By HEIDE FOGAL
Rantoul Press columnist
Since we all believed in Santa, and he got our wish list, he was able to make some of our wishes come true at Society for Hooved Animals Rescue and Emergency.
It was so appreciated to get some of the monetary donations. They paid for some more hay. But when there are 47 mouths to feed, the hay gets gobbled up quickly.
The weather has been pretty decent, so two flakes of hay for breakfast and supper was filling. When the weather turns cold again and flakes are increased, the hay won’t last long. So if there is a special person who is able to make a small donation to keep us fed, we would be happy to express our gratitude.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll meet you at SHARE so we could personally thank you. We promise no chores.
Up until recently, January has been warmer than normal, so the volunteers and horses got spoiled by the sunshine. Those of us who have lived in Illinois a few years know the weather can change quickly.
This month and February can bring extreme cold temperatures, which are hard on the horses and volunteers. This horse rescue would not exist without volunteers. People tell me that what SHARE does is a wonderful thing, but few realize the importance and what it takes to be a volunteer.
Love of animals is important, yet it takes a commitment to continue volunteering. That doesn’t mean a volunteer has to come every day. Some do because if they don’t there is no one else to help water, hay and grain these guys. Linda, the head of the rescue, cannot do it alone. Someone has to rescue these abused, starved animals once reported.
Like our own animals at home, they cannot fend for themselves; they depend on us to feed them. Same with our 47 guys.
We are contacted by possible volunteers, and orientation is scheduled. Some make a commitment and make use of our chore calendar, but some don’t come back. Perhaps the work is too hard or not what they expected.
We have senior volunteers who work hard to help. There is no one too old as long one is healthy for the chores. All volunteers scheduled that day work together. We help one another.
Some of the work involves picking up flakes and putting them in the stall. Someone empties the water bucket; another volunteer fills the bucket. Team work.
Cold weather and snow are hard on the volunteers. It’s so easy to say it’s too cold today, I’m not going to SHARE, even though scheduled. That decision leaves the other volunteers short and double work for them.
It also takes longer to get the chores done. When you’re name is on the chore calendar, we depend on you to be there. No scooping the poop required; that’s done by someone else. On days we are short, I need to go to my contact list and send out a request for help. Thank goodness someone always responds.
If you are only able to give us an hour and a half once a week, that’s great. Perhaps you work all week but are available on weekends, that helps also. We can work with whatever time you can give us.
Sometimes things come up and you can’t make it. Understandable. Then I make calls. Saturdays we are really in need of volunteers. Then there is Sunday. Oh, yes Monday and so on. You get the idea.
We also have people who can teach you to halter a horse and lead to their stall. It gives you the opportunity to be one-on-one with that animal. Give it a neck rub, some sweet talk. They love it. If you feel intimidated by their size, we can give you other chores till you feel comfortable.
For those of you whose new year resolution was to go to the gym and do some volunteer work in 2019, SHARE is the place for it. Free work out!
Heide Fogal, a Rantoul resident, is volunteer coordinator at SHARE.