Friday, September 5, 2014

My Journey Leads Me to Volunteering at the Humane Society on Vacation in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Scooby Doo! Why Not Vacation in Paradise and Volunteer Too!
U.S Virgin Islands - Absolute Heaven!

How to Volunteer on Your Vacation
For several months, Darrell and I had booked and planned for a relaxing vacation in the paradise that is St.Thomas and the U.S.and British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. As the date drew closer (late August), it struck me that I should do what my friend Melissa Beamish (UK) would do, and find the local animal shelter to volunteer for at least one of our nine days there (for Melissa, it would be months of volunteering ;-) ). I Googled the animal shelters, found the Humane Society of St. Thomas and wrote to the contact there about volunteering. They promptly responded with a welcoming email that invited us any day that we could come.  

We arrived in St. Thomas, settled in and learned that it was only a short taxi drive from our Sugar Bay Resort Hotel to the Shelter. 

The St. Thomas Humane Society Shelter
Humane Society 
Darrell Easter at the Entrance to the Shelter
Frankly, I did not know what to expect.  I was thinking that a small island like this would not have a very sophisticated facility. Wow, I could not have been more wrong!  When the cab pulled up on the dirt road to the facility, I could not believe how grand and sophisticated it was. This facility is a bit controversial; in that, it took some time, cutting political red-tape and extra money to get there -- but it's there, and it's super fantastic, and the animals are treated so well. I'm impressed with the end result!
Humane Society of St. Thomas - New Facility 2011
Reception and Waiting Area
We arrived around 10 a.m. and weren't sure where to enter, so we walked around a bit until we found the main entrance and lobby. The Office Manager was on a call, so we waited for her to be free to chat.  Once we told her who we were, we had the grand greeting. Every member of the staff was so welcoming, kind and warm to us.  We felt at home right away. 

Meet Charlie - He's the Mascot for I wanted to steal him. He is irresistible! :-) 
Super-great Staff Who Sincerely Care
They took us around to show the facility and introduce us to staff and volunteers.  It was such a delight to see so many young volunteers, at least 10 were there, around 12-16 years old, working so hard and doing such a great job with the animals.  We learned that St. Thomas schools have a policy that requires students to do a number of volunteer hours every year. I think that all of our schools should require this. Don't you? You would have thought that these kids were doing this for pay. They truly worked from their hearts and were so wonderfully caring for the animals and kind to us.
Paula Loyd - family donated to the Shelter in memory. Does Paula walk the halls to oversee her legacy? Some say, "Yes." Blessings to Paula and family. My husband and I intend to do something similar with our legacy.

This Gorgeous Lady Died Fighting for Human and Animal Rights - Her Family Donated her Legacy to Support the Animal Shelter on St. Thomas
Darrell Cleans the Air Conditioning Filters, with the Help and Support of the
Rescued Goat who thinks he is a Dog
The Staff asked us what we'd like to do. We said whatever helps you the most today.  It was our lucky day!  They needed to give most of their dogs heartworm treatments. This involved weighing them and then the Vet Tech gave the anti-heartworm dose via a shooter in their mouths. We formed a fire brigade.  Their super volunteer, who was all of 14 years old and knew each and every dog and their names and characters, got them out of their kennels and brought them to me, Darrell, and another young lady volunteer whose Father was a local police officer. From there, we walked them into the clinic, got them on the scale, and then the Tech gave them the dose for heartworm. The fun thing for us is that we got to meet almost every dog in the Shelter. Our being there helped to shorten the staff's workday, exercise the dogs, and everyone was happy! 

We visited the dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, rabbits, goat, and parakeets during our day.  It was so an absolute pleasure to be there and to be part of such a wonderful effort that is truly making a difference.
My Favorite Lady - Came into the Shelter in Terrible Shape
Ms. Gorgeous - Look How Great She Looks
Yep! Beautiful Bunnies that need homes too. 
Many Lovely Cats and Kittens
Darrell has a Tortie Cat that Looks so much Like our Former Persnickety and Lovely Cleo
Who adopts these dogs on such a small island?I asked about the animals and adoption on that very small island. They have an arrangement with the Humane Society in the greater Boston area, and most of the animals are adopted through that avenue. How wonderful is that?  But something is changing in the regulations/legislation for transport to the mainland USA, that may hamper this, so I would urge all of us to learn more so that we can help.  

Here are a few more gratuitous photos of paradise that will, hopefully, draw to you to the Caribbean. I cannot say enough about the goodness of the Virgin Islands. They are truly a peek at Heaven. :-)

  View on St. John 
Snorkeling In BVI
Wet Landing in Paradise, BVI

Want to help?
We so believe in this place and intend to help this Shelter ongoing with our financial support and hands-on when we visit.  If you would like to help, your dollars will be well spent to enable their ongoing efforts, check here for Ways to Donate.

We, Bless and Sara thank you for reading our blog. Stay tuned for the next episode!

Hasta Luego! Thank you for reading my blog. More to follow. Bless sends her blessings. Sara sends smiles!

Our gorgeous Galga, Bless!

Our gorgeous Galga, Sara!

Please support Scooby!
Know an organization that will donate dog food? Please let me know.