This past week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week – a time when the organization and pause and say thank you to the hard work and dedication of these true champions for animals in need.

After two years of hosting virtual events, ARL was once again able to hold three in-person volunteer appreciation week events at ARL’s Boston, Dedham and Brewster Animal Care and Adoption Centers to celebrate and personally thank each and every volunteer at ARL.

In 2021, 1,059 volunteers dedicated nearly 40,000 hours to help animals in need, while ARL’s 526 foster families opened their hearts and homes to 1,071 animals!

Volunteers are at the heart of ARL’s mission and are the backbone to the organization’s day-to-day operations.

From feeding animals, cleaning kennels, walking dogs, working with behaviorally challenging animals, sorting through linens and donations, to many other duties, ARL volunteers all bring something unique to the organization, but all have one thing in common – the love and dedication to assisting the animals in ARL’s care in any way possible.

“While it’s always an honor to recognize our dedicated volunteer and foster families, to be able to once again hold these celebrations in-person was truly special,” stated ARL Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement, Debby Chaplic. “ARL volunteers are such a special group of individuals and the work they do each and every day continues to inspire as they are true champions for animals in need.”

During each of this year’s volunteer appreciation events, ARL also continued the tradition of handing out a number of awards to volunteers and staff that consistently go above and beyond.

Without further ado, the winners!

    • Best of Boston- Betsy Jones of Watertown
    • Cape’d Crusader- Teresa Snow of Harwich
    • Dedham’s Most Dignified- Melissa Salce of Dedham
    • ARL’s Unsung Hero- Susan McNeice of Needham and Josephine Paolucci of West Roxbury
    • All Other Creatures Big and Small- Leo Settoducato of Somerville
    • Admin’s Above and Beyond- Carol Svenson of Arlington and Elna Rapp of Boston
    • Our Four Footed Friends Favorite Foster Parent-  Lori Everett of W. Dennis and Donna Tormey of Shirley

Additionally, volunteers also voted for the following awards for ARL staff: 

    • Boston- Michelle Polin of Attleboro
    • Brewster- Sadie Santos of Truro
    • Dedham- Courtney Foley of Quincy

And in a new category, volunteers also had the opportunity this year to vote for ARL Pets of the Year:

    • Dog: Benjamin of Dedham
    • Cat: Godric of Boston and Jungle Jazz of Brewster
    • Other: Mike the Macaw and Violet the Pig of Dedham

Why Volunteer?

First and foremost, nonprofit organizations like ARL simply could not have such a wide reach to help animals in need without volunteers. Volunteers are integral members of the ARL family.

But volunteering has benefits beyond caring and participating in such a worthwhile cause.

About 63 million people, or 25% of the U.S. population, donate their time and talents to worthy causes.

In addition to making a difference in the community, volunteering has been shown to improve a person’s health by increasing physical activity, enhancing your mood and decreasing stress.

Another bonus?  The majority of hiring managers nationally see volunteerism as an asset in candidates seeking employment.

Learn more about volunteering at ARL.