The following is a column from Kathy Nolan Deschenes. To submit your own column, e-mail the editor at [email protected]
Sitting on the Board for the Lowell Humane Society is an honor I’ve held for 3 1/2 years. I feel that I do very little except attend meetings and help organize events. The real heroes are the staff in the shelter, the tireless volunteers, our donors, and the president of our Board.
There are a lot of folks who assume that LHS receives local and/or state funds to operate. Maybe it’s because we provide a service to the community or maybe it’s because having “Lowell” in our name makes us sound like a city organization.
In reality, all of our money comes from two places: individual donors and private grants. Given our 500k operating budget, it always humbles me to know that our little non-profit exists because of the kindness of others.
The work done at LHS is not easy. Lots of happy-ending stories appear on social media with smiling pets and owners. The actual stories behind the stories are often filled with a lot of heartache for surrendering pet owners, compassion-fatigued staff, haunting visuals of abused animals, and mounting vet bills.
This is not to say that the staff and volunteers at any shelter or rescue group are crying into their pillows every night. The work is hard but its rewards are great.
The people I’ve met through my association with LHS and also with a previous dog rescue group I helped lead for five years, have me shaking my head in amazement many times. These are people who give up fiscal and sometimes physical comforts so that animals can not just survive but flourish.
Staff members give up their own free time to come into work to help in a crunch. They take calls and attend meetings while on vacation and never complain. Donors go without so that animals are cared for.
Is the pay commensurate with the effort? I’d like to say it is but we know the reality of non-profits and any career that helps further the wellbeing of living beings in need. The fact that jobs that help the discarded and forgotten pays so much less than a high-tech worker is an inequity that I struggle with constantly. But that’s a topic for another day.
Today I want to raise up the kindness of the human heart that recognizes animals make our lives better. Animals are worth our time, our money, and our energy.
And the people who make our lives better for it deserve as much support and applause as we can give them.
To donate to the Lowell Humane Society, visit our page at: http://www.lowellhumanesociety.org/index.php/donate/