TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Humane Society of Tampa Bay relies on donations and volunteers in the community to keep going, caring for abused and mistreated dogs and cats.
Volunteers make such a difference, volunteers like Dwight Raines.
"You know you're doing something special for animals who don't have a voice. That's the most important thing. I know on days that I come here, I'm excited," said Raines. "There has to be something meaningful. There has to be a reason for getting up in the morning."
Raines has been a part of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay for seven years now after starting in 2009.
His main role is as a "surgery snuggler"- comforting the animals after getting spayed and neutered. Raines also does anything else that needs to be taken care of, like bathing dogs and prepping them for surgery.
"What those dogs give us is more than we can ever give back to them. Just being here is a healing process," Raines said.
Volunteering is healing for the dogs who lost faith in people, but also for people who have lost family members.
"I get choked up, but I know precious is with him. His pit bull that we took after he passed away," Raines said, talking about his late son. "It's tough but I know he's happy. I want to continue his passion of what dogs meant to him. He had a huge heart and that's what I want to continue."
Raines' son Ryan passed away at the age of 31 from a seizure disorder. A gazebo was built in his honor, available for Raines, and others, to see a little piece of Ryan every time they visit the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.
It's a testament that a huge heart -- was something that passed down from father to son.
"It's hard because it reminds you, but at the same time, you never want to forget and that's important. He may have left us physically, but he is with us in our hearts," said Raines. "They're always with you at all times; you can feel them," Raines said.
A 'Bark in the Park' event benefitting the Humane Society of Tampa Bay takes place this weekend at Cotanchobee Park in Tampa.
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