Monday, July 18, 2011

July's Volunteer of the Month


It's hard to miss Jodi at the shelter. She's a dog walker. And a cat volunteer. And she takes a lot of photos. And she adopted one of the shelter dogs. And she's been helping to set up a new non-profit group to help fundraise for the shelter. And she always has a smile on her face.

WHEW. Tough to keep up with that resume. I need to pick up my game. Have a read to learn more about Jodi's involvement at the shelter.

Unfortunately though, we are about to lose Jodi as she prepares to move to North Carolina! Our loss will be some other lucky organization's gain. Jodi plans to stay active and is going to start fostering.

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

I am a librarian by profession; but my interests are many. I have a background in photography, write short stories and am passionate about organic gardening and living a simplified/sustainable lifestyle. I read lots of zines, graphic novels and Young Adult fiction as well.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

After BEBHS had their terrible fire, I met and fell in love with Oreo, one of their dogs who was now being boarded at BACS. I initially went to BACS to visit Oreo, but he was out for a walk on that day, so I decided to visit with other dogs instead. From that very moment, I was totally hooked and signed up on the spot to become a volunteer. I met some wonderful staff and volunteers who I really felt a connection with and developed immediate friendships. I also witnessed BadRap class early on and was very impressed with their wonderful pit bull advocacy work. I was lucky enough to score Lisa Guerrin as my mentor, and Wilbur was the first BACS dog that I met, walked and fell in love with.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

Volunteering at BACS has enhanced my life in so many ways. The animals are all love sponges, and anything you do for them goes so very far. They are so appreciative and forgiving and resilient. I love that the shelter is located right on the Marina and near the Bay. It is a natural high walking the dogs near the water and breathing in all that fresh air! I love petting and playing with the cats as well. There are so many gorgeous cats! And I instantly bonded with many volunteers and made many new friends which I am grateful for. I also enjoy photographing dogs, cats, rats, roosters and guinea pigs and sharing my photos with the BACS facebook page maintained by the fabulous volunteer Maureen.

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

Past: Wilbur was an early favorite (note: he was one of my favorites too - he's with a great family now, and is MUCH happier than he looks in the picture below!), then an elder blind terrier named Pretzel who Muttville took in and found a loving home for, and dear Petunia were my first true dog loves. And I will never forget Shirley Temple, Ruby and Tulip. I also had a special bond with a shy dog named Lily. And now, of course, my own little Daisy Mae, a jack-chi I adopted from BACS several months ago. She is the happiest little dog ever and fills my life with joy. As far as cats: I loved a cat named Jax who was rescued by BACS from Golden Gate Fields Racetrack and also little Angela, a feisty, little cat who was recently adopted. I have wanted to take so many cats home, but already have 2 of my own who I adore, Kiki and Toby.

I have also been very involved with FOBACS: Friends of Berkeley Animal Care Services. I am quite proud to have been the first elected co-president of this newly formed 501(c) 3 non profit made up of a group of dynamic and dedicated volunteers to provide ongoing funding, enrichment and support for the new shelter facility and animals. Our first big goal is to raise $75,000 to equip an onsite medical facility for our animals. We currently have none. This will greatly add to the overall well being of all BACS animals: providing in house spays and neuters, vaccinations and minor medical procedures and care. FOBACS is recruiting new members and welcomes donations as well. Our own website, brochures, etc. are currently under construction. Information will soon become available to the public. Interested volunteers can inquire at the front desk. Ask for Amelia.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A few of my favorite pits

As is clear when you visit the shelter, we do get a lot of pit bulls. Once you get to know a few of these dogs, it’s hard to say no to them. It’s not uncommon for new volunteers to want to work with any type of dog except pit bulls…and two months later, the same volunteer ONLY wants to work with pit bulls.
With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite pits at the shelter right now…


This is one laid back dog. So much that I think people kind of skip over him. He doesn’t draw a lot of attention to himself. But what a nice mellow guy he is.


Nanee appears to be very excitable in her kennel. It’s just because she is a people-lover who desperately hopes that you’ll take her out. She’s gotten much better about pulling on the leash during a walk. She’s a smaller pit – a very manageable size. And if you are like me and believe that two dogs are better than one, I think that Nanee and Mike might have a thing for each other…


I confess, I haven’t had Leroy out for a walk yet. But he’s such a good-looking dog. I saw him his kennel the day he arrived and he was so petrified that he would not move a muscle. He sat there stiff as a board. But when I visited him a few days later he was totally friendly and came right up to me. Lots of potential in this one.


Another smaller pit, Molly is super-friendly and ready to learn. And what a great-looking dog with the black-and-white cow spots!


Blue was a backyard dog prior to coming to the shelter. He’s learning his commands quickly, and is another big-time people lover. And he’s got a great dog smile!