Animal care pet project for Julie
FOR Julie Penlington, volunteering means giving abandoned dogs and cats a second chance at life.
It also means 5.30am phone calls, emotional scenes that leave the 58-year-old crying so hard she can't see and animal cruelty so horrific it makes her vomit.
Then there are the zany rescue missions, one of which ended up with Ms Penlington spread out like "a crucifix" against the side of a car on the busy Nicklin Way at Kawana.
"I had just saved a terrified cat from a nearby beach on the spur of the moment," the 4Paws Sunshine Coast volunteer said.
"All I had to put the feline in was two washing baskets fastened together in a makeshift fashion.
"Kitty did not want to co-operate and she jumped out rather scared and cranky."
Ms Penlington had to pull over and flee the vehicle, but within seconds the cat had put its paw on the electronic window button.
"There I was with my whole body against the car, trying to do up the window and not let the cat out," she said.
"When I finally got her back in, I had to cover myself from head to toe in towels from the boot and put sunglasses on in case she got out again.
"I looked like a mad woman in bad disguise."
Today is International Volunteer Day, which aims to celebrate the contribution people like Ms Penlington make to the community.
She juggles a 16-hour-a-week job delivering medicine to the elderly with 40 hours of volunteering for 4Paws.
"My inspiration for volunteering comes from my beloved Daisy," she said.
"She was a rescue dog and in her 25 years she gave so many people joy.
"I want to give back to the community.
"For all the tough times nothing compares seeing a cat or dog get a loving new forever home."
Sippy Creek Animal Refuge Shelter volunteer Leesa Neilen agrees.
"Volunteering with animals is so rewarding.
"They give so much unconditional love and happiness, she said.
"By volunteering you are giving them a voice."
If you want to volunteer for 4Paws phone Julie on 0411 144 689 or SCARS on 5494 5275.