What Volunteering At The Animal Shelter Taught Me
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Volunteering At An Animal Shelter Gave Me Hope In Society When I Thought There Was None Left

I went into this experience ready to give, little did I know how much I was going to receive.

Volunteering At An Animal Shelter Gave Me Hope In Society When I Thought There Was None Left

Most teenagers when they turn 18 are excited to be able to buy juuls, vote, and do things without their parents' permission. But for me, the most exciting thing about turning 18 was committing myself to volunteer at the local animal shelter.

A furry companion is what I wanted for so long but I'm unable to adopt one, so I did the next best thing, I signed up to volunteer at PAWS location in Petsmart. Little did I know how much I was going to love it.

I remember the Sunday I went in for training. It was a freezing winter day. I went in to be greeted by a friendly volunteer and even friendlier cats. One of the cats climbed on top of me and kissed me. Kissed me! That's when I fell in love with volunteering at PAWS.

In Philadelphia, there is a large homeless animal population. Many cats and dogs are abandoned by their owners. PAWS, which is a no-kill shelter, takes them in and helps them find a loving home.

I thought I was in over my head when I first arrived. I've never spent a lot of time with a cat, let alone a crowd of them. I never even cleaned a litter box before. But when I wasn't sure, the cats were there, snuggling up against me, meowing at me, just happy that I was there to let them out of their cage and keep them company.

Soon I got the hang of it, I recognized cats and their different personalities, what they liked and disliked, how to comfort them, and when to play with them. I've laughed and had good times, met some amazing cats and humans. I've been frustrated and had to clean up spills and break up fights. And I've been sad because most of these cats were abandoned by their owners or were found as strays, some were also abused horribly. How can something that contains so much love and invokes so much joy ever be treated like this?

Volunteering at the animal shelter has taught me so many things and has become a beacon of light and hope for me. I went into this experience ready to give, little did I know how much I was going to receive.

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