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Doing Good is for the Dogs…and Cats

Written by Katie Fourney    on July 13, 2020    in
The Lifting Up Do-Gooders column, written by SHARE Omaha executive director Marjorie Maas, runs bi-monthly in metroMAGAZINE. See the original publication of this article here on page 38.

Who is a Do-Gooder? 

Either you are one, or you know a few. SHARE Omaha defines do-gooders as those who see a need and do good for others or the community; those who raise their hands to help when a crisis or challenge arises around them; those who regularly prioritize this good work, even in the light of personal sacrifice.
SHARE Omaha tells stories of volunteers, donors and general do-gooders regularly on our blog at SHAREomaha.org, and with this column we seek to act as a megaphone for those making our community and metro area better. These do-gooders could be individuals, businesses, families or nonprofit organizations.


 

Give them a GRRIN

GRRIN, or Golden Retriever Rescue in Nebraska, attracted Jacki Wild to foster for the first time in May 2019. She and her family have a dog and wanted to find him a friend. After a little research, she found GRRIN, and the story of the organization’s dedication to the memory of a fallen hero and is devoted golden retriever friend “tugged at her heart strings.” Quickly after beginning her first fostering experience, with a golden named Zoey, she realized how much Zoey meant to her and her household.

“She was ours,” Wild said of Zoey. The foster dog was nine years old and had recently been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. Zoey’s time with Wild turned into more of a hospice experience until the dog’s passing in December 2019.

“I wouldn’t trade a minute of it,” Wild recounted of nursing Zoey. Since, Wild’s family has been fostering another golden, a puppy, through GRRIN during the COVID-19 period.

She has the utmost respect for the organization and shared that their process and integrity impresses her greatly. She has noticed the team does this work selflessly and all as volunteers. GRRIN celebrates 30 years of service in 2021.

GRRIN’s local leader, Barb Garrett, said of the Wild family’s care, “The dedication they demonstrated in caring for Zoey is representative of the care we at GRRIN give all of our foster dogs, but as a first-time foster family, they were incredible. Most of the dogs that come into GRRIN's care simply could not be kept by their original families, and I am extremely proud of the foster system we have in place to give them a comfortable home during their transition.”
In encouraging others to foster pets, Wild says, “it is a leap to become a foster… but once you take that leap it is the easiest thing.”

Be Humane about It

Teresa Woods, a consistent community volunteer, tried something new two years ago: serving at an animal shelter. The recipient of her time was Midlands Humane Society in Council Bluffs; she has exceeded 300 hours of service each year.

Woods characterizes her work: “I usually spend all day Sunday at the shelter starting at 7 a.m. – walking dogs, spoiling them and giving them treats. For the rest of the day I help with cat care – cleaning their colonies, dishes, laundry, windows, and my day doesn’t feel complete until the floor is mopped and looking good.”

Why did she gravitate toward a shelter? Woods says, “Animals are always so happy to see you and never want something in exchange.” She noted this applies to every single one of the dogs, and the cats all want attention. “[There’s] never an animal that doesn’t want a piece of you.”

Woods makes a case for those unfamiliar with animal shelters: “People go in there thinking [the animals] are just in a cage. I could never get behind that. [The dogs and cats] get walked, exercise, cookies. It is not a negative thing for an animal to be in a shelter.”

Kori Nelson, director of development and marketing for Midlands Humane Society, provided the most urgent needs they have right now. “Fostering animals, particularly kittens, is almost always a need, along with people wanting to learn to work with dogs who need extra training and attention before they can be placed with a family.  Volunteers would give us extra hands possibly taking our dogs offsite to help them experience the outside world, making them more adoptable.”

Woods also fosters kittens and is grateful for the opportunity to support Midlands Humane Society at home, too. She is a foster parent of new moms with babies and orphan kittens. MHS provides all of the tools to become a successful foster parent: kitty litter, food, toys, beds, linens, and medical supplies if needed. She concluded, “the best part of being a foster parent is that I get to surround myself with kittens anytime I want!”

She says the Midlands Humane Society makes her feel so good. It motivates her to keep coming back, and she says, “the people are pretty awesome, too.” Woods credits this as having shared passion. She has observed the hope they have for these animals is overwhelmingly positive. She tags on, “I guess you have to go in there and see it.”
 

Who are your Do-Gooders?


We bet you can think of people like these devoted animal lovers – people who have been extremely moved by a cause close to their hearts and lives – tell us! Shoot an email to info@SHAREomaha.org or find us on social media. SHARE Omaha exists to be a conduit between nonprofit needs and public doing good. The best ways, we think, to spur that action is to inspire through telling stories of Do-Gooder actions and emphasizing that tiny acts of goodness add up to a healthy and engaged community.