Meet Cheryl Johnson, a board member and volunteer for the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch. We recently spoke with Cheryl about what she does for the shelter and why it is important for the community to have places like this.
If you are not familiar with the Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, they are an organization who rescue animals in need and find adoptive homes for them. Cheryl tells us they also educate people on the care of their animals and the importance of spaying and neutering. As a board member she helps in many decisions regarding the shelter as well as adoptions and helping people coming into the shelter who are looking for a pet. Cheryl has been with the shelter for about seven years and also manages the Giving Challenge for the shelter.
When asked what is the most rewarding part of what you do, Cheryl said “When you find that perfect home for an animal –especially those that have been through a difficult time. We had a dog named Logan who had been hit by a car and left to die. We nursed him back to health, which took a long time. The perfect family with two boys adopted him and you could just tell it was love at first site! He was the dog in the video that we all did together (in the Myakka Seven partnership for the Giving Challenge). It was a bittersweet good bye for me as I had grown so fond of him!”
Cheryl feels that controlling the animal population is very important for our community. Educating people about having an animal, treating them properly, giving them medical attention and training is equally important to her. “So many dogs and cats are abandoned because people did not know the expense of having an animal, how to train an animal or realizing the time and dedication it takes.”
On average, she spends about nine hours a week helping her cause unless there is a fundraiser or adoption event that requires more of her time, she even has her husband help with events for the shelter. When not volunteering or helping with adoptions Cheryl enjoys spending her retirement playing tennis, golfing, boating and going for walks.
We asked Cheryl what pointers would you share with someone who is considering volunteering? She responded “Volunteering is very rewarding! I have met a lot of great people and also feel that I am doing something for my community. Find something you love or are passionate about and your volunteering won’t seem like work at all!”
Her wish for the shelter, although money is always a need, would be to have more volunteers, they will need “people power” to keep things running and to help more animals in need.