Meet Denise H, our October volunteer of the month. Denise has volunteered with dogs for 4 years, and loves the camaraderie of volunteering, training new volunteers, making adoption matches, and above all - knowing she’s made a positive difference in animals' lives for the time they're at the shelter.
- Time of service: ~ 4 years
- Roles: Dog Volunteer, Dog Foster Volunteer
How did you learn about volunteering?
I don't remember how I learned about volunteering at MCAS, but I've never regretted it. I started with laundry and helping in the cattery before moving on to walking dogs.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I love the anticipation of seeing dogs I've come to know; I enjoy the camaraderie and support with other volunteers and staff; I enjoy helping make perfect matches between potential adopters and pets; and I especially appreciate knowing I've made a positive difference in the shelter animals' lives for the time they're at the shelter. I get lots of "good feels" in helping onboard and train new dog-walking volunteers, as well.
What are some of your favorite volunteer memories or experiences?
Some of my favorite memories are of walking dogs during the 6am shift. The focus on just the dogs; the quiet darkness of the morning; and the sun coming up for a new day.
A funny memory is from doing a "meet" with the Rottweiler puppy Dozer. Dozer got excited and peed on the adopter's sandal-clad foot. Luckily it was a laughing moment and the two were meant to be. I have lots of favorite memories about specific dogs who were regrettably at the shelter for a long time, but who I got to know really well (King, Ranger, Alexander, Agate, Rosie, Diesel, Mufasa, Freya, Alexander, Guinness, and Ophelia just to name a few).
What's something you want the public to know about volunteering or shelter animals?
It makes a difference!
The shelter is a tough, stressful place for animals. I would love for more adopters to realize that when they bring home an adopted pet, that it can take several months for their new family member to feel comfortable and come out of their shell. If they expect their new family member to be exactly as they were in the shelter and/or to be perfectly trained in a variety of situations, that just isn't going to happen. I'd love for more adopters to seek outside help with positive training techniques, especially for the dogs, before giving up.
Anything else you'd like to include?
I feel so good when I am at the shelter… because of the dogs I get to interact with, but even more because of the shared interactions and efforts with people making the work possible.
Thank you, Denise, for your volunteer service to the pets and people of Multnomah County!