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Staff devotes time to animals even on holidays

Posted: 4:37 PM, Dec 25, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-25 21:37:44Z

Imagine your home Christmas Day. It probably looks something like this: family and friends gathered, laughing and enjoying each other’s company, maybe kids and pets running around; but what about the pets that don’t have a forever home?

Luckily for them, Baltimore area animal shelters have a tireless staff and numerous volunteers who make them a priority, even on Christmas Day.

Kenny Fahnestock is a staff member at the Maryland SPCA. He works on the behavior team with scared, shy and energetic dogs. He commends the staff for their care day in and day out.

“We have a tireless staff. They work hard every day cleaning, feeding, enriching, just bettering the lives of the animals are in our care here at the Maryland SPCA,” Fahnestock said.

Many people don’t realize that animal shelters operate every day of the year – they have to because the animals need care whether it’s a holiday or not.

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“Dogs don’t know holidays, it’s just another day for them,” Fahnestock said. “Dogs and cats still need to be cleaned, walked, fed. Somebody has to do it, it might as well be the people who love them the most.”

Not only do staff members devote their time to these animals, but volunteers contribute countless hours. Fahnestock stressed the importance of volunteers.

“I know a lot of volunteers do it simply because they love being around all of the animals. We love the work that they do, without them we would struggle,” he said.

Dale Norris has been volunteering at the Maryland SPCA for about a year and a half. She said she loves it because it’s so satisfying. 

“It’s just so fulfilling,” she said. “I can come here on a day when I’m really down in the dumps and feeling really bad and I come in here and when I go home, I’m a different person. I just feel so good about myself. And it’s such a worthy cause, the animals really need you.”

Norris started volunteering two days a week. She said she just couldn’t stay away and now comes four, five or even six days a week, including holidays.

“If a staff member can have off that day, then why don’t I come in and that way it will free up somebody else,” Norris said. “Plus the dogs don’t get a holiday and they still need to go out and do their thing. It makes me feel good.”

The Baltimore Humane Society also calls upon staff and volunteers to take time out of their holiday to care for the dogs and cats. Elliot Hurwitz is an engineer at the Naval Academy and one of the volunteers who signed up to work this Christmas.

“I don’t celebrate Christmas,” he said. “If I can let a staff member go home and spend time with their family, I can help out for a few hours to make that happen.”

Hurwitz said it’s nice to be able to help the staff of such a great organization. He enjoys spending time at the Humane Society.

“Animals are always coming in, it’s a never ending job,” he said.

Even though the dogs and cats don’t know it’s a holiday, they do know that these staffers and volunteers care about them. And how lucky are they to have such passionate and kind caregivers devoted to them while they wait for families to take them home?