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Humane society volunteer enjoys laundry room

Lynn Donoghue has lived in Oxford for about a year and has already made her mark at the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society.

The 72-year-old Virginia native moved to Oxford in December 2014 and wanted to keep up her volunteer efforts. Her favorite place to lend a hand is OLHS, where she started just a couple months after moving to town.

At OLHS, she works in the laundry room, which is a constantly ongoing task with roughly 200 animals having a blanket for comfort and care as well as bowls every day.

“I love working in the laundry room,” she said. “The dog dishes, the cat dishes, whatever needs to be washed, and I do all the laundry. Washing, drying, folding, and now I’m so excited because we have three dryers.”

Donoghue spends two to three days a week at the shelter, and she is especially thankful for the help she receives from University of Mississippi student volunteers.

“I’ve always liked doing laundry and never minded doing dishes,” she joked. “I just dislike cooking intensely, so at least I surpassed myself in the other areas.”

Donoghue said OLHS is the first shelter she’s been able to not only volunteer at, but also enjoy being in.

“The very first day I went in here I said there’s just a feeling here,” Donoghue said. “I just knew when I walked in the door that the animals are well cared for. They do the best they can, the absolute best they can, each and every person here, with what they have, and everybody here cares passionately for the animals’ welfare. I’m so impressed. There’s an atmosphere that just flows through the animal shelter – that love and care.”

She noted the extra happy things the staff does for the animals, like swimming pools in the summer.

“I’ve never been able to work at one until I came here,” she said. “They’re always so sad. This one isn’t sad. I think some of the dogs want to stay here permanently.”

In addition to being involved with RSVP and activities with St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, she loves to sail, bicycle, read and exercise, particularly with the Leisure Lifestyles program.

Volunteering has always been in her blood. She met her husband 49 years ago while working with the Red Cross in Vietnam, and while in Virginia she served in the prison ministry. Another area where she currently volunteers is by tutoring a priest from El Salvador who lives in Virginia.

“We started out in Virginia together,” she said. “We set up a way to do it via the telephone. He’s learning English quite well, but mainly he wants to practice speaking English and reading the gospel. He’s a wonderful holy man, and I’m very honored.”

Her efforts are recognized, especially by the OLHS staff.

“She keeps it totally organized,” said Catherine Mize, animal care supervisor. “She helps with the volunteers as far as directing the students. The room looks very good when she’s done.”