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.
October 2016 MVP: Adele Walker
If you’ve been involved with the Winnipeg Humane Society, chances are you’ve crossed paths with Adele Walker. Since joining the WHS as a volunteer 18 years ago, there’s not much she hasn’t done.
“When I retired I thought ‘What am I going to do now? I’ve worked full-time all my life,’” said the former nurse. “I thought about the Humane Society – what better place to come?”
Adele got her start at the Humane Society by taking puppies to local nursing homes and matchmaking pets and families. She hasn’t let up these days – she still juggles multiple duties any given week.
Currently, she spends part of her time volunteering with the Education Department with the See Spot Read program. Twice a week she acts as an animal handler for the WHS website photographers.
“See Spot Read is a program for seven and eight-year-old children,” Adele explained. “They come to a library (or the Humane Society) and once a week for 10 weeks and they read to the dogs, which helps relax the dogs and lets them hear different people’s voices.
“I help with the program Tuesday afternoons at the St. John’s Library and it’s a lot of fun,” she pointed out. “The kids end up loving the dogs because they read to the same dog for 10 weeks and they get really attached.”
In addition to three regular volunteer shifts a week, Adele occasionally does remote canine handling. She takes dogs to WHS satellite adoption locations for adoption events. If they aren’t adopted, the dogs come back to the shelter with her at the end of the day. Adele works at most of the special events organized by the Humane Society each year, such as Paws in Motion, Used DVD & Book sale, 1001 Donations Telethon and more.
She’s also been involved with the Quit Stalling program ever since it started. “I go out into the community with a display and talk to the people about atrocities in factory farming, ” she explained.
What attracted Adele to the WHS after she retired from nursing? “I’ve always loved animals. I had a dog through my childhood and I’ve always liked dogs. I thought ‘there’ll be lots of dogs here.’ I got to know other animals and liked them too. And the staff and volunteers are wonderful as well.
While Adele has been a dog person for most of her life, there was a certain feline that grabbed her attention while she was volunteering.
“Over the years I got to know and enjoy cats and about five years ago I adopted Stormy,” said Adele. Stormy served as a WHS behaviour assessment cat and helped the behaviour staff and volunteers determine if dogs going up for adoption interacted well with cats. Stormy filled that role because of his laid-back nature.
“I’d always had a dog and when I brought Stormy home my dog Simon was fine with him,” she laughed. “He came over and sniffed the cage and that was it. There was no messing about. They were fine with each other and have been best buddies ever since.“
Adele’s dedication and pleasant attitude are appreciated by her fellow WHS volunteers. “Adele dedicates so many hours to volunteering for the WHS,” said Marilyn Piniuta. “I admire her – wish I could do the same!”
“Adele has been at every event that I volunteer at, is always so helpful, knowledgeable and cheerful,” added volunteer Gail Holm. “I know she is a regular and puts in many hours during the week but is still at all the special events. She is always a pleasure to work beside.”
With all her experience as a WHS volunteer Adele also talks to new volunteers at orientation sessions. She lets them know what jobs are available and what each position involved. There’s no one better for the role – at one point in time over her 18 years, she’s happily done most of them.