Michelle Lee says it made her very sad to think of animals living in cages.
That feeling is what made Lee feel so passionate about and committed to animals, she says. It led her to volunteer for the Kingston Humane Society (KHS), which she’s been doing for 10 years now.
“Ten years ago I thought, I can sit around and be sad about it, and I can’t adopt them all… but I can come in and make their lives a little bit better,” she said. “Half an hour, every day, so that’s what I do.”
During her decade of service, Lee became a lead volunteer for the dog walking program at KHS. She also helped create a new LEAD program to train volunteers on how to work with dogs that have behavioural issues or could use some extra socialization to get prepared for adoption.
Lee was also the focus of a recent Community Spotlight segment for Global News Kingston.
While listening to Lee talk about her love for animals, one can’t help but notice how her eyes light up. She said she came to the realization that she wanted to spend her free time volunteering at KHS thanks to her own rescue dogs.
“They’re the lucky ones here, they’re out of the cage,” Lee said. “But there’s so many that are in such great need, and so I have the time and I can do it.”
Lee is also a high school teacher. She emphasized her strong belief in passing on the importance of community involvement to her students.
“Part of the requirement for students to graduate is their 40 hours of community service, and one of my philosophies as a teacher is that I don’t ask my students to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” she said.
Lee said she tries to serve as a role model for her students.
She said she has also found other benefits of her volunteer role.
“I’ve met some of my best friends and life-long friends through the community here [at KHS],” she said, with a smile beaming on her face. “It’s been really cool.”
Lee also spoke about a bylaw implemented in Kingston years ago that prohibits the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. She said the bylaw was put in place to lead people to make more responsible decisions when deciding to bring an animal into their lives and homes.
At the end of the day dogs and cats are part of the community, Lee stated.
“We are responsible for them as a community,” Lee said. “It’s up to us to take care of them.
“Sometimes that’s impossible for people or they give up and that’s where the humane society steps in and we try to fill that void in the community.”
For more information on volunteering at or adopting an animal from the Kingston Humane Society, you can head to their website or call them at 613-546-1291.
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