RURAL DEWEY — I was going to start this article with general information on happenings at our horse rescue. Right now the most important issue is the desperate need for regular committed volunteers.
Volunteers are the backbone to any organization that is a non-profit or fundraiser for people or animals in need. In our case it’s animals, horses that we need volunteers for. In past articles I have stressed the need for volunteers and their importance.
Society for Hooved Animal Rescue and Emergency, rural Dewey, has a wonderful group of volunteers, just not enough. When you have a small group of the same volunteers committed to regular days, there can be burn out. Sometimes an unexpected illness or family situation makes us short on help that day. Then the volunteer coordinator has to make contact with other volunteers to cover that afternoon.
There are volunteers who work during the week and can cover some weekends. With different work schedules, volunteer times can be erratic. Since all volunteers go through an orientation, they all get a taste of what is needed to help take care of the horses.
Some new volunteers are excited to return, but some we never hear from again. Can the chores be dirty, wet or prickly from hay? Yes.
Or can you have a horse sneeze on you and goop flies. The chores can sound repetitive but are so necessary. Water, hay, grain bring in horses, the same every day. There is a camaraderie amongst the volunteers; they help one another; they communicate as to what needs to be done. We do joke.
Not all volunteer work is all chores. There is the contact with the horses. Do you want to groom, take a horse for a walk, give a few treats or just give a good neck scratch? Horses love this stuff.
Or grab a broom and sweep up hay off the barn floors. There is so much a volunteer can help with, and it is so appreciated.
Volunteers who are more comfortable around horses have the opportunity, under supervision, to work with horses. Some horses just need to be reintroduced to the saddle and learn to trust again. If you can commit to two hours during the week or help cover the weekend, the horses and other volunteers will appreciate the commitment. You can bring a friend, family members (16 years) or neighbor, co-worker. You are so needed.
Heide Fogal, a Rantoul resident, is volunteer coordinator at SHARE.