VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Cecile Hall fosters dogs to save lives

Published 8:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2022

This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Cecile Hall, who volunteers at the City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter. The City of Vicksburg Animal Shelter houses unwanted or stray animals while helping them find their forever homes. Hall has lived in Vicksburg for 23 years and has always had a love for animals. 

“I saw the need for some type of intervention on their behalf. The sheer number of strays, unwanted and unvetted animals in our city streets is simply disheartening,” Hall said. “It’s like trying to hold back the ocean with a spoon. But still, we try.”

How did you hear about the fostering program with the Animal Shelter?

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I heard about fostering for Vicksburg Animal Shelter from Facebook posts about overcrowding in the city shelter and the need for help. I had previously fostered many animals for various rescues around and outside Mississippi. I have land so I thought, “Why not?”

How long have you been volunteering?

I have fostered for about seven to eight years — three or four years for the city shelter. I have fostered over 500 animals.

What is your favorite memory while fostering?

I once fostered 15 four-week-old puppies in the house during winter. All of them had ringworm and had to be medicated and bathed frequently. It was taxing, but so worth it in the end.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about fostering?

By taking an animal in need into your home, you are freeing up a spot so the shelter can take in another animal. This also prevents the shelter from having to euthanize. This gives the foster dog the time he needs to be ready for adoption. It helps the shelter or rescue learn more about the animal, so they may end up in the best home possible. 

I don’t do it for the shelter. I don’t do it for the rescue. I do it for the animal.

What are your tasks while fostering animals?

You want to help transform a shelter dog into a pet and help another family find the right dog for their home. You need to have the time and space to provide — teaching basic manners and helping shy ones come out of their shell. Caregiving consists of vaccinations, spaying and basic vet care. Food and supplies can be secured free of charge.

What have you learned from volunteering with this organization?

I have learned that one of the greatest rewards of fostering is watching a rescue dog bloom into a pet. But the biggest cost of fostering is emotional. It can be hard to say goodbye to a dog after weeks and months of caring for it. The important thing to remember is that fostering saves lives, and by letting your foster dog go to a forever home, you free up space for another dog in need. In time, saying goodbye gets easier and the feeling of helping an animal find its forever home gets addictive. 

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to volunteer@vicksburgpost.com.