Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{May 23, 2011}   friends of all kinds…

One of our volunteers, Eleanor,  took several months off to take care of her constant companion and friend, Max. Max had trouble getting around, had several surgeries, and needed constant care. I checked in with her periodically to make sure she wasn’t wearing herself out as a caregiver and she said she’d do what needed to be done to make sure Max was being cared for, not in so much pain and to ensure that Max knew that he was loved.

Right before Christmas, I got the call from her that Max had passed away. She was heartbroken. I sent her a card and told her that no one could have had a more special friend to care for him while he was ill then her. They were good friends.

Around February, Eleanor decided that she needed her mind on something else, and that she needed to be busy again so Eleanor came back 1 day a week. We sat in my office and chatted and laughed about Max. How even though he was arthritic, he would still be able to crawl up into her lap. How he’d put his cold nose on her cheek when she fell asleep in her chair…how he slopped water everywhere when he drank…

…what?…oh, I’m sorry, I thought I mentioned it earlier…Max was her black lab. Her big baby, her constant friend and companion.

I had another volunteer who’s son moved out and when he moved was unable to take his black lab puppy. Already in some financial hardship, this volunteer noticed a bin I had set out for dog food for the WALOP (We All Love Our Pets) for Meals on Wheels and the Pet Food Bank that our local Humane Society sponsors. He explained that he and his wife just fell in love with “that little rascal” and he’s brought such joy to their house, but he’s eating more than they are now.

Eleanor saw the bin outside my office and asked about it. I explained what it was for and faithfully, every week she’s brought in dog food. When I told her about the lab puppy, she’s earmarked all of her donations “for the man with the little max”.

She’s not ready yet for another dog, it will take time, but for now, she’s taking care and loving another dog, even if its not sitting in her lap.


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