Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. presented the thought, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Think about how you spend a day, an hour, a minute. In that time, what are you doing for others?
Chris Ossenmacher, a 67-year-old Northville resident, has spent 12,000 hours, the equivalent of 500 days, volunteering at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. She began when she retired in 2005, because with the extra time, Ossenmacher knew she wanted to serve the community. She remembered HSHV from a donation card at a funeral she attended.
Many of her volunteer hours have been spent dog walking – a service HSHV provides three times a day for every dog they house to keep them happy and healthy.
In 2014, Ossenmacher also started helping with the organization’s “Bountiful Bowls” program, one that helps continue HSHV’s mission of ensuring proper, nurturing care and tending to the physical well-being of the animals, even after they leave the shelter.
“‘Bountiful Bowls’ is a pet food assistance program which offers supplemental pet food assistance to financially struggling families in Washtenaw County,” Ossenmacher says. “It’s designed to keep beloved family pets in their homes and out of the shelter. By helping families keep their pets at home, we are then better able to use our limited kennel space for those animals that have no other options.”
Last year alone, the program supplied 42,000 pounds of dry dog and cat food and 12,000 pounds of cat litter. All products are donated by members or businesses in the community and distributed by HSHV on Sundays from 12-3 p.m. and through Ypsilanti’s Meals on Wheels and Manchester Family Services.
“I’ve stopped saying I manage it,” Karie McMahon, intake manager at HSHV says. “It’s ALL Chris. The improvements that have been made to the program since she has been involved cannot be overstated.”
Volunteer manager, Tawn Hinze, agrees.
“Chris cares, is dedicated and she is passionate about what does, and it shows in how ‘Bountiful Bowls’ has grown over the years,” Hinze says. “She has done so much work to develop community partnerships in an effort to increase donations.”
McMahon adds, “In addition to improving the processes we follow, Chris has gotten to know so many of our clients and their pets. She knows their stories and their trials. She knows because she cares to and that is imperative for someone working in this program.”
Ossenmacher says she truly believes in the mission of HSHV and will continue to volunteer.
“The clients of our ‘Bountiful Bowls’ program love their animals and it is so rewarding to be able to help them keep their pets at home,” Ossenmacher says.
An estimated 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. shelters every year but only half that are adopted, according to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The number of animals euthanized yearly is declining, but it’s still too high.
Do your part in helping a homeless animal today by volunteering at HSHV or, if you’re ready, adopting a furry best friend!
WeLoveAnnArbor’s Volunteer Spotlight series focuses on the wonderful people in our community who give their time and effort for something they believe in and are passionate about. If you know someone in Ann Arbor who you feel deserves a little pat on the back for their hard work, please e-mail Terry Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s our small way of saying thanks!