Cynthia Widdall

Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner

OC Community Resources
OC Animal Care

ACTION: What does the volunteer do?

Cynthia (Cindy) Widdall has been a volunteer with OC Animal Care since November 2013, and during that time, she has dedicated more than 1,920 hours of service. Her passion is working in the shelter’s rabbit area where she socializes adoptable rabbits and prepares detailed recommendations for potential adopters based on each rabbit’s personality and temperament.

Cindy taps into her experience and expertise to ascertain a rabbit’s breed and gender and works closely with the veterinary staff to help identify medical concerns. She arrives at the shelter on a daily basis to ensure that the adoptable rabbits get plenty of socialization and exercise and is conscientious in creating enriching play areas for the animals that are full of bunny safe toys. In addition, Cindy contributes to the rabbits' well-being by supplying fresh veggies throughout the year and freezing water bottles to help keep them cool on summer days.

While the rabbits are exercising, Cindy photographs them and composes detailed comments for their kennel cards to assist the public in making responsible adoption decisions. While socializing the rabbits, Cindy takes time to create informational signs that are displayed in the rabbit area to help community members better understand the care that’s required to keep a pet rabbit healthy and safe.

Cindy is an advocate for spay and neuter practices and dedicates some of her time to educating the public on the health-related benefits that rabbits experience when altered. Her efforts in promoting spay and neuter practices have helped to increase rabbit alteration surgeries.

Cindy helps community members choose the right rabbit for their family, educates them on essential equipment for their pet and teaches the importance of providing their rabbit with nutritious meals. She draws upon her background as a school teacher to effectively educate both adults and children.

In addition to her other volunteer activities, Cindy works with a variety of local rescue organizations to remove rabbits from OC Animal Care that are not suitable for adoption because they may be underage or nursing mothers with infants, or may have been housed at the shelter for prolonged periods of time. Her tireless efforts in keeping rabbits healthy and adoptable while also providing the public with pertinent information have contributed tremendously to OC Animal Care’s success in this area.

NEED: What community need does the volunteer address?

Cindy’s involvement demonstrates the importance of tapping into a volunteer’s expertise in working with small mammals such as rabbits at OC Animal Care. While the shelter has many volunteers who specialize in dogs or cats, only a few are knowledgeable about and skilled in working with rabbits. In addition, Cindy addresses community needs by educating the public so that they can become informed, responsible pet owners.

IMPACT: What is different as a result of the volunteer's service?

Cindy is a passionate advocate for OC Animal Care staff and volunteers who team up in their goal to educate the public about adoptable pets, shelter operations, the humane treatment of animals and the importance of spaying/neutering. Over the past year, she has helped to double the adoption rate for rabbits – an extraordinary feat to be accomplished by just one person! Between November 2012 – November 2013, there were 223 rabbit adoptions at OC Animal Care. During Cindy’s tenure, between November 2013 – November 2014, 404 rabbits were adopted.

INSPIRATION: What makes the volunteer unique/special?

Cindy is currently the only volunteer who works daily with OC Animal Care’s adoptable rabbits. She has taken on the added duties of Lead Volunteer for the rabbit area and is responsible for the training of all new volunteers interested in working with rabbits at the shelter. Her volunteer involvement with OC Animal Care is very broad and includes direct rabbit care, volunteer training, public education, rescue promotion and networking, transportation of animals not suitable for adoption, and organization of foster placement within rescues.

Cindy’s positive attitude, great leadership skills, insightful recommendations and caring nature make her a valued and appreciated member of OC Animal Care’s volunteer team.

Thank you and congratulations to Cynthia Widdall, Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner!

Click here to find out how you can volunteer with OC Animal Care.