Barbara Fischer volunteers with the Orange County Humane Society. (Courtesy PAT BRIL / April 11, 2012)

On March 25, about 30 volunteers and staff from Huntington Beach's Orange County Humane Society — along with animal control officers from Newport Beach and Costa Mesa — gathered to pay tribute to Barbara Fischer, an extraordinarily dedicated volunteer.

For more than a decade, Barb has given of her time, talents and pocketbook to improve the lives of the animals who depend on the OCHS shelter.

Since 2001, Barb has contributed in myriad ways. She walked, socialized and fostered dogs. She also transported them to be groomed and paid for needed surgeries. As an experienced volunteer, she ably trained and mentored dozens of new volunteers. In addition, Barb purchased beds, blankets, sweaters, collars, leashes and special food for the animals to improve the quality of their kennel life. Her personal care even extended to regularly tucking dogs into their beds for a warm and cozy night.

Barb assisted with many adoption efforts and, for years, she wrote the Pet of the Week profiles that have appeared in the pages of the Huntington Beach Independent. One of the most important — and endless — tasks she undertook was to launder the shelter bedding, over and over again — wearing out three of her own washing machines in the process! Her continuing record of accomplishment is a wonderful inspiration to many others.

During the brief ceremony at the OCHS facility, Barb was honored by fellow volunteers who cited her dedication, kindness and generosity. A special plaque was placed on the shelter wall, in recognition of her service, with the telling words she says have guided her efforts: "It is all about the animals!"

On occasions such as this, we are reminded of the value of volunteerism. The OCHS depends heavily upon donations of time and other resources to meet the needs of homeless pets. We trust Barb's example may encourage involvement from more members of our local community.

PAT BRIL is a Huntington Beach resident and volunteer for the Orange County Humane Society.