Animal rescue is transformative, life-saving work. For me, it became a full-time job, but at Palmetto Animal League, we realize that not every animal lover can make that kind of commitment.
PAL volunteers contribute in many ways, and we offer many opportunities for people to get involved, including cat socialization, dog walking, foster care, helping at the PAL Thrift Store and more. Some volunteers get creative, using their unique skills to save lives. PAL's marketing committee chair, Terry Bergeron, is one such volunteer.
"I live and work on Hilton Head Island, so it's not easy for me to do many of the 'traditional' volunteer jobs at the Adoption Center," Bergeron said. "But, as a marketing professional, I can support the animals by offering my services pro bono."
Over the years, Bergeron has written articles for local publications, developed ads promoting PAL and its events and services, and twisted arms (asking nicely) to secure advertising and publicity.
She has dedicated a good amount of time to PAL, even bringing a few colleagues into the fold. Her help in spreading the word about PAL and the No Kill Movement has made her one of our most committed and longest-serving volunteers.
"It's my 10th anniversary as a PAL volunteer," Bergeron said. Radio personality, animal activist and friend Mark Robertson asked her to serve on a committee to promote the Adoption Center's grand opening in 2009. It was only a short-term assignment, but once she got involved, she was hooked.
Her love of animals runs deep, and she suspects it might be a family gene.
"I was raised in a family of animal lovers, and I remember my grandfather feeding stray cats," she said. "Here was this larger than life (to me) businessman, dressed for work, stopping to put out breakfast for the neighborhood cats."
As Bergeron carries on the family tradition, her work for homeless pets does not end with volunteering. She's also a grass-roots rescuer herself.
"My dogs, Molly and Lucy, both came to me as fosters who just never left," she said. While neither dog came directly from PAL, we were able to help her navigate the struggles that can come with rescuing dogs who've survived both physical and emotional abuse.
"I totally believe these are lives worth saving," Bergeron said. "Does it break my heart that we can't save them all? Every day. But am I encouraged knowing I have made a difference? Absolutely!"
Do you have a special skill that could be helpful to PAL? Contact us and we'll put you to work saving lives, too!
Amy Campanini is president of Palmetto Animal League.