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.
MVP: Mary Ann Pelechaty
What’s a life-long dog owner to do when moving into an apartment that doesn’t allow dogs?
Mary Ann Pelechaty was faced with that reality a few years ago and made finding a home for her dog her first priority. Once that was done, she got herself a volunteer job at the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS).
“Ironically, I was put with the cats to start, cleaning the cages and that kind of thing,” she explained. “Eventually I was put with the puppies and when that was discontinued I became a quiet time volunteer.”
The daughter of a banker, Mary Ann moved around rural Manitoba a lot. Born in Steinbach, she’s also lived in Minnedosa, Pierson and Boissevain before marrying and settling down in Killarney and later, Winnipeg.
Since starting as a volunteer in 2012 Mary Ann now has more than 700 volunteer hours to her credit and can attest to spending time with hundreds of dogs in her time as a quiet time volunteer. “I love it,” she said. “You get in the room with the dog and you can just feel your blood pressure going down.”
She got her start at the WHS after recommending the place to a friend. “She had a dog who had to be put to sleep, so I suggested she volunteer here. She did and she’s still working in Animal Intake.
“I didn’t even think of myself at the time, but once I moved and didn’t have my dog, I thought to myself ‘that’s where I want to go and be with the dogs.’”
Finding the right home for her dog was hard, Mary Ann said. “I’m a courier so my dog always rode around with me. He was a working dog and we spent all day together.
Because of allergies, Mary Ann’s dogs over the years have mostly been poodle crosses, with the exception of one Kerry blue terrier she had on the farm. “He was wonderful,” she said. “Such a personality.”
She loves all the dogs at the WHS but has a special feeling for the big ones.
“With the big dogs, there’s so much to hug,” she laughed. “There’s a lot of body there.”
She has special memories of many of the dogs with which she’s spent time. One of the more recent ones was Stella, a Cane Corso. “I’m so glad she got adopted. I came on Thanksgiving weekend (not her usual volunteering day) with my camera just because I thought she was going to get adopted,” Mary Ann said. “We spent about 30 minutes together and I got some lovely pictures.”
Mary Ann’s love for the dogs has not gone unnoticed. “She is very dedicated and often stays past the end of her own shift so she can sit with more dogs,” said volunteer Ann Roehl. “I often see her sitting right down on the floor quietly petting a dog or sitting with their head on her lap. She takes a huge interest in all of the dogs. I find it helpful talking with Mary Ann about the dogs when I come in for my shift, so I get an idea of what the dogs are all like.”
“I was born in the Year of the Dog so I thoroughly believe that must have something to do with my feelings,” she said. “I love going in the room and they come right over and put their heads on your lap or cuddle right up with you.”