Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January's Volunteer of the Month


Sasha brings her whole family to volunteer at BACS - proving what a great family activity volunteering can be. She's also "ze ar-TEEST" behind the wonderful portraits of adopted BACS dogs.

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

I work as a full-time online media artist in Emeryville. I love to spend my spare time with my family – in fact, sometimes all four of us (my husband, 2 kids and myself) visit BACS animals. My kids enjoy the time they spend there, my daughter recently told me that she want to be a veterinarian and help abandoned dogs and cats. I do some occasional volunteer work at my kids’ school, as well. Among my interests are travel, reading, oriental cultures, foreign languages, dog training, digital art, fostering dogs for some rescue organization, singing, Japanese animation, skiing... and many, many more.

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

A bit over a year ago I’ve started looking for a dog that would get along well with our cat (adopted from Martinez Animal Shelter). I never had a dog in my life, by the way. Since the Berkeley shelter was the closest to my work, it was the first one I visited. I spent there about 30 minutes and walked away with the schedule of classes for prospect volunteers.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

Seeing “Adopted” mark next to the dog or cat photo at BACS Facebook page!

It still amazes me, how our love and attention turn shy, fearful or hard-to-control animals into wonderful companions.

I learn a lot from animals and people at BACS. In fact, when I first got there I did not even know how to put a harness on a dog. I am still having a hard time with that, but getting better, I hope!

Who are your favorite dogs, past and present?

My favorite one was, is and always will be Leonard, Chihuahua and some small terrier mix, the first one I walked. He was the main reason why I came to shelter five times a week for the three months that he was there.

Sasha's portrait of Leonard

Thus a bond that cannot be broken easily was created, I am truly attached to this place now! I still tend to spend more time with smaller dogs that you can could hold in your arms or on your lap. Vinnie, Geoffrey, Raven, Quigley, Hollis, Marla, Herman, Zack, Shirley – what a year! Out of bigger ones my favorite are Godiva, Blake, Sweet Pea and Prudence.

Sasha's portrait of Godiva

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The BACS Blog Interview: Cola and Oreo

These litter mates have spent too much of their young lives at BACS. But they are both friendly, fun, attentive dogs which means that they get lots of walks from volunteers. The BACS blog was lucky to corral them long enough to get an interview.

BACS Blog: Now that I’ve got you both in front of me, I have to admit that it is really hard to tell you two apart.

Cola: Well, I’m Cola.

Oreo: And I’m Oreo.

BB: Thanks, that was really super-helpful.

Cola: In my opinion, the easy way to tell us apart is that one of us is just a little bit cuter than the other

Oreo: But Cola won’t tell me which one it is

Cola: Keep thinking about it.

BB: All right, we’re not trying to start any sibling rivalries today. Surely there must be a way to tell you apart.

Oreo: Well, Rachana takes me to BAD RAP class.

Cola: And Shannon takes me. So that’s a good way to tell who is who.

BB: BAD RAP class? You guys are pretty young for that, aren’t you? I didn’t think it was for puppies.

Cola: Who you calling a puppy? We’re coming up pretty mature. Just look at Oreo in class last week. Pretty good, huh?

BB: Not bad, Oreo.

Oreo: Well it looks easy, but doing a good down-stay with all those other dogs around is really hard for a friendly guy like me.

BB: Looks like you guys are coming right along.

Cola: We’re getting there. We really are different dogs. People think we’re exactly alike because we’re litter mates, but we’re actually a lot different.

BB: Really? What is your favorite food?

Cola: Kibble

Oreo: I’d also have to go with kibble.

BB: Favorite drinks?

Cola: I like water.

Oreo: LOVE water!

BB: Favorite dog at the shelter?

Cola: Oreo.

Oreo: Probably Cola.

BB: Guys, this is some really insightful stuff.

Oreo: Well, we’re still young! We haven’t seen too much of the outside world yet.

BB: What’s the holdup for getting into a home?

Cola: We’ve been wondering about that ourselves. I think it was those Simpsons puppies a few months ago. Remember Mr. Burns, Marge, and the rest of that litter? That was a lot of puppies up for adoption. They probably temporarily fulfilled the puppy demand. We’re hoping to catch the post-Christmas wave.

Oreo: Yeah, we're not giving up. Did you hear that we were made an appearance at Sports Basement in Walnut Creek last weekend? Looking good and representing the shelter!

BB: Well good luck guys, I’m sure something will work out soon for you.

Cola: Spread the word!