On October 6, staff, volunteers, interns, and foster families gathered for our annual Volunteer Recognition Celebration, which is our small way of thanking the hundreds of people who dedicate their time to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society.
Dakin does not receive any federal funding. We are supported by donations from animal lovers like yourself. With an annual operating budget of about $3 million, we simply could not exist without our volunteers.
“The volunteers dedicate the equivalent of $400,000 in time every single year,” said my friend Ian Vukovich, President of the Board of Directors.
Many of our long-term volunteers were recognized and applauded at last Thursday’s event. Joanne Parker, Leverett Adoption Center volunteer, was recognized for 10 years of service. Marcia Pauly, who has also been with us for 10 years, helps with mailings, makes handmade cat mats, and does can-collection drives with volunteer Marion Markwell.
Trina Cysz, who has been at Dakin for 11 years, has done animal care, participated in our trap-neuter-return program, and runs the pet food bank.
“Trina now practically single-handedly runs the distribution of our pet food bank, which distributes food throughout the Pioneer Valley, and we deliver over 20,000 pounds of food a year up and down the Pioneer Valley,” said my friend Lori Swanson, Manager of Humane Education and Volunteer Services at Dakin.
Several volunteers have been with Dakin since before we even had a facility. Diane Houston has been with us for 17 years; Judy Milbury, 19 years; and Doris Holden has dedicated a whopping 27 years to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. Doris knew Janet Dakin, original founder of the Dakin Animal Shelter.
“She would be so excited to see it today,” said Doris, referring to what the organization has become.
The ceremony concluded with a few words from Lori. “It’s an honor to manage the volunteer department because without you, we would not be able to do what we do,” she said.
The event was a success thanks to donations from local businesses. Annie’s Garden and Gift Store donated the flowers; Elegant Affairs donated cups and saucers; Starbucks Coffee donated coffee, tea, and ice; Linda Suprenant made the beautiful cake; and Quonquont Farm donated apple cider.
Unfortunately, I was not allowed to enjoy any of the yummy goodies provided at the reception. (I was a little huffy about that at first, but forgot all about it when Ellen offered me her lap.)
My friends and I want to make sure our volunteers, interns, and foster families know how important they are to the staff here at Dakin, so we made you this short video. I hope you enjoy it!
Wishing you all warm laps and catnip,