PET TAILS: Why we volunteer for the humane society

April 24-30 is national Volunteer Appreciation Week. The Brown County Humane Society depends on the extraordinary efforts of volunteers, who contributed more than 12,800 hours last year to keep our organization running.

Volunteers come in all age ranges, with many backgrounds and talents and each has their own reasons for volunteering. If you’ve ever considered volunteering at BCHS, you might like to hear from a few people who already do.

Emily Bray still provides graphic design and social media help, even after moving to Valparaiso last year. “Volunteering in general helps you to focus on needs other than your own, and I find this very valuable to my sense of well-being in a world that can be so individualistic and often self-absorbed,” says Bray. “The people who gravitate towards animal welfare are all of an incredibly empathetic, resilient and welcoming nature. Working with such good people is a reward in and of itself.”

Colleen Costello volunteers with the BCHS cats at the Bloomington Petco. A lifelong cat lover, she enjoys being able to pamper them. “Making sure their boxes are clean, making sure they have clean bedding, and feeding and brushing them makes me happy. I always remind them they will be in a forever home soon.” Her favorite recent experience was making a connection between a kitten and his adopter. “I felt like such a matchmaker. I was able to facilitate this happy union, and getting that photo later made me cry.”

Chris Chapman lives in Columbus and volunteers walking dogs at the shelter and at special events. He especially enjoys introducing the dogs to prospective adopters at events like the Chocolate Walk. Chris encourages those who are interested in volunteering to try it and experience the joy of finding homes for their furry friends.

There are plenty of things to do as a volunteer at BCHS. “No matter what your skill set is or your time commitment, there is a spot for you.” says Bray.

You can help animals even if you are allergic to them: “Work for a committee. You can write blog posts or newspaper articles, help run social media accounts, help make graphics, deliver flyers, or even help with ideas for planning events,” she said.

“My advice for folks who think they would enjoy volunteering is to try it,” says Costello. “There is literally nothing to lose!”

To learn about how you can become a volunteer at BCHS, visit the website at

Brown County Humane Society

2017 Rabies and Vaccine Clinic

When: 1 to 4 pm. Sunday, April 30

Where: Emergency Management Services Building, next door to the Brown County Sheriff’s Department

What: $5 vaccines, $5 microchipping, $5 nail trims (dogs only), cash only

Who: First 300 cats and dogs, Brown County residents only