Featured Volunteer – Maggie Hamilton

Maggie pic

We caught up for a question and answer with one of Zoe’s youngest volunteers, Maggie Hamilton who moved to Edmonton in August 2014.  Here she tells us what motivates her to volunteer…

How did you first get involved with Zoe’s?

My family moved from Ontario in August, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for quite a few years and the one thing that always makes me feel better is animals. I started talking to my parents about ways I could help animals in need – and we came up with fostering. I started researching local rescues in the Edmonton area, and the first one that always came up was Zoe’s. People only ever had nice things to say about Zoe’s and their volunteers, so I looked into it a little bit more. I really liked the adoption process that Zoe’s has in place. I definitely felt like animals would be placed into the right forever homes, and that they would be safe and well taken care of, and of course loved. My family has been fostering for Zoe’s for a few months now, and we are absolutely loving it. The Zoe’s Family is so supportive, kind, helpful, and all around full of amazing people. They were so welcoming and I really look up to Kath and Sasha.

What roles have you carried out for the society?

At Zoe’s, my main focus is fostering. My family fosters both dogs as well as cats (kittens and puppies included!) For a while, I was running the Zoe’s Bakery, where I would take cupcake orders and the money I made was donated to Zoe’s. We raised over $500 for Valentine’s Day! Currently, I am part of the cat team where we review adoption applications, do reference checks, arrange home checks, and make sure that each adoption is the perfect fit for that home and animal. I’m also in charge of the online auction that will be starting April 25th. I have done a few fundraisers, such as the big vendor event and 50% of all my leggings sales from Blissful Buns Leggings Beaumont for the month of February were donated to Zoe’s.

How long have you volunteered for Zoe’s

We started fostering for Zoe’s around the month of October, and it didn’t take me long to get involved in more ways.

You recently organized a vendors market in Beaumont for Zoe’s – what tips would you give to others thinking about organizing a fundraising event?

It takes a lot of work to organize a big event like that – I had to spend several hours each day organizing and finding vendors, collecting table fees, making sure all the rental costs were covered. You definitely have to be very committed to your cause. I had the most trouble with advertising – it can be very expensive but you definitely want to get the event out there. If your cause has a big fan base (for example, Zoe’s facebook page reaches over 6000 people), try to get them to advertise it as well. After all, their supporters will be the biggest supporters of your fundraising event. I also suggest doing a silent auction as well as a baked goods table, everyone loves cookies and cupcakes! The silent auction tables are usually pretty successful at vendor events if you get the vendors to donate something towards the auction.

How much did the market raise?

The vendor market raised $1686.00 for Zoe’s Animal Rescue Society, and I sent it through ATB Cares, so Zoe’s actually ended up receiving over $1900!

What’s been your funniest experience as a volunteer?

Sometimes, the funniest things actually happen at home while fostering. My family was recently the intake for a situation where there was over thirty cats in a house. We ended up having around twelve cats in our garage for a few days before they were sent to their foster homes, stores, or some to the NWTSPCA. My dad’s reaction when we told him about getting 12 cats was priceless.

What do you like most about volunteering?

My favourite thing about volunteering has been the feeling I get when one of my fosters finds their forever home.

How much time do you spend volunteering?

I spend at least 3 hours a day doing something for Zoe’s. I’m often reviewing cat adoption applications, but when it’s not quite as busy I’m doing some kind of fundraising, or sometimes blogging. I like to keep myself busy!

Do you volunteer for any other organizations?

My family is on the foster list for: Heart Prints, Paws in Need, Beagle Paws, and a few others. I’m currently running the instagram for CAWS, but it’s not an every day thing. I definitely spend the most time doing volunteer work for Zoe’s.

What makes you happy?

When I was the one to review an adoption application for a kitten/cat, and the adoptive family couldn’t be any happier to have the new addition. When I foster a dog/cat, and they find their forever home. For example, Sheeran (cat) ended up being a foster fail. About 3 days in as his fosters, we knew he was already at home. Another example was Budley, a border collie pup who found an AMAZING home on the beach in Victoria, BC. Animals in general, along with Zoe’s team of volunteers, are sometimes the only things that make me happy.

What makes you sad?

Letting go. Sometimes you get a foster who is really hard to let go of. There have been times when we thought about foster failing dogs, but we always have to put the dogs first. We had a foster that we wanted to foster fail, but we had to be realistic. He needed a more active home, and if we adopted, we would no longer be able to foster. Sometimes it’s hard, but now we get to help more and more animals that come through our home on their way to find their forever families.

Why do you volunteer?

I started volunteering mainly because I have severe depression and anxiety. Being around animals, or being involved with them, has always been something that makes me feel better, ever since I was little. Volunteering with Zoe’s has been a really big part of keeping me somewhat happy, or at least not depressed. It’s been great to distract myself with, and focus on helping the animals rather than being sad. I want to thank Kath and Tracy for being so supportive, not just when it comes to Zoe’s. Thanks to the rescue, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people like them. Tracy is always someone I feel like I can talk to, about anything. And Kath is so understanding, almost like a second mom. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I talk to Kath, and it usually results in me spending the day with a litter of puppies in her garage. Volunteering with Zoe’s has been really good for me, and there are so many things about volunteering in rescue that make your heart feel so good. Thanks to Zoe’s, I’m actually proud of myself. I’ve learned that I have a talent for fundraising, and organizing events.

But to answer your question, the main reason I volunteer… is to give all these animals a second chance at the life they deserve.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about volunteering for Zoe’s?

Honestly, go for it! Zoe’s team of volunteers are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and they will support you 100% and help you along the way.


Thank you very much for your time and honesty Maggie and and on behalf of Zoe’s, deepest thanks for volunteering.  We salute you!