Jim G. - December 2020 Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to Jim G., nominated and chosen as the December 2020 Volunteer of the Month.

On a long trip South to Springfield, OR, Jim G. had a very memorable conversation with a Parakeet on the way to Exotic Bird Rescue of Oregon. Of course, Jim couldn’t understand anything that was said by his avian copilot, but it was meaningful nonetheless, because they were going to have a new opportunity to find a home.

Transporting Animals

In March 2020, when in-shelter volunteer activities and adoptions were suspended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the important work of foster volunteers and transport volunteers continued behind the scenes, helping to care for an expanding shelter population and send adoptable animals to partner agencies and rescues in the community.

Jim misses volunteering for morning potty walks at the shelter, and seeing other volunteers, but he knows that volunteering for transports matter. “I transport a couple animals each week typically. The animals are always in the back, so I don’t get to interact with them a lot, but I know that they’re going to a good place.”

While Jim doesn’t get to see a lot of people or the inside of facilities on transport trips, the volunteer role does take him to interesting places, some near, some far. “I’ve been to the Displaced Pets Rescue in Vernonia, the Exotic Bird Rescue in Springfield, Cat Adoption Team in Sherwood pretty regularly, Oregon Humane Society, and Family Dogs New Life. It’s nice to go out to the different places and see what they do and the kind of animals they take. What impresses me the most is the kind of work and dedication that goes into getting animals into new homes.”

Volunteer Beginnings

Jim and his wife Kathy were first introduced to Multnomah County Animal Services after bringing a stray cat to the shelter. “We were really impressed with the facility and the staff, and decided to volunteer.

Jim attended a volunteer orientation, and began in March 2019, helping with morning potty walks with the dogs one day a week.

While Jim and his wife, Kathy, both enjoy the companionship of cats at home, and they both volunteer at MCAS, Jim likes to get his “dog fix” through volunteer work while Kathy volunteers in the cattery.

Morning Potty Walks

Jim really enjoys taking dogs out for walks in the morning. “They’re always anxious to stretch their legs and do their business. They’re always happy to see you, and that’s probably my favorite part of volunteering.”

Early on, Jim really appreciated the training and mentoring received from other veteran volunteers, including Sue S. and Mapsy P. “I started out by shadowing Sue and Mapsy. Both of them were extremely helpful and outgoing, and willing to answer any questions I had. It was a really good way to learn the ropes for working with the dogs.”

“There was one small dog named Tweenie that really stuck out to me when I started potty walking,” Jim mentions. “She was a little Shih Tzu. Her coat wasn’t looking great, and she had a tumor on her lip. Sue S. fell in love with the dog, fostered, then adopted her. She brought Tweenie back in a couple times to visit, and she had cleaned up really well. The shelter treated Tweenie’s fleas and skin condition, and removed the tumor from her lip. Then Sue gave that dog a new life.” 

“The dogs who surprised me the most were the pit bulls,” Jim says. “I had never been around the breed before, and so volunteering was my first chance to get to know them. They all have really different, vibrant personalities. There’s all kinds.”

Sailing Through Life

Jim is happily retired, and when he isn’t volunteering to transport animals, he enjoys his hobby of building and flying radio controlled sailplanes with other hobbyists in the Portland Area Sailplane Society (PASS). “I’ve always been interested in model airplanes. I’ve been building and flying them since grade school. It just kind of evolved over time, and I settled in on my interest in RC sailplanes. I’ve been doing it now for forty years.”

Jim and Kathy enjoy visiting their oldest son in Florida- when able to travel safely. They also enjoy visiting with their youngest son, who still lives in Portland.

“Outside of visiting our son, we also love visiting the UK,” Jim says. “We’ve fallen in love with Scotland, and want to go back whenever we’re able.”

Thank you, Jim, for your important volunteer work to serve the pets and people of Multnomah County.

Volunteer of the Month
Jim G with cat