When did you start volunteering at PAWS?
March of 2011.
What jobs/roles have you performed at PAWS?
I started out as a dog walker when I was an undergrad. From there, I had an interest in dog training and became a Pet Partner to one of the best dogs ever, Murphy. I also served as a kennel assistant. Currently, I am the Dog Medical Coordinator, Transport Coordinator, one of the Behavior Team Coordinators, and a member of the application decision committee. I still serve as a Pet Partner and a dog walker.
What do you currently do as a volunteer?
As the Dog Medical Coordinator, I do everything from administering vaccines and updating medical records to taking dogs to the vet (with a lot of tasks in between). I am the Dog Transport Coordinator, which means that I work with our transport partners and transport team to pull dogs from South Carolina who are in need and bring them to PAWS. Behavior Team Coordinator is my newest role. In this position, I work with the Behavior Team to behaviorally evaluate dogs, set up meet and greets with adopters' dogs, attend behavioral training sessions that are conducted by a trainer, and serve as a Pet Partner to Ruffy, Mayflower, and Lady, the sweetest angel babies on the planet. I love walking dogs on Tuesday evenings and being a part of the application decision committee. I'm a member of the Failed Foster Club and foster dogs and pups overnight when needed.
Why do you volunteer at PAWS?
As I've learned more about myself over the years, I feel like I've found my calling and one of my purposes in life. I'm extremely lucky to have been able to have the opportunity to turn what began as a volunteer position into a passion that just "clicked." I love helping dogs in various capacities and I feel like it's what I'm meant to do; I'm grateful to be a part of an organization that has given me opportunities to grow, learn, and learn more about myself.
When you're not at PAWS, what do you like to do with your time?
I enjoy spending time with my husband, our family, and crazy dogs. I like to garden, read, visit breweries and wineries, hike, and travel. In September, my husband and I took a road trip to and hiked through Glacier National Park in Montana and it was as amazing as it sounds.
What do you like best about being a PAWS volunteer? What do you find to be the most rewarding?
In addition to making some great friends, I love coordinating dog transports and working with dogs who have behavioral considerations. Being a part of a team who works together to save dogs who are abandoned, at risk of euthanasia because of high shelter populations, or are at risk of ending up in a kill shelter due to no fault of their own is really special to me. My absolute favorite thing to do is work with dogs who have behavioral considerations or quirks. There is nothing like understanding and earning the trust of a dog, helping them work through challenging behaviors, and seeing them build confidence and flourish.
If someone asked you why they should volunteer at PAWS, what answer would you give?
PAWS gives volunteers the opportunity to learn and grow in their volunteer roles. Not only do you get the opportunity to spend time with dogs and cats, but you get the opportunity to become more knowledgeable handlers and advocates, too. There are SO many diverse volunteer positions and there really is something for everyone.