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Helping hands -- Doing something for animals

May 25, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

Name: Callista Lohman

Age: 77

Address: Hagerstown

Occupation, or former occupation if retired: Lohman retired in 1981 from the telephone company.

Where do you volunteer: Humane Society of Washington County, in the cattery. A dog lover, Lohman decided not to volunteer with dogs for fear she would bring one home.

"I don't go near the dogs," she said. "When I lost my last dog (to illness) I said, 'no more.'"

Asked if she had adopted any cats since she started volunteering, Lohman held up three fingers. She said she adopted one of them, named Tom, because she was afraid nobody else would - his face is abnormally shaped and he's missing a paw.

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What do you do while volunteering: Lohman cleans the cages of the cats at the shelter by changing their litter, putting in clean towels and filling their food and water bowls. She also cleans the floor and glass windows, gives the cats toys and helps to socialize them.

She helps out at activities organized by the humane society, including a gift-wrapping fundraiser held over the holidays last year.

What prompted you to begin volunteering: Lohman first visited the shelter several years ago when she learned a pet cemetery on its property was being turned into a parking lot. One of her dogs was buried there and she arranged with the shelter to have him moved. Later, when her last beloved dog died, she took his toys and other items to the shelter and started volunteering.

In the last three years, she has accrued more than 600 volunteer hours with the shelter.

Your biggest reward as a volunteer: Lohman said her biggest reward is doing her best to make the animals comfortable.

"I feel really sorry for the animals. I think about mine, that they can run around and they're loose. These guys, they're locked up in the cages," she said.

What impact has volunteering had on your life: "I feel good that I'm able to do something for the animals, at least while they're here," Lohman said.

Volunteers are always needed at the Humane Society, said Margaret Rhoads, manager of volunteers and humane education.

Volunteers walk dogs, bathe dogs, socialize cats, show animals to prospective adopters, do laundry and wash dishes, help with clerical duties and assist with off-site adoption events or fundraisers.

Prospective volunteers can call Rhoads at 301-733-2060 or e-mail her at mrhoadshswc@myactv.net

Anyone wishing to volunteer is asked to fill out an application and must attend an orientation session. Those still interested are interviewed and trained.

Volunteers are especially needed to work during the morning and afternoon hours on weekdays.

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