Monthly Volunteer Profile: Margaret Campbell
A group of volunteers founded the Winnipeg Humane Society in 1894 and are vital to our success today! With the help of volunteers, we can provide care, love and attention to our four (and sometimes two) legged friends until they find their forever homes. The MVP (Monthly Volunteer Profile) will recognize the work and get to know these special MVP’s in a spotlight each month that includes an article and photo shoot. MVPs will receive a framed photo and gift card as our thanks!
MVP: Margaret Campbell
Story by Brian Kozak, photo by Jim Harvey
Before Margaret Campbell retired from her career with Great West Life in 2009 she knew she wanted to spend time volunteering.
She wanted nothing more than to work with animals, so she chose the Winnipeg Humane Society. It is a decision she’s never regretted.
“When my retirement date was coming up, my number one choice as a volunteer was to work with animals,” she explained. “But before I retired I wanted to get used to what I was doing here. I started as a cat cuddler on October 8, 2008, volunteering in the evenings. I did the evening shift for a while but when I retired the next year I switched to the morning shift and became an animal care attendant, which I’m really enjoying.”
Margaret grew up with a wide variety of pets, including a rabbit, a bird and many dogs over the years, but never a cat. So how did she end up working with cats at the WHS?
“My family has various members who are violently allergic to cats so we’ve never had a cat. I have two dogs myself,” she pointed out. “I was somewhat worried that I would end up with many, many dogs at home if I worked with dogs.
“Also, many of the dogs here are large and rambunctious. I’m not a big person so I didn’t want to work with animals that might be too big for me to handle. I thought I’d try cats because I’m not going to be too tempted to bring one home, which my two dogs would object to. But I’ve gotten more and more fond of cats after 10 years of working with them.“
Her duties as an animal care attendant include cleaning the cages and feeding the cats in the back rooms. The felines stay there until they have been medically and behaviourally cleared for adoption. “I also have fun with the cats,” she laughed, “even though some times working with them seems like wrangling.”
Each week Margaret works with an average of 12 – 14 cats. She’s dealt with hundreds of cats over her time at the WHS and finds a lot of them fun to be around. But she usually doesn’t find the time to bond or get too close to them. This is because the cats move to adoption at a steady rate.
“But there have been a few cats who have stolen my heart,” she said.
In addition to being an animal care attendant, Margaret also helps out with the annual book sale and other WHS special events.
“I love what I’m doing. My favourite is looking after cats that are new to the shelter and trying to make them feel more at home,” Margaret said. She noted she has always enjoyed all animals, including wildlife. “I’ve enjoyed this so much that I don’t want to give it up. I find that once a week is what I can fit in my schedule.
“I appreciate the people that I work with. Everyone is fantastic. And I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen change over the time I’ve been here. Everyone is very concerned with the welfare of the cats.“
Margaret’s co-workers appreciate her efforts as well. “ Margaret is a very quiet person who appears very dedicated to caring for the cats and kittens” said Christine Reeves. “I am sure her quiet demeanor is very beneficial, and her sense of dedication is very apparent.”