TAMPA, Fla. — Jeff Honig is an expert “dog snuggler.”
When shelter dogs leave the operating room at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, often after getting spayed or neutered, the retired Hillsborough County deputy is there to comfort and cuddle them in a recovery pen during a scary time.
“It’s very soothing for me, it’s very soothing for them,” says Honig. “It’s just a great experience.”
Jeff volunteers at the Tampa shelter ten hours a week.
Those hours are crucial this time of year.
Many Tampa Bay area animal shelters lose student volunteers who return to school. Lots of volunteers have time to help during the summer. It is a different story in the winter and spring.
Jeff does various jobs at the shelter, from cleaning up to assisting the veterinarians. But he likes to snuggle with the animals the most.
“This is my dog fix,” Honig says while cuddling Rosie the Rottweiler. “I have four cats at home. I travel a lot. So here, I get to hang with them.”
The Humane Society’s Liz McCoy says the number of volunteers at the shelter ebbs and flows. Whatever time a volunteer can manage is greatly appreciated by humans and animals alike.
“It makes me emotional just thinking about it,” McCoy says. “Nothing happy brings animals through our doors. So when volunteers come in to make things better, it’s just a moving thing to be a part of.”
To learn how you can volunteer at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, visit humanesocietytampa.org/become-a-volunteer/.