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Letter: Thank Employees, Volunteers This Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Potter League Board of Directors President Patty Spigel asks residents to thank animal shelter employees and volunteers during this national appreciation week.

If you are an animal lover, you certainly understand the human-animal bond and how strong it is. It makes no difference if your pet came to you from a reputable breeder of your own choosing or from the local shelter via adoption; you understand the deep connection that exists. 

Animal shelters all around the world help animals and people every day. The Potter League is such a shelter, right here in our community. Most of the animals that come into the care of the Potter League are lost, homeless, unwanted or sorrowfully relinquished because their owners can no longer care for them due to major life changes. 

The Potter League staff and volunteers are the ones who help these individuals and their animal(s) through the surrender process at what is possibly the most difficult time in each of their lives. Their warmth, patience, understanding and empathy, comfort both people and animals who are experiencing a break in the precious human/animal bond.

The staff is made up of special people who love animals on a different level. They care for the animals, they feed the animals, they train the animals, they rehabilitate the animals, and they bond with the animals. At times, they undo the damage done to animals by neglectful or careless humans. It is staff members who take the time, sometimes many months, and have the knowledge and expertise to rebuild the animals’ trust in humans.  And, on rare occasions, it is the Potter League staff who comfort and lovingly hold those animals who must be humanely euthanized in cases of severe illness or extreme behavior problems.  

The job of animal shelter employees is incredibly difficult at times and yet their dedication to and compassion for the animals is unwavering. I can assure you that the shelter employees at the Potter League do not work in animal sheltering to increase their personal wealth. Most of the staff members maintain a second job just to make ends meet. Their work at the Potter League is often dirty, smelly, thankless and heart wrenching.

Yet, it is the Potter League staff who witness, daily, the gifts that animals offer us.  It is why Potter League staff and dedicated volunteers go out into the schools and educate students about animals and more importantly, about how to be a humane citizen of the world. The Potter League educators understand that each child comes from very different circumstances and that a pet may not be appropriate for every child’s household due to care and time requirements. This concept is communicated beautifully to each child without leaving them feeling let down or disadvantaged because they are not in a position to get a pet “right now”. As many parents know, that is not an easy message to communicate to our children. It is also Potter League educators who teach children that part of caring for animals involves taking responsibility for the whole environment.

This week, Nov. 6 to 12, is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. I urge you to join me in thanking and supporting the Potter League staff and animal shelters in general for all the good work that they do in our community and communities everywhere.  

If you know a shelter employee, send them a card or note of thanks. If you’ve adopted an animal from a shelter and you’ve had a good outcome, share your story with shelter staff and friends. Take a moment to stop by the Potter League and say hello and thanks. Take a tour of the Potter League and see the good work for yourself. Make a donation in honor of the staff.  ADOPT one of the beautiful animals at the Potter League.

Long ago, Mahatma K. Ghandi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." We can take pride in our community because of the work that the Potter League does and the support given it by the citizens of Newport County. 

Thank you,

Patty Spigel
President, Potter League Board of Directors

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