people don’t have cars.’ I said ‘Okay, I’ll help you out.’’
The program formally came under the WHS in early 2017. “It is so much fun,” Christine explained. “Everyone misses their babies (while they’re getting fixed). They are so happy when they see me bringing their cat home. I’ve gotten lots of hugs from people who are happy to see their cats once again.”
Christine is one of ‘about 20 drivers’ transporting these cats and about 30 people belong to the program. She has taken up to two or three shifts a week and her record is transporting 14 cats at one time in her sedan.
Drivers often go out in pairs. Their shifts are organized by Thompson through a Facebook page and their routes are organized geographically.
“You need to be organized and be able to think on your feet,” Christine explains. “People are very welcoming and kind and so very happy to see us. But a lot of times people come to the door with lots of questions. You could give them a brochure, but sometimes they don’t read English well, so you have to be able to answer the question or know the appropriate person (at the WHS) to refer them to.”
Like so many jobs, driving a precious cargo like this requires pre-planning and attention to detail. “I try to plan my route before I go out,” she explained. “When there’s going to be severe weather like a thunderstorm in summer or a blizzard in winter, I try to keep that in mind and adjust for it. I’ve even borrowed my Mom’s 4×4 for when the streets are snowed in.”
And it’s this sense of Christine’s attention to detail that’s so obvious when you meet her. “Everything is in my calendar,” she laughs. It needs to be – when you’re managing a full-time job, a part-time job and four different volunteer positions that eat up much of her time Mondays through Fridays. She saves the weekend for her family, including three cats.
Christine’s dedication is well appreciated. “Christine, along with our other transport volunteers, has shown inspiring commitment to our overall goal,” said Jessica Thompson. “Her work with our program of giving cats a ride to and from their spay and neuter surgery at the WHS and other participating clinics is vital for improving the well being of not only these individuals cats, but also Winnipeg’s cat population in total. I am continually impressed and appreciative of Christine’s devotion to helping cats in need and the people who love them. Her non-judgmental approach, shared by all our transport volunteers, builds trust within the community between cat loving people, our spay and neuter program and the WHS as a whole.”
The volunteer position addresses two areas of concern for Christine – a love for animals and a desire to improve the lives of the disadvantaged in society. “I love the animals and I saw poverty, growing up in Saskatoon. It is so nice seeing the love and joy on family members’ faces when the cats are brought back home.”
“We have a great team of drivers helping bring joy to these families. We work together so very well.”
Written by: Brian Kozak, Volunteer MVP Writer
Photo by: Jim Harvey, Volunteer MVP Photographer
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 (email@example.com) and tell us why you think they should be an MVP!