“I always wanted to help animals. My only regret is that I didn’t do it a lot sooner,” YOUR Humane Society SPCA’s February volunteer of the month Carole Borghoff said. The Sumter County no-kill shelter is fueled by volunteers like Borghoff, and their enthusiasm can be infectious.
“The feeling you get from interacting with the animals, who just want to be loved and cared for, is heartwarming,” Borghoff said. “One look into their eyes,
and you melt!” She encourages anyone with a fondness for animals to get involved with the shelter. While growing up in a suburb near Philadelphia, Borghoff shared her home with dogs and cats. Fifteen years ago, she and her husband moved from Virginia Beach to The Villages, where they share their home with Ali, a tortoiseshell cat they rescued as a kitten 12 years earlier.
These days, Borghoff spends her mornings caring for the adoptable cats and kittens showcased at PetSmart. When she arrives, she lets the kittens out of their cubbies to run and play. While the felines are amusing themselves, she wipes down the area, feeds them, cleans their litter boxes and refreshes their water. After the chores are done, Borghoff gets to play and cuddle with each little ball of fur. After spending time with the kittens, she moves on to care for the adult cats.
“They are so much calmer and laid back than the kitties,” she said. “Plus, not as much of a mess to clean in the playroom, so there’s more time to love on the cats!” Carole also interacts with potential adopters, answering questions, letting them meet cats they may be interested in, and sending any completed adoption forms to the shelter’s Outreach Adoption Coordinator for review.
Through her years of volunteerism, Carole has many memories with her fellow volunteers, too. “I remember arriving early at my morning shift at PetSmart a while ago and seeing a woman sitting in the Meet & Greet room quietly holding a tiny kitten close to her, talking to and petting it,” Carole said. “She said she had been the kitten’s foster mom and stopped by to make sure he was doing okay.
The love and devotion our volunteers have for all of the animals is so inspiring.” If you have an interest in volunteering with YOUR Humane Society SPCA, call 352-793-9117 or visit yhsspca.org/volunteer.