Family says volunteering helps pets and community

Hagmeier family volunteers at the Cedar Valley Humane Society

Katie Hagmeier (left) holds a cat at the Cedar Valley Humane Society with her mother, Gidget and sister, Gabby. (Karuna
Katie Hagmeier (left) holds a cat at the Cedar Valley Humane Society with her mother, Gidget and sister, Gabby. (Karuna Ang / The Gazette)

For months, Katie Hagmeier, 9, has been volunteering at the Cedar Valley Humane Society with her mother, Gidget and sometimes, her 3-year-old sister, Gabby.

The Hagmeier family adopted their dog, Douglas, five years ago and have been visiting the CVHS ever since. Katie found out that she could start volunteering with a parent or guardian at CVHS once she turned eight.

"I have been wanting to volunteer since I was seven," Katie says. So four months after she turned eight, the mother-daughter duo started their orientation for volunteers. Every month, they bring information and adoptable dogs to PetSmart. They also participate in a pet therapy program, bringing dogs to nursing homes once a month.

"We really could not do everything that we do for the animals without our volunteer base," Communications Director Jan Clarke explains. Those who are interested in volunteering at the CVHS can fill in an application at the center or online. Applicants will then attend an orientation, and tour the facility.

"We'll talk to you and find out where you're interested in helping out," Clarke says. "You can work with cats or dogs. We have a lot of different opportunities to work out in the community including school visits, daycare visits, adoption events and pet therapy."

"The dog walking is definitely a family thing, as well as cat socializing," volunteer coordinator Wendy El-Hussein says. "They all come in together, and decide which dogs they want to take out or which cat they want to socialize with."

With the various volunteering opportunity at CVHS, Clarke sees it as an activity that families enjoy.

"It is actually quite a positive thing for us and the family," Clarke says."It gives them a way to become involved as a family. I think it strengthens the family bond. The kids love to know that they are doing something for the animals. And serving as a family just makes that stronger."

As a parent, Gidget sees the volunteering experience as an education opportunity for her children as well."If I would have known about (the volunteering program) before, I would have had my oldest son in it," Gidget Hagmeier explains. "It gives them responsibility and shows them how to take care of a pet."

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