"Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart"-Elizabeth Andrew
There is a saying "It takes a village". That could not be more true for PSGR. With a founder who works a full time corporate job, no staff and no money growing trees to be found, the rescue relies on generous volunteers, supporters and donors to enable the work that we do.
Vounteers are an essential part of the day to day operations of the farm. Laurie is a part of our small core group of volunteers and was kind enough to share her story and what keeps her returning to PSGR month after month:
"The first time I visited the rescue was in March of 2013. I kept hearing about it via a friend of a friend (Rachel, a former PSGR volunteer), and had always wanted to find out more. Rachel gave me Barbara's number and I called her one day when I was in the Maple Valley area on another errand. Even though she was busy Barbara was nice enough to give me a brief tour of the place and tell me a little about its purpose. The first animal I got to meet was Olivia the giant sheep. I'd never seen such a big sheep before! She had only just arrived and the wool was just dripping off of her. But what a gentle sweet presence she had. It really struck me that Olivia sensed she was going to be OK now.
The other two animals I remember from that day are Emile and Klondike. They were just babies then and so adorable. I met several others as well. At one point we were standing in the driveway talking and Barbara said, "I think Levi wants you to pet him". I turned slightly and sure enough, Levi the big white goat was standing quietly just behind me, waiting for some pets!
Long story short, after that visit I decided to become a volunteer. My first day as a volunteer was a doozy! I got splattered with pee (babies on my lap), milk (feeding babies while they were on my lap), poop (cleaning), and. . . hot sheep's blood. Yes, you read that right. There was a ewe there who'd recently had surgery on her foot, and Barbara needed to change the dressing on the wound. She showed me how to "rump" the ewe so she could get to work. Trouble was, when she finally got the bandage off, the blood started spurting, which was not supposed to happen. After trying a few things she said,"Laurie, could you just keep pressure on her foot for me while I go in and get the phone to call the vet to make sure I can get this under control?". So I awkwardly kept balancing this 150 lb. ewe on her rump while hanging on to her forelegs, and putting pressure on her foot to stop the bleeding, until Barbara returned and got it under control. The bandage was changed, the ewe limped off, and we both said, "whew!". The next words out of Barbara's mouth were: "Are you going to come back?" We both burst out laughing as I answered yes, because I had truly had a baptism by fire. For a city girl with zero experience handling farm animals it was quite a day!
Ever since, I've been hooked. I look forward to "going to the goats" every month, and wish I could come down once a week instead of once a month (it's a long drive from NE Seattle, alas). I love being there. It has become a sanctuary of sorts for me. Away from the city, in the beauty of the countryside, I can spend an afternoon with the friendly, curious, always entertaining, and lovable residents of the rescue and leave feeling renewed and recharged. It's lovely to work outdoors in the fresh air (even, to my surprise, through the cold and rainy winter -- and here I thought I was such a weather wimp!). I can exist entirely in the moment, whether doing my chores, comforting a frightened new arrival, snuggling with a darling baby, or just hanging out with the herd and enjoying their company. I have learned so much, not only about the animals, but also about myself. I'm glad to be a part of the amazing work Barbara and all her helpers do to give these wonderful creatures the chance to live happy and healthy lives.
I hope these words help to convey my deep gratitude and joy in volunteering at the rescue!"
Thank you for sharing your story Laurie, we're lucky to have you as a part of our PSGR family!