Last year, National Volunteer Appreciation Week looked unlike any year prior. The SPCA Serving Erie County chose to continue serving the community as effectively as possible while the county…and the world…continued navigating a worldwide pandemic. Our volunteers stood by, ready and willing to help us continue to serve the people and animals of our community in whatever way possible. This year during National Volunteer Appreciation Week, as we continue to rebuild and restructure, we take a look back at last year’s efforts and again thank our volunteers for their dedication, their loyalty, their smiles, and most of all, for their love.

Day 5, April 22 [Reposted April 21, 2022]

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”    – Plato

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Today’s appreciation post comes to us from Director of Wildlife Barbara Haney:

Last year, when COVID hit just before our busiest time of year in Wildlife, we immediately had to pause our 150 volunteers because, like everyone else in the world, we didn’t quite know how we could ensure their safety during a pandemic. Not having volunteers didn’t change the fact that, in order to keep serving the animals and people of our community, we needed to somehow prepare for the 500 or so sick injured and orphaned wildlife that would be admitted in May alone.

The few volunteers we were able to bring back were put to the test, working long hours and constantly pivoting as we regularly changed every policy and procedure to stay in compliance with pandemic protocol.

The level of patience, understanding, and hard work that was put in by the small group of elite volunteers that we did bring back is astonishing. Everyone in the entire community should be proud of the wildlife volunteers that helped us to continue to care for over 3000 wild animals during what was one of the most challenging years that the world has endured.

Kindness and compassion drove every one of the volunteers, and together, we found a greater purpose and joy in the selfless service that is provided for our wild animal friends.

Thanks to volunteers, our Wildlife Department was able to continue caring for the wild animals of our community throughout 2020 and into 2021, including the animals you see in these photos.

Christin, an Environmental Studies major at University at Buffalo, is weighing Cypress the turtle. You’ll also see orphans and an opossum who was seeking an orthodontist who came to us in May; a turtle, fox, green heron, and one of five Northern Flickers who became our patients in July; a feathered friend not having his best day who was an autumn visitor; and a grease-covered robin who received a bath while slightly sedated in November.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped these animals receive second chances over the last 13 months.

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer