My story: Best Friends volunteer Lillian Lamb
For the people who’ve experienced it — those who have walked in its red dirt, taken in its majestic beauty and touched the lives of its animals — Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is much more than a place where animal lovers go to work and play. There’s a certain magic in the air and in those unforgettable moments when someone makes a heartfelt connection with a rescued dog, cat, bird, bunny or barnyard animal.
The Sanctuary, in Kanab, Utah, is nestled between the sprawling red rocks of Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks. But above all, it is an animal lover's paradise. People come from all over the country and the world to volunteer with the animals at Best Friends, and we’ve caught up with few of them for a chance to share their stories and experiences from the heart.
Meet Lillian Lamb, from Hoover, Alabama, who tells us what she loved most about her time at Best Friends.
Where did you volunteer?
What made you want to volunteer with Best Friends and return so many times through the years?
It was so long ago now that I don’t remember how I heard of Best Friends, but I knew I wanted to come and work with the wonderful animals. This was my seventh trip, and although I have slowed down at bit now that I’m older (77), I will come back as long as I am able. I feel like the animals give to me far more than I give to them.
When you volunteered with Best Friends, what was your job?
I can no longer clean as much as in previous years, but I can still do a lot of things and I’m happy to assist Sanctuary caregivers with anything they need that I’m able to do. I’ve helped with cleaning rooms, doing laundry, washing dishes, assisting with feedings, walking dogs and socializing puppies. There’s been lots of cuddling, and I even groomed a pig and some horses.
Which volunteer job is your favorite?
Loving and cuddling the cats.
Why is volunteering important to you?
The animals touch a special place in my heart and each and every one of them is special. I feel very deeply that people were meant to take care of the earth and its creatures, and I volunteer to comfort me and them.
Which volunteer moments were your favorites?
I loved feeding Duke in Cat World and taking another cat, Butch, on a stroller ride. I also loved grooming Helen in Horse Haven and taking Doc and Rosebud from Dogtown on sleepovers.
Was there a favorite animal you met or worked with while volunteering?
I got to see and pet Princess Blue, a cat who lives at the Best Friends Welcome Center. She was always a favorite of mine. I used to take her for walks when she lived in Cat World. She is such a special kitty, and I was anxious to see her again. She is now in charge of the gift shop.
What’s the most rewarding part of volunteering?
Being with the animals.
What’s the most difficult part?
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your volunteer experience with Best Friends?
The caregivers are all so nice and work so hard to make life easier for all these animals. They are dedicated, efficient and loving to all their charges.
Photos courtesy of Lillian Lamb