What My Shelter Means to Me: Liberty Humane Society

February 21, 2012  

By Ines Lopes

In August of 2010, a friend and I visited Liberty Humane Society with a group called New Jersey Young Professionals. We’d never been there before or volunteered in any capacity, but we both loved animals and saw an opportunity to do something different. She spent the day walking dogs, and I spent the day upstairs cleaning cat cages and playing with them. I was less than impressed, but more than anything, I wasn’t ready to begin the chapter of my life in animal rescue.

After resigning from teaching in the beginning of 2011, I found I had more time on my hands and not much to do. I no longer had to spend all my nights and weekends grading or writing lesson plans; I already worked out, went out with friends, had a second job, etc. Eventually, I went back to the shelter to give it another try.

No one thought I could do it. No one thought I’d be able to walk in and walk out with anything less than six cats and hundreds of tears. This only made me want to prove them wrong.

I woke up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and spent the morning cleaning cages. Then I went back Sunday and every weekend for the next few weeks. Eventually, I began walking the dogs. Soon, I helped coordinating and planning events. And finally, I became the admin of the Facebook and Twitter pages in addition to my other volunteer efforts. (I didn’t adopt a single animal, but I have fostered several kittens of litters so – ha!)

I realize now, looking back, that when I first walked into the shelter so long ago, I wasn’t ready to give that up of myself – my time, energy, devotion, love. To work in animal rescue and to walk into that shelter is a daily practice in being positive and seeing the bright side of things. It would be so easy for me to cry and throw my hands up every day when someone finds out I volunteer at a shelter and tells me they want to give up their dog or that they found a litter of 3-day-old kittens under their car. It is not easy, but the success stories – the beautiful pictures and smiles – make it all worthwhile. I’ve applied this principle to my whole life. It’s completely changed my way of thinking and my outlook on my experiences. My bad days are few and far between, and I am so thankful for all that I have. I’ve even become a vegetarian! I’m slowly taking on vegan tendencies, finding compassion for all kinds of animals – pets or not.

People are always in awe – impressed, even – that I do this, but I can’t imagine what took me so long to do it. I can’t even remember my life before it was filled with all things furry and slobbery. I used to be an advocate for children, but now I speak for those without a voice. Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.” I volunteer at Liberty Humane Society to protect those creatures.

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5 Responses to “What My Shelter Means to Me: Liberty Humane Society”
  1. What’s funny I felt the same way as you in the beginnig lol I’m too busy, I have this to do, I have that to do having a dog or volunteering will take away from me & whatever “I” wanted to do. My son my called me selfish and I was offended until he ran the list down. All this time I thought the things I was doing was for the kids…how dare him. After adopting our first pibble it was clear how selfish I’d been the love she showed us from the moment she came in the house to do the home visit until now…is unbelievable! We adopted another pibble..then we fostered…then we volunteered (no more “I”)…now WE have an organization The Pretty Chic with the Pits! It’s awesome and like you mentioned can’t remember what was so important before however, now life is sweet!! Thanks for giving yourself & your time!

    • inesisabel says:

      @theprettychic Wow!!! That’s so cool and kudos! The truth is, I do it for completely selfish reasons, because it makes me HAPPY 🙂 We always have the time, just have to put the excuses away and make the time to what’s important to us and this is important so now I always find the time, even when I have xyz to do!

  2. Svfurnbach says:

    Very sweet Ines!! Thank you for all you do for the shelter and for animals. I think LHS is a hard place to volunteer since, they don’t have major donors pouring in money, they don’t have enough space, they don’t have enough staff, they don’t have so many things, and yet, everyone who works there and volunteers there tries so hard. I think of LHS as the little engineer that could. Your volunteering makes a huge impact at LHS and could be the difference between life or death. Kittens born in a shelter are likely to catch diseases since their immune systems are so weak. Being fostered by a loving individual in a home helps them grow up healthy and find homes. People don’t go to shelters like LHS because they are sad and depressing, therefore, all the dogs you have taken to events, has given them an opportunity to woo over a potential adopters! Also, how many people have seen our FB page or Twitter page and have been sucked in!?!? THANKS INES and all the other volunteers at LHS!

    • StubbyDog says:

      @Svfurnbach Ines is definitely a keeper! She embodies everything a volunteer should be.

    • inesisabel says:

      @Svfurnbach I love you! Hehehehe 🙂 So sweet! It’s so fun volunteering with you! Thanks for the kind words <3