As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, our focus is often on meeting the needs of our family members, friends, and neighbors. However, animals living in shelters need love and attention as well during this pandemic. And while news reports suggest a surge in pet adoptions and fostering of animals, experts are quick to note that shelters still have and always will have animals in need. USTA Mid-Atlantic member Kendall McCaughey decided that she could step in and provide that TLC to our non-human friends.
We caught up with Kendall to find out more about how she is serving off the court in this unique way
USTA Mid-Atlantic: Where do you live?
Tell me about your family.
I am married with two kids. Bryn is 17 and is committed to playing lacrosse at the University of Denver in the Fall. Michael is 20 and a sophomore at the University of South Carolina.
How did you get started playing tennis?
I played tennis as a youth and played competitively in high school.
I got back into tennis as an adult 13 years ago and I’ve played quite a bit on lots of teams.
Do you play on any tennis teams or in tournaments?
I did play on lots of teams. The biggest highlight was placing 3rd at the USTA National Tournament for 8.0 mixed doubles.
Where do you play tennis?
I play mostly in my neighborhood.
Tell me about how you are serving off the court.
I walk dogs about once a week at Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) in Aldie, Va.
How did you get started?
I went online and signed up at FOHA.org. Then I went through training which takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
These animals are confined to small shelter spaces. FOHA needs volunteers to give them the opportunity to improve their quality of life through exercise and positive human interactions like snuggling!
What’s your favorite part of helping?
I feel fortunate to provide time to these animals who desperately need love and attention.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to get involved with helping during this time?
This is a great time to get involved! There is a need for people to help walk and interact with animals in the shelter. It is a positive, socially distanced activity that gives tremendously needed attention to these sweet animals who are surrendered or abused through no fault of their own!
As the recovery process begins, tennis has the power to rebuild the community and we continue to be inspired by so many of you – the tennis players, parents, and fans out there, giving back and helping out during the pandemic in many different ways.
USTA Mid-Atlantic invites everyone to #ServeItForward both on and off-court, and get involved in helping to support tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section as part of the recovery process we’ll all need. Learn more about how you can #ServeItForward and support the USTA Mid-Atlantic, a non-profit organization, as we bring the healing power of tennis to our Mid-Atlantic community.
Let us know how you or your tennis friends #ServeItForward by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.