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 6, April 23 [Reposted April 22, 2022]

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

Every single animal reacts to being at our shelter in a different way. Every one. But how can each individual need be addressed? Former SPCA Director of Behavior and Research Miranda K. Workman, among other tasks, headed up the team responsible for determining (to the best of our ability) how to help each animal adapt to shelter life in the best way possible. Thousands of animals are admitted to the SPCA year after year, so it’s not a stretch to understand what a monumental task this is, and why we so heavily rely on volunteers to help these animals. Every adoption success story at the SPCA has at least one volunteer who helped write that story, constantly giving time, energy, and especially love to these animals from what seems to be an endless supply within themselves.

From Miranda: “The volunteers have allowed us to continue to provide quality care and enrichment to the animals at the SPCA. Their dedication to and love for our sheltered animals is evident in the time they spend ensuring our animals experience positive behavioral welfare while they wait to meet their adopting family.”

In these photos, courtesy of Communications Manager Bethany Kloc, we see some of our volunteer team members at work, enriching the lives of our animals! You’ll see Miranda with Cindy, Red, and Ken (who is doing amazing work trying to teach Little Red how to be a big, brave girl!), and Gary, helping Callie overcome her fears by softly and gently reading aloud to her. You’ll also see feline specialist volunteer Cary with kitty Tommy, packed up to be taken to the airport so he could fly home (full story:!

These photos are representative of the work done by our volunteers with all the animals in our care. From bunnies to turtles to farm animals and reptiles, all our animals receiving kind, loving words and touch (when appropriate) every day, as our caring volunteers work to enrich their stay at our SPCA.

-Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer