By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: Dec. 4, 2017 | 7:15 p.m.
SUTHERLAND – To say that Margaret Worley, Sutherland, gives much of herself to animals in need, would be quite an understatement! Margaret came out of retirement and now works part-time in a veterinary hospital.
She is married to Jerry Worley, and between them they have seven children, 18 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. The Worleys have three adopted dogs.
In her “spare-time,” Margaret Worley is an animal rescue volunteer who splits her time between separate animal rescue and care organizations: Capital Area Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), Richmond; Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue, Northern Virginia; Dinwiddie County Animal Shelter; and the Hopewell Animal Shelter.
For the C.A.R.E., Worley fosters infant puppies that for various reasons, don’t have mothers to care for them. Their mothers may have died, or the puppies may have been abandoned, or the mother may have been gravely ill, or the puppies may have been taken away from the mother.
When Worley takes the puppies, sometimes it is just one puppy, but sometimes it can be up to four siblings at once. She nurtures the puppies, feeds them, and teaches them socialization skills. She keeps the puppies until they are around eight-weeks old. She then returns the puppies back to the rescue where they begin receiving their shots, and are prepared for adoption.
When asked if it was hard to return the fostered animals, Worley hesitated and then said, “Some times are harder than others. On several occasions, I have fostered puppies that lost their Mothers immediately, so their eyes were not even open.”
I feed them by bottle, and when they finally open their eyes, I am their Mother—their only Mother for weeks,” she continued. “There is always a deep bond there that develops over the weeks. They rely on me for food, nurturing, and to teach them about behavior. These precious puppies are totally helpless. Letting some of them go and returning them to the Rescues can be quite hard.”
Worley also provides transport support for C.A.R.E., and has gone as far as North Carolina and West Virginia.
Worley explained transport by saying, “In Southwest Virginia and West Virginia, there are some shelters, not all of them, but there are some shelters that are referred to as kill shelters. Sadly, these shelters will euthanize puppies if they have not been adopted in ten days.”
She went on to say, It is not always ten days; sometimes it’s sooner, and sometimes the animals are healthy and good-tempered.
There is a network that works in the Southwest Virginia and West Virginia areas going to these kill shelters and picking out candidates that would be good for rescue. These dogs are listed on the rescue networks, to determine what organization could take them. Some rescues take dogs by breed, some by size, and some by age.
“When a dog has been identified for rescue, I am one of many volunteers that will travel to pick these animals up and bring them back to the C.A.R.E. rescue,” Worley explained. “We will often have another Rescue Volunteer that will accompany myself or others on these transports. It’s pretty incredible and indescribable how you feel when you know you have saved an innocent animal from certain death.”
Occasionally, Worley will also attend adoption events for C.A.R.E. These events are held every Sunday in Richmond, and Worley helps when time permits.
She said, “I prefer actually directly being involved in rescues, fostering animals, caring for animals, and transports.”
Worley also volunteers for the Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue, out of Northern Virginia. She explained that animal shelters call this organization to let shelters know when their shelter has received a cocker—most any kind of cocker or spaniel, such as: cocker spaniels, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, springer spaniels, or English cockers.
Occasionally, they may even take another breed that comes in with a cocker, so that the dogs do not have to be separated. Worley goes to these shelters and temperament-tests the dogs, obtains information on if the dog has a history of biting, or has a good history, and she works with the dog in an attempt to determine if it would make a good pet for someone, and if so, what kind of home the animal would be suitable for; such as a home with or without other animals, with or without children, an indoor or outdoor dog, and other considerations.
Worley then notifies Oldies But Goodies of her findings, and if the organization can take the animal, she will transport the dog. The Sutherland native often meets transport partners in the Richmond or Ashland area, that will make the trip to Northern Virginia with her.
Worley has also worked with the Dinwiddie Animal Shelter. She has bathed dogs, trimmed them, walked them, and transported dogs from the Dinwiddie Shelter to a rescue.
Worley explained that the Dinwiddie Shelter has its own rescue coordinator, and sometimes this coordinator will call Worley and notify her that they have an animal that a rescue will take. Worley then transports the animal. She explained that she used to do more direct volunteer work at the shelter itself, but since she began fostering animals, doing transport for rescue organizations, and taking the position at the veterinary hospital, she mainly does the voluntary transport work for the Dinwiddie Shelter. Worley has also done this type of shelter work and transport work for the Hopewell Animal Shelter.
The last puppy Worley fostered, she returned just a couple of weeks ago. It was a single puppy, as opposed to a brood of three or four puppies.
Worley explained, “I always try not to become attached to the puppies that I foster, but sometimes it is just a little harder when it is just a single puppy. This last puppy, I still think about and wonder how and what it’s doing. I had four puppies earlier this year that had not yet opened their eyes. I had to do everything for them. They depended on me for absolutely everything. They truly thought I was their Mother. It was hard to let them go too, but it helps to know that one of those puppies was adopted locally. This puppy is actually seen by the Veterinary Hospital where I work, so this is really personally gratifying, and I get to see it occasionally. It makes me so happy to see it is doing so well.”
Alvin Langley, Chief Animal Control Officer, Dinwiddie Animal Shelter said, “Margaret Worley is without a doubt one of the most dedicated Volunteers we have ever had here at our Shelter. I wish I had a hundred more volunteers just like her.”
Worley feels that everyone can do something.
“It’s great if you can foster an animal, but not everyone can,” she said. “It’s great when you can help transport these animals, but not everyone can. It’s great when people can go into the shelters and help care for the animals, but not everyone can. Something that many people can do; however, is to donate money to a favorite rescue organization such as C.A.R.E., or Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue, both of which can be found online or Facebook, or to another rescue of their choice. Another great way to help is with donations to local shelters. We have a great shelter here in Dinwiddie. They are always in need of puppy and kitten food, kitty litter, bleach, Dawn dishwashing liquid, towels, laundry detergent, or cash donations.”
At this time of year when it is growing colder outside, it’s hard to think about animals that are cold, hungry, sick, or homeless.
Worley said, “If a person can find it in their heart to adopt, it is beyond rewarding.”
Years ago, Worley used to breed and show dogs. She was very particular about bloodlines and making the correct selections for breeding, but this became less and less important to her. She began breeding far less often and eventually stopped.
“There are so many dogs being bred now, going to people for exorbitant amounts of money, and many of these dogs end up coming to a shelter far too often,” she said. Many people don’t think before falling in love with a cute small puppy. They don’t realize or take into consideration that their home or yard is not big enough for a larger breed. Sometimes people are not home enough to care for a dog. Sometimes people don’t take enough time to train a dog, and they then become disappointed with the dog’s behavior. These are great dogs that end up in rescues or shelters—and it’s so sad.”
All three of Margaret and Jerry Worley’s dogs are adopted. Schulze was a private adoption. She is a big Shepard mix, that may look a little intimidating, but she’s a sweet and playful girl that loves to shake hands and kiss you with a lick. Wendy, is a beautiful black cocker, that was adopted from the Dinwiddie Animal Shelter. She craves attention. Last, but not least, is Gypsy. She is a Brittany Spaniel, and she was adopted from Southside area SPCA.
These three girls are truly loved members of the Worley household.
When Margaret Worley fosters these young puppies, some so young that their eyes have not yet opened; she does not just feed them or walk them. She socializes the animals so they will become candidates that people will want to adopt. She walks them. She teaches the dogs not to get into their food bowls.
She gets the little puppies used to the feel of grass, floors, and pavements under their little paws. She cuddles and talks to them, and they become happy when they are around people. She gets them used to being outside, indoors, and riding in a car.
“It is so gratifying to me to know that when I return these puppies to a rescue or shelter, they are no longer scared or nervous,” Worley said. “They are happy, really happy, and they like to be around people. I feel that this gives them the best chance of being adopted into a loving home.”
In addition to Worley’s work with rescue agencies and shelters, fostering animals, and transports, she frequently fields calls from individuals looking for certain types of dogs. If she knows of such a dog that is up for adoption, she apprises the individual and lets them take it from there. If she does not know of an available dog of the type that the individual is looking for, she makes a note of it and lets the person know, if or when one becomes available. She has had success in connecting people with dogs that they have adopted in this manner.
Worley clearly loves the volunteer work she does with these animals. She does much, and the lives of the animals are far better for it.