The Ottumwa Courier

July 20, 2013

Humane Society has plenty of heart

Ottumwa Courier

---- — Sorry, I can’t leave this one alone. I’m a newly returned volunteer to the Heartland Humane Society. “Newly returned” because I reluctantly walked away from the organization a few years ago hurt, sickened and appalled by the actions, practices and activities of the past management and some of it’s cohorts. And I was not alone. Attempting to start a volunteer program utilizing employees from one of the largest employers in our town, I sent quite a few others who came back disheartened after just a few attempts, swearing never to return.

When I heard that a new management team had been put into place and that needed changes were being made, my heart sent me back, curious to see if the welfare of the animals had once more been put at the forefront of the shelter’s mission. I was delighted to find that not only was that the case, but that volunteers were being warmly welcomed instead of run off when they refused to fall in with the status quo or might get close enough to see what was really at the “heart” of Heartland.

Now, as a local photographer and writer, I volunteer at least twice a week on site and work several additional hours from home. I am proud to be a shelter volunteer and for the first time a “foster parent” to a special needs dog.

So, in response to the editorial question “Where is the Heart in Heartland?” — It’s now firmly with the animals. As it should be. And volunteers who operate from that principal are “heartily” welcomed.

Honnha Newberry