Celebrating National Volunteer Week: Long-time volunteers reflect on 25 years of helping animals

Celebrating National Volunteer Week: Long-time volunteers reflect on 25 years of helping animals

Volunteers are at the heart of the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society, and this Volunteer Week, we want to recognize and celebrate the importance of each volunteer’s impact.  

This year’s national theme is “Every Moment Matters,” and volunteers Doug and Lea Thompson’s story is a perfect example of how the time, skills and compassion our volunteers share is vital to changing the lives of animals in need. This dynamic duo are regular volunteers at the Ontario SPCA Renfrew County Animal Centre where they have been lending a hand and making a difference for the past 25 years.  

Discovering a passion to help animals 

Lea’s journey with animals began in Alberta, where she honed her skills as a groomer and volunteered to help the animals at the Edmonton Humane Society. It wasn’t long before she began helping in other capacities and soon found an unwavering compassion to help vulnerable animals however she could. 

When she moved to Ontario, Lea wanted to continue helping animals and wasted no time extending her helping hand to her local Ontario SPCA animal center. Doug, inspired by Lea’s passion and seeing first-hand the difference volunteering makes, soon followed suit.  

Volunteers with the Ontario SPCA take part in many roles to help deliver crucial programs and services to communities across the province. Lea and Doug’s roles within the organization are as diverse as they are essential.  

Lea’s involvement spans from grooming and fundraising to extensive administrative duties, including meeting with potential adopters and processing adoptions. She also assists with data entry and reception duties and takes the lead in training other administrative volunteers. 

From big jobs to small details   

Doug helps with animal transports, facility maintenance, Bingo fundraisers, and everything in between. 

“Even the smallest volunteer roles help,” says Doug. “It allows staff to focus on what’s important – the animals. They don’t have to worry about the little things that need to get done.” 

Doug also joins Lea at every fundraising event she attends, helping with set up, tear down and anything else that needs to be done.    

“Sometimes the volunteer support needs support and Doug is always there for me in that role!” Lea says. 

Of the various volunteer roles Doug and Lea undertake, it is their fostering experiences that resonate most deeply within their hearts. With each fostered animal, from fragile babies to resilient survivors, the Thompsons witness the transformative journey from vulnerability to adoption.  

Giving animals a second chance as a foster volunteer 

“Fostering is always the best part. Seeing the animals come into the centre, sometimes in rough shape and then getting a second chance… there’s nothing greater. I get to see them come full circle,” says Lea.   

Doug and Lea have fostered hundreds of cats and kittens. Through their adventures, they have developed a strong bond with three special cats. They first adopted Paisley, a pregnant cat who had her kittens while in their care. Then came Finlay, a nine-month-old cat who also found her way into their hearts. Lastly, Pearl came into their lives and was adopted just over a year ago. Together, the three cats live with their a 13-year-old canine brother Foster. Adopted from the Ontario SPCA Renfrew County Animal Centre, Foster was named in honour of all the fosters who have come through the Thompsons’ home. 

Every Moment Matters  

In celebrating the Thompsons’ 25 years with the Ontario SPCA Renfrew County Animal Centre, we are reminded of the incredible impact of their kindness and dedication. Every moment truly matters. As a registered charity that does not receive annual government funding, we are grateful for the support of volunteers and the donors who help us provide care and shelter for animals in need and deliver programs and services in local communities across the province. 

“It’s been an honour for both of us to have made volunteering with the Ontario SPCA a part of our lives these past years,” Lea says. “We’ve seen a lot of changes and growth in 25 years and many people and animals have touched and shaped our lives. Volunteering can shape your own life as surely as you shape and make a difference for the animals you work to help.” 

Become a volunteer 

If you are inspired by Doug and Lea’s story and want to make a difference in your community, please visit ontariospca.ca/volunteer to view available volunteer opportunities and to learn more about the program.    



The post Celebrating National Volunteer Week: Long-time volunteers reflect on 25 years of helping animals appeared first on Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

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