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 7, April 24 [Reposted April 23, 2022]

“Beauty is not who you are on the outside, it is the wisdom and time you gave away to save another struggling soul like you.”
― Shannon L. Alder

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
– Willie Nelson

We ended 2021’s Volunteer Appreciation Week spotlighting SPCA volunteer teams who dedicated their time to help pandemic front line workers.

About one month into the pandemic, when staff members at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) were asked what could be done to help make them feel just a little better, the response included an overwhelming desire for therapy pets. Pandemic protocol did not yet allow in-person visits, so Paws for Love volunteers went to work with House Calls: Project ECMC video therapy visits that staff members viewed on ECMC’s intranet (full story & videos:

Finally, after many, many months, volunteer teams were able to make in-person visits to other front line workers at stress-relief events, and continue to do so. SPCA volunteer teams were able to work their healing magic with those performing their own healing magic, working the front lines at Kenmore Mercy, Mercy, Mount St. Mary’s, and Sisters Hospital, and Spectrum Health Services. Wegmans also jumped aboard, asking that therapy visits be made during stress-relief events for their workers.

Several photos of these visits are included at the end of this story!

How can our organization adequately express the gratitude and appreciation we feel for our volunteers who work every single day to make our community a more wonderful place in which to live? Their dedication, love, and compassion are beyond compare.

These past seven days we could only touch on a very few areas that are enhanced and efficient only because of the volunteers making them that way. Volunteers in Adoptions, Humane Education, our Petique, Foster Care, and so many other departments do so much more to help thousands of animals every year, and even mid-pandemic, they have given us no indication that they plan on stopping.

We think Willie Nelson, cited above, said it best…we count each and every volunteer among our blessings.

Thanks for turning the lives of so many in our world around!

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer