CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Martha Beck made the decision to stay busy when she retired from her career. She says she can’t stay home when there is so much to do in the community - so she volunteers.
"I can't imagine just sitting at home and being retired retired," said Beck. "I'm busier now than I ever was. And you know what, I love it."
Beck spends two days per week volunteering at St. Francis C.A.R.E., a no-kill animal rescue organization in Murphysboro.
She mainly cleans bowls, washes bedding, and of course gives all the dogs and cats plenty of love.
“People say 'Oh, I could never volunteer here because I’d want to take them all home with me,” Beck said. “Well, sure, you would like to, but you can’t. So, I come here, and I can love on them and help make them comfortable and clean.”
But volunteering at St. Francis isn't always snuggles and smiles.
"You see people at their best here and their worst," said Beck. "Their very best with all the love that they can give when they rescue these animals and adopt them. But you also learn about the worst things that people can do."
St. Francis sees a lot of special needs and abuse cases because they're one of the only local rescues with a full-time veterinarian on staff.
That means they can take animals that other rescues can’t. Pets like Indiana Bones, a brown and white small-mixed breed dog with a heartbreaking story.
"This little dog has some severe neurological issues," said Beck. "He was thrown against a wall. This is what I mean when I say we see the worst of people."
With physical therapy and lots of TLC, the hope is Indiana Bones will get to a point where he can find his forever home.
That's where Beck and a small army of other volunteers come in. Without their help, St. Francis Executive Director and Veterinarian Kay Creese, DVM says they couldn't rescue as many pets.
"I wouldn't be able to do nearly the number of surgeries that I'm doing right now without their help," said Dr. Creese. "And we couldn't save as many of these little guys as we do."
Whether you have four legs, or just two - Beck won't hesitate to help in a time of need. She is also a volunteer chaplain at Memorial Hospital in Carbondale.
"They automatically call us for a code blue, a trauma alert coming into the emergency room, or a code coming into the emergency room," said Beck. "Frequently families will request the presence of a chaplain and sometimes you are just there to listen and provide support. That's the main thing. Listen, listen, listen."
Beck also lends an ear, and her talents as a cook as an elder at First Christian Church of Carbondale. She puts on two fundraising dinners per year at the church and delivers meals on wheels once a month.
Bottom line - that's Beck's goal: to feed others -- Pet or human, physically or spiritually, even through the smallest acts of compassion and kindness.
“If many little people in many little places do many little things the face of the earth will change,” said Beck. “I believe that. you know. We can all do something.”
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