When Stratford resident, Elizabeth Herde, was named “Volunteer of the Year 2010” by the Stratford Animal Rescue Society (STARS), there must have been more than a few tails wagging.
“I was very surprised to be named the Volunteer of the Year because there are so many members of STARS who work hard too,” she says. Her ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ acknowledges the “countless hours of work” and her “commitment to supporting the mission of STARS,” a non-profit, volunteer organization that works with the town's Animal Control Authority.
“Beth is pretty much involved in everything that we do, and she is one of the volunteers we can count on when things need to be done,” says Animal Control Officer (ACO) Rachel Solveira.
That includes organizing and soliciting for fundraisers at home on her computer, manning tables at events, socializing animals, and posting flyers or yard signs. But more than that, it is the tender loving care that she gives whole heartedly.
Beth, who has been a Stratford resident for the past 25 years, works as a medical transcriptionist from home. Her volunteer work at STARS began in 2006 with a visit to the animal shelter to adopt a pet when she was going through a “hard time” in her life.
She was “hooked.” The welcoming group of volunteers there also helped.
The joys of working with the animals that have been abandoned and neglected are manifold, she said. “It is such a good feeling when the animals that are starved for attention just soak in the attention that we give them. The reward is the wagging tail and the kisses they give.”
Volunteers feel rewarded when a scared animal starts to trust again. Once a scared, hard-to-catch Beagle, that was reportedly roaming around Lordship for weeks, was fished out of a sewage treatment tank by an employee from the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA).
The employees at the WPCA raised money to help with her vet care because they were so touched by her circumstances. One of the employees at the WPCA fell in love with her and adopted her.
The Shelter gets all kinds of animals in: rabbits, hamsters, snakes, birds, ferrets, geese, different types of reptiles, fish -- even alligators. Any wildlife goes to the appropriate Rescues.
It is the support of the residents of Stratford and beyond that enables STARS to continue its animal rescue work, acknowledges Beth with gratitude.
People bring in food, cat liter, toys, money and other things. Children donate the proceeds of their lemonade stands. Some parents request pet supplies and treats for the animals in lieu of gifts for birthday parties.
STARS also conduct fundraisers that support the medical and other needs of the animals. These include a Pet Boutique the second Saturday of every month, adoption events, purchase of bricks that can be engraved for a bench on the walkway at the new animal shelter on 225 Beacon Point Road.
“They don’t ask a lot," she said of the shelter animals. "They just want to be loved.”
Beth is a strong advocate of pet adoption. She herself has adopted three animals into her loving family - which includes her high school- sweetheart husband, Glenn, and three sons, Kevin, 23, Brian, 20, and Mark, 16.
Stratford Patch salutes Elizabeth "Beth" Herde for an award well deserved!