Most people are familiar with the saying “It takes a village to raise a child,” and that proverb can be translated to “It takes dedicated volunteers to care for shelter animals.”

Gay Hull, vice president of the Henry County Humane Society board, recently praised the staff of volunteers who keep the Geneseo Shelter running on a daily basis during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to our volunteers, we have a dedicated paid shelter manager Tracy Diehl, as well as our paid cleaning staff,” Hull said.

“Before the outbreak of COVID-19, we had approximately five or more volunteers working with our cats and one to two dog walkers during our open hours which are 4 to 6 p.m. daily,” Hull said.

She said the shelter currently is operating with three volunteers working with the cats and one to two volunteers with the dogs.

“Since we moved into our new building, we have monthly trainings at 9 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month, and we have from three to 10 people who attend the monthly trainings,” Hull said. “The sessions are not being held during this current pandemic.”

During the training sessions, new volunteers are instructed on what needs to be done during open shelter hours.

“We also train our dog volunteers by appointment,” Hull said. “In order to work with canines, volunteers must be 18 years of age; junior volunteers must be at least 12 years old to volunteer or if they are younger than 12, they can volunteer if a parent accompanies them. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had 16 dog volunteers and approximately 63 cat volunteers.”

Junior volunteers are not permitted to be at the shelter during the shelter-in-place order, but during normal shelter operations, the junior volunteers are supervised by a PIC (Person in charge) which is an adult volunteer who has been trained to oversee all shelter operations including medications, visitors, adoptions, completion of daily activities, intakes and more.

Hull said the majority of PIC’s are Humane Society board members.

“We have one PIC at the shelter during open hours and we have approximately 10 individuals on our PIC volunteer list,” Hull said. “The PIC volunteers work very closely with shelter manager Tracy Diehl.”

She explained that the Geneseo Shelter by-laws require all board members to volunteer at least six hours per month.

“Currently, many of our board members are working two to three days per week providing direct care of our ‘furry friends,’ and they are a dedicated and energetic group. Everyone is giving 200 percent during this time and we also are seeing a high number of cats being adopted.”

Hull thanks the current shelter volunteers during the coronavirus crisis. They include: Danielle Adams, Ray Blankenship, Mark Bauer, Tyson Bedford, Irys Boyer, Brenda Briney, Ashli Clark, Kathleen Dichiser, Bianca Forbes, Donna Forsythe, Mikala Hess, Gay Hull, Anna Loitz, Ethan Saucedo, Jamie DeSplinter, Elaine & Jim Humphrey, Nancy & Bernie Lawson, Sarah Lams & Javier Reyes, Jill Loehr, Carol Neely, Karen Russell, Althea Sopko, Sheri Stohl, Monae Verbeck and Kristen Verstraete.

Shelter Junior Volunteer Prior to COVID-19 Crisis: Sarah Barrett, Kiersta Beert, Jessalyn Belvel, Lauren Belvel, Sydney Bielema, Alison & Erin Bowers, Elizabeth Carlin, Jaime Clark, Jill Corso, Anna Davis, Taylor Davis, Chelsey DeSplinter, Olivia Dickey, Karalyn Dietz, Ellie Doubet, Laney Dunker, Tricia Elden, Braden Fender, Nate Finin, Kaylee Fisher, Michael Franklin, Nolan Griffith, Sydney Hoover, Sophie Hughes, Lily Johnson, Hope Kuster, Anna Loitz, Alexis Manthe, Jacob Martin, Ally Nelson, Madeline Newkirk, Lucy Peters, Isabella Ringberg, Sydni Ringberg, Alexis Robertson, Ethan Saucedo, Ava Sedam, Jonila Shehu, Madison Skelton, Audra Smith, Morgan Smith, Rachel Thacker, Courtney VanDeVoorde, Taylor VanDeVoorde, Callie VanKerrebroeck, Carter VanOpdorp, Skylar Wainscott & Presley Winters, Lacey West and Kaylee Wood.