Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Shelly Mergen

By RABAS Volunteer Shelly Mergen

I will try to keep this short although I could go on forever about my love for dogs. My name is Shelley Mergen and I am a newer volunteer at the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter. For years I have watched a caring group of people grow into a fully functional and thriving animal shelter because they had a vision. Our area was in desperate need of a place for displaced animals to be accepted into and taken care of. As for my part of this, I have always been a dog lover, I used to be that girl growing up where my mom would say, “OH NO SHELLEY, not another stray!” Over my almost 60 years, I have had a couple of my own dogs that were my heart and my soul. My best friends. I have

followed the Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter Facebook page for years and finally decided that I should check into being a volunteer. The process was very simple and everyone was welcoming. As a volunteer you have many options, you can walk dogs, wash dishes, snuggle kitties, clean kennels the list is endless. Every little bit helps.

My personal experience has been pretty humbling. I never realized how much I would enjoy volunteering at the shelter. Walking the dogs has been a great exercise for me. Getting to know each new dog and encounter different breeds has just been FUN. I thought it might make me sad working here but just the opposite. These dogs NEED love and understanding and reassurance. Their lives have been turned upside for one reason or the other. Every animal has a story. Every journey getting to the shelter is different.

Another thing I have liked about the Shelter is that there is no judging. The shelter is a safe haven, for owners that for whatever reason have had to surrender or the stray that was found on the street. The shelter and the animals and the people there have really restored my faith in humanity. I can’t say enough good things about being a volunteer, it has given me much more joy than I predicted. This facility and its volunteers are much needed in our area and I am so glad I made the decision to become a volunteer. Some days, I hate to leave!

(Photo left: Shelley Mergen is with Gypsy, a Catahoula Leopard/Hound mix who is a very well-behaved, gentle dog in need of a loving home.)

Volunteer Linda Smrcina

Why volunteer? I was asked this question and my first thought was Why Not? As I reflected on that question, the realization came to me that I volunteer because it makes my heart happy.

The dogs and cats at the shelter need us and the joy they give back makes returning all worth it. None of the animals choose to be here, but while here we can try our best to make their stay as

comfortable as possible. Sure, sometimes the chore is a little overwhelming, but at the end of the shift, seeing the dogs and cats content makes the time worthwhile and fulfilling. I have been volunteering since the shelter opened and hope to continue for a long time. Again, WHY? The animals are awesome and so are the volunteers I work with!!!! (Photo Left: *Linda Smrcina is sitting with Zeus)