Alyssa is already a favorite volunteer, but she's about to become even more popular now that we know she works at Trader Joe's. Maybe she could get TJ's to send us a crate of those chocolate-covered espresso beans for every dog we adopt out? They're so delicious. Or maybe Alyssa could set up a remote demo stand outside the shelter on weekends? The possibilities are endless.
Thanks to Alyssa and Angelica for their hard work at the shelter, it's great when volunteering is a family affair!
What do you do when you're not at the shelter?
I'm a mother of two Berkeley High School girls, Angelica a Senior and Czarina a Freshman. I have two other 'children', our cats Jacob and Isabella who we adopted from the Berkeley Humane Society.
When I'm not busy being a mom, I'm working at Trader Joe's on University Avenue. You'll find me almost always in Demo, serving samples to our customers. If you are ever visiting our store, be sure to come by and say hi!
Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?
My daughter Angelica plans to be in veterinary medicine and I wanted her to be able to volunteer with animals in need so that she is always in touch with her dream. It's hard to make it through high school and deal with the pressures of being a teen. I knew that if she was able to interact with the animals, it would give her inspiration to keep going so she doesn't lose sight of her goal. I myself needed to volunteer because my life isn't balanced without animal interaction. My whole life I've grown up around animals and I have a lifetime of memories that involve incredible experiences I've had with them. I choose BACS specifically to do our volunteering because we had adopted our cat there and I really liked what BACS was about and how it was run.
What are your favorite things about volunteering?
The thing I love most is when you go up to a dogs cage to unlock it and they hop around, spin in circles, leap off the sides of the cage in joy. I love that! It reminds me that being there really does make a difference. Even though the dogs I get attached to eventually leave, there's always new ones coming in that I get to meet. Other things I have to mention are when you are out with a dog and you take a break in the grass and they roll around or hop in your lap. It's a comfort when they lean on you, without the use of words in that simple gesture they communicate their trust and appreciation for you.
I have to give credit to the amazing staff at BACS! They are definitely one of my most favorite things about BACS. I love sharing laughs and helping then when I can. It's part of what makes it so rewarding to be there, just getting to see them smile.
Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?
My favorite dog who has left the shelter is Miley (shown below with Alyssa's daughter Angelica)! I miss Miley so much. I loved how she'd hear my voice when I first got there and she'd yip a certain way until I got to her cage. She was the best!
Another favorite was Faye who bunked right next to Miley. Faye was awesome! I loved taking her out and playing in the grass with her. I miss Rico too, the escape artist. Jasmine was another dog I really bonded with. I remember the first time I walked her, she was so skittish at first, afraid. After a few weeks, she blossomed into a really great dog. I loved being able to be part of her transformation. Currently, Tulip is my favorite. Her size might be intimidating to some, but once you get her outside she's a big puppy.