Why Volunteering Makes Me a Better Doctor

In The Animal Report, the newsletter of the Washington Animal Rescue League, Dr. McDonnell wrote:

“Most people would say they volunteer because it makes them feel good to give back, it fulfills a sense of obligation, or it increases their appreciation for animals and people. I can certainly understand – those are most of my reasons for volunteering. But to be honest, there is a very big, underlying, selfish reason I volunteer at the League: I learn so much from the animals and people there.

“I see animals with severe illnesses that I have not seen in years (or sometimes ever). The cases challenge me, making me strive to gain further knowledge and skills that help me become a better doctor. Almost every time I consult for the League, I have an ‘Aha” moment. The folks that work there also inspire me with their care, love, and generosity towards each other and the animals. It is a wonderful place, with fantastic people, caring for amazing animals. My thanks to the League for letting me be a part of their wonderful program and helping me become a better doctor – and person – in the process!”

Where We Give Back

Dr. McDonnell volunteers at shelters including BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, Inc.), GRREAT (Golden Retriever Rescue Education and Training), and MAGAR (Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue).

He has also worked with State Police K9 units and dogs in service to the University of Maryland Homeland Security.