(l to r) Scituate Animal Shelter volunteers Diane St.Ours, Mariette Ouimet, and Charlotte Lawrence. Photo/Scituate Animal Shelter
By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
As a nonprofit no-kill animal shelter, the Scituate Animal Shelter helps over 500 dogs and cats find their new forever homes every year, according to Executive Director Maryann Regan. The organization is primarily volunteer-run and funded solely by private donations.
“Most times we have 20 to 50 animals, depending on the time of the year,” Regan said. “We mostly have dogs and cats but occasionally have a rabbit, rat or ferret.”
The shelter has a small staff, which makes the 200-plus volunteers critical to its ongoing success. Many of those volunteers, Regan noted, are over the age of 50.
“They do everything for us, from cat care, dog walking, working at the front desk, administrative work, youth outreach/education, landscaping, and so much more,” Regan said. “They are so important in keeping the shelter going. There is so much love, respect and commitment here.”
The shelter’s main goal, of course, is finding homes for the animals. But they also do community outreach and education, which includes actively working with seniors in Scituate to help them to be able to keep their animals.
The Mary Hooper Elder Pet Care Program (HELP) provides emergency assistance with pet food when needed and may be able to assist with medical needs of pets when possible. The shelter can also offer basic checkups and assistance with vaccines.
“It’s tragic and sad when a person has to give up their pets,” Regan said. “We know what’s best is for the animal and the person is for them to stay together. We truly believe in helping people as well as animals.”
If you yourself are not a dog or cat owner, volunteering at the shelter is a great way to get your fix of furry love. But if dog walking or cat care is a bit too much physically, you can offer to volunteer with such other things critical to keeping a nonprofit going such as helping with administrative tasks, managing databases and mailing lists; helping with public relations and social media, or volunteering with fundraising efforts. If you don’t have time for a full-time pet, serving as a foster family might be a short-term option. (During kitten season, there is always a need.)
“Whatever your skill, we can use it,” Regan said. “The only requirements are that you are kind to animals and can work with people.”
The shelter is located at 780 Chief Justice Cushing Highway, Scituate. For more information call 781-544-4533, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit scituateanimalshelter.org or Facebook (Scituate Animal Shelter of Massachusetts).