It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. That’s what I was reminded of when I left the Michigan Humane Society, having spent the morning volunteering with several of my co-workers. One Tuesday morning in February, that’s all it was – a few rescheduled meetings and shifted priorities, so we could make time that we could give back. It doesn’t take a lot, but in the end it means a lot.
I felt lucky to have the chance to volunteer with the Detroit Humane Society with the iDashboards crew. I’ve not had an employer before that encouraged and supported volunteering in the past, and truth be told, it’s difficult to find time in my off hours to give back. Fortunately, our team sees the value past the “absenteeism.” In the past, we have had volunteer days all over the Metro Detroit Region; soup kitchens, donation centers, and urban gardens. There’s a variety of areas in public service that are available in Metro Detroit, and it feels good to find volunteer even a small amount of time to help out.
We actually had two days to give to the Humane Society this month, and a few different tasks to tackle (some less glamorous than others). Part of our team was tasked with helping in the warehouse. This is where they receive donations from various companies; items like plastic dog houses, dog & cat food, and straw insulation. One of the Humane Society’s biggest current initiatives is passing out these dog homes and straw to pet owners in the Detroit area. Many pet owners still choose to keep pets outside year round, and with the frigid conditions Michigan has experienced this winter, a dog house and straw for insulation can make an enormous difference.
The other team had the opportunity to actually interact with the animals! For some of us, that was a blessing; for others, it was an exercise in temptation. There were just far too many adorable animals in need of forever homes! Some of us cleaned out cages for cats, dogs and birds. We were told to not be alarmed if and when said birds escaped their cages, which shockingly did not put us at any ease whatsoever.
At one point, we entered a room that was literally full of puppies. FULL OF THEM! Our hearts had barely leapt back into our chests when we realized that our task was to give all these puppies baths. It was so much fun, and so nice to see the puppies interact with one another and us. These baths don’t only serve to keep the animals clean and healthy, but the aid in their socialization and prepare them more readily for adoption.
The Michigan Humane Society, who also use iDashboards to manage their data visualization needs, has been protecting the welfare of animals since its inception in 1877 (then known as the Michigan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Today, they provide a wide variety of services including: animal sheltering and placement; lost and found; veterinary services; animal cruelty investigation and emergency rescue; humane education; legislative advocacy; pet behavior and more. They also provide helpful handouts on a variety of topics including pet health and safety, behavior and training and wildlife issues.
After the trip, we had a serendipitous moment. Our Senior Technical Support Engineer Brey, who had been looking for a puppy to adopt with his family, ended up taking home one of the sweet fur-babies we had played with during the volunteering session! This was not an impulse adoption, though – he had actually found the pup online before we even walked in the door. Sometimes, things are just meant to be.
I am looking forward to the next opportunity to volunteer, whether it is at the Humane Society or somewhere else that needs some extra hands. iDashboards is already working with the Humane Society to schedule quarterly volunteer trips, so maybe it won’t be too long before I get to walk into a room filled with puppies again!