By Harry Glazer
Some people are so fond of animals that they make that passion the focus of their lives. Donna Schleif is one such person and we are so fortunate that she shares her passion with Parker.
Donna embraced animal companions, in different forms, as a child. These experiences helped launch her into a career that included long terms as a caretaker for research animals at Colgate Palmolive and as a store assistant/rehab specialist at the Pets, Pets, Pets retail store in Somerset, NJ.
Her passion for pets also inspired Donna's volunteer service at McCarrick, which has spanned over 14 years. At McCarrick Donna is the chief caregiver, health care coordinator, and cheerleader for all animals in the home. Parker at McCarrick has a rabbit, Whiskers; a dove, Paloma; and three parakeets. In addition McCarrick staff and residents enjoy frequent visits from Abby, the golden retriever canine companion of Maria Campilonga, McCarrick’s director of support services.
Donna visits McCarrick regularly three times a week to care for the pets, make sure they are well fed and healthy, clean up their cages, and to help introduce them to residents and visitors. She says that the most rewarding moments of her volunteer work are when she sees people take obvious delight in the playfulness and warmth that the animal companions have to offer.
Maria praises Donna’s work at McCarrick. “She is amazing! She does a ton of work to keep the birds and the rabbit healthy and well. She extends their lives, and brings them joy, with all the love she shares. Donna is such a treasure to McCarrick!”