Thursday, August 25, 2011

August's Volunteer of the Month


Caroline just can't get enough of our dogs. She's often at the shelter, and loves to take dogs to BAD RAP class. She also volunteers at the BAD RAP barn. We hope she doesn't find a job too quickly! Volunteering with dogs is much more fun.

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

I actually just finished grad school this month, so I've recently earned my master's degree in Library and Information Science. When I'm not searching for job openings, I spend a lot of time volunteering. In addition to BACS, I volunteer at the Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek, where I assist in both the natural history department (checking out specimens to docents for their programs) and their wildlife rehabilitation hospital (where I get to feed baby birds). I was also fortunate to join BAD RAP's barn crew recently, which means that I get to interact with their rescue dogs during the transition between shelters and foster homes. Like the BACS dogs, they need mental and physical stimulation, as well as lots of cuddles. I'm also unofficially interning at my local library, which basically means that I help out the teen librarian and make her life a little less hectic. And I'm pretty involved in my church, where I sing in the choir. So, I keep pretty busy, but I love it.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

I came to BACS in kind of a round-about way. Initially, I was thinking about volunteering at Oakland Animal Services, and while I was looking into their program I ran across some information about BAD RAP. I had never heard of them before, and I don't think I'd ever even met a pitbull at that point, so there isn't really a rational explanation for why it hooked me and I felt like I needed to get involved. I read about BACS volunteers taking shelter dogs to Pit Ed, and I hurried to the next BACS volunteer training (which I think was literally the next day - I don't think I even signed up for it). I met with Loraine for my mentoring session and was eventually upgraded to an orange dot, and I was observing Pit Ed the next weekend.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

Definitely the dogs. It's so gratifying to see how much they improve, both in behavior and basic commands, when you've been working with them for some time. And of course you start to build a relationship with them, and they get this look in their eyes when they recognize you and realize that they get to spend some time with you. Right now I'm taking Roseanne to Pit Ed, and she is particularly sweet and eager to please. I think she gets overlooked at the shelter because she's not that young, but she's really one of the better dogs I've worked with. I also really enjoy meeting people through BACS, although that tends to happen less often. I think everyone who is drawn to help animals has a really generous spirit, and that seems to be true of the wonderful people I've met here.

Caroline and Roseanne at class. Note that Roseanne has an adoption pending as this blog entry goes to press!

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

I have a soft spot for Emma, who was the first BACS pitbull I took for a walk (during my mentoring session!) and to Pit Ed. I didn't get to know her very well, because she was rescued by BAD RAP right around the time I started volunteering. She actually just was officially adopted by her foster family this month, so great things have happened for her. Baby was another one of my favorites, because it took a while for her to get adopted and I spent several weeks in Pit Ed getting to know her. And obviously I love my current sweetheart Roseanne. I will be thrilled when she gets a home. (Psst...she's housebroken, folks!). These are just a few - there are so many great dogs that come through BACS.

Caroline and Baby

Emma and her new family

Thanks Caroline!

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