Saturday, May 15, 2010

May's Volunteer of the Month


DeAnna has been spotted walking quite a few different shelter dogs, but can most often be found wearing her hipster BACS apron, sitting on the grass at Aquatic Park cuddled up with Mercedes. These two are such a fine-looking couple that they have been our featured models in the BACS ad in Bay Woof magazine. Of course, DeAnna does have a life outside the glamorous world of dog walking. Here is a little more about her.

What do you do when you're not at the shelter?

During the week I’m a mild-mannered grantwriter; on weekends I train pit bulls :) I’m a recent transplant to Berkeley – I moved up here about a year ago to work at a government transparency nonprofit, doing grantwriting and other development work. I also have a community garden plot, and am obsessively planting tomatoes at the moment. The shelter has gradually started crowding out entire other areas of my life, so I also have a whole lot of hobbies that it might be more accurate to say I’d like to be doing… My family is into rafting, so most of my vacations are spent on a river somewhere.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

About two years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to adopt a kitten through a local rescue organization. That turned into two kittens, to keep each other company. And then the foster family couldn’t bear to split the litter of three orphaned kittens, so we ended up with all three of them. We have wonderful, tolerant landlords, but even so, we’re pretty much at the pet limit for reasonable renters. I was missing dogs terribly, and started looking into volunteer opportunities at local animal shelters. And the rest is history…

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

The dogs, of course, are at the top of the list, but I also love the shelter community. I’m new to Berkeley, and it’s been a fantastic way of getting to know and hang out with awesome people. I’ve been taking Mercedes to BAD RAP classes on Saturdays, which has also been wonderful – I’m working on my own skills, and watching her improve and get her dog aggression under control has been really satisfying.

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

Mercedes, hands down. She’s been here as long as I have, and was actually one of the first dogs I walked. She’d just had her spay surgery and was looking mournful in one of those cone collars. Now we’ve been going to BAD RAP classes for about two months, we’ve been on dozens of walks together – I would adopt her in a second if I could.

She’s addicted to bellyrubs – she thinks she’s a 55-lb lapdog. She’s actually incredibly lazy :) If you try to walk very far at all without sitting down for a long cuddle first, she’ll give you these long plaintive looks and finally flop down and refuse to move until that’s done. We’ll go out for long, long walks and just lay in the grass in the sun, and the only time she’ll move is when she’s trying to lick your face. I’m hoping she gets out of here soon, but the shelter is going to feel so different without her.


Addie said...

Yay! I knew you were going to be volunteer of the month, you've been so awesome with Mercedes and stuff!

Anonymous said...

The shelter will feel different, DeAnna - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I felt the same way when my favorite dog Higgins got adopted in December while I was away. I came back and the shelter almost didn't feel the same. Then my second favorite dog, Jody was adopted in February. Is it hard to lose the dogs that you've come to love? Of course, it is. But it feels wonderful to know that you helped have a part in it and like the saying goes, "Tis better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all."


miki said...

I met DeAnna last weekend when I visited Badrap training for the first time. She had the greatest vibe and Mercedes was everything she said, a big hunk of love that wanted to sit in your lap. You two do seem pretty great together. Thanks for your work. From someone who is also desperate to adopt but can't for the moment, I wish I was closer to the north bay so I do what you do so well. :)

Alicia said...

Congratulations, DeAnna! Mercedes is such a well-behaved dog and really knows her commands. All your hard work in BAD RAP is really paying off. Good job!!

Pam said...

It is a joy to see your ever-smiling face and willingness to help whenever/whereever is needed. Thank you for walking in our doors-- the dogs are lucky for it!