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Volunteer Spotlight Fall 2019

Leslie A. Malone Center–William (Bill) Brown

William

What inspired you to volunteer at DFL?
I was drawn to Dumb Friends League because of its reputation in the community. Malone Center is only about 10 to 15 minutes away from my residence so that was a plus and I’ve always loved kitties so volunteering at Dumb Friends League was a no-brainer.

What’s one of the most important/surprising things you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
What I have learned from volunteering at the is just how therapeutic it is for me to work with animals and be around animals as we are at the shelter. We all know how calming having animals around us is, and I am thankful I can come in frequently to get my kitty-fix.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
I guess that, today, my favorite quote would have to be, “endeavor to persevere”!! It is from a line spoken by the actor Chief Dan George in the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales”!!

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
I suppose I try to live by the golden rule of treating others as I would like to be treated.

Anything else you’d like to share?
The only thing that I can think of to share is that it is deeply pleasing to me to see what a great job the behavior department is able to do with the animals they work with. I’ve been making behavior follow-up telephone calls for the call center for nearly five years. Behavior follow-ups are only done for animals that were in one of the behavior modification programs, such as Head Start or K9Courage for dogs or Cats-N-Clickers or Kitty Comfort for our feline friends. All of this being said, I speak with very few patrons who are having behavior difficulties with their newly adopted family members. I think this speaks volumes about the effectiveness of these behavior mod programs that our Behavior Department provides!!!

Foster–Kate Gavaghan

Susan

What inspired you to volunteer at DLF?
I was inspired to volunteer after we had adopted our two cats and one dog and realized we were at our personal family limit. So, the next best thing would be fostering … and it turned out to be a wonderful decision.

What’s one of the most important/surprising thing you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
The biggest surprise was when we fostered a mama cat who had just given birth to three babies, and the next day, which just happened to be Easter Sunday, we awoke to find the Easter bunny had delivered an extra kitten! He was huge and perfectly healthy.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
There is so much beauty in the world if you just know where to look. Also: Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. So be kind.

What do you do while you’re not volunteering at DFL?
I am a mom, a full-time Vet Tech student, and I work weekends in a vet clinic.

Anything else you’d like to share?
While I wish I had more time to spend volunteering at the shelter, fostering has been the best experience for our family and taught my kids so much.

Harmony–Deb Greiner

Nancy

What inspired you to volunteer at DFL?
I remember sitting at my retirement celebration and being asked what I was going to do with all my time now. My reply, “work with animals,” was met with some laughter and a follow-up question. “Haven’t you been doing that for the past 25 years?” “No, I mean the four-legged kind.”
After retiring from Jeffco schools as both a teacher and principal, I was thrilled to be making this shift in direction. I enrolled in school to become a veterinary technician and started the process to become a volunteer at the Dumb Friends League in health care. I was hooked. My volunteering led to employment at the League in both health care and adoptions. Then, when the first grandbaby arrived, I went back to volunteering. This time, however, I changed directions—literally. Instead of heading north to the Leslie A. Malone Center, I headed south to Harmony Equine Center. I had just completed an adult riding program through the Westernnaires and realized that the four-legged friends I wanted to work with were of the horse/donkey/mule variety.

What’s one of the most important/surprising things you’ve learned from volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
Harmony is a very special place, and I have felt honored to be a part of things there since the day I worked my first volunteer shift. The irony of feeling privileged to muck horse poop is not lost on me. Yet, it is a privilege. We are in the stalls and pastures with equines who have histories that are not always so positive. Humans have not always lived up to the standards of care that these sensitive and beautiful animals have deserved. To be a part of their healing and recovery gives me a true sense of duty. I have a duty to help right the wrongs. So, as much as I pour love and respect into these beautiful animals, I will never be able to equal what they give back to me.

As my mother was dying, I looked forward to my shifts at Harmony more than I can express. The time there was a break from dealing with all the details of providing her with the best death experience possible. Mom died on a Saturday. My next shift at Harmony was on Wednesday. I debated whether I should go. I did. I sure didn’t contribute evenly to my team’s efforts to pick up poop that day. I had zero room to maneuver my muck rake. No matter what pasture we were in, I was closely surrounded by horses! I had big heads looking over my shoulders. I had big bodies edged up next to me. I felt their breath on my neck. Their energy just poured into me.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?:
This experience is exemplified in my favorite quote: Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. – George Eliot

What do you do while you’re not volunteering at the DFL?
When I’m not at Harmony or doing other volunteer work for the League, I work hard at keeping my mind and body busy. I have a real fear of becoming a grumpy old lady. I have continued to work in the vet tech world, which keeps my skills up-to-date and keeps my brain busy. I hang out with my two ponies, one of which I adopted from Harmony. I help with childcare for my grandchildren and volunteer at their schools, as well as at the schools where my two daughters teach. I still like two-legged friends! I made a promise to myself that I would be the old lady who adopted the old animals, and I have followed through with that. I recently adopted a 9-year-old Lab mix from the League to be a companion for my 10-year-old Lab mix League alum. My husband and I sing in the Alpine Chorale, we love to head to the hills, attend Rockies games and explore this great state of which I am a native.

Anything else you’d like to share:
Oh, I can’t forget to mention that I shop for Life is Good shirts online. I buy the ones with dogs and horses on them because that’s my retirement uniform. Yes, Life is Good.

Buddy Center–Bruce Chen

Bruce

What inspired you to volunteer at DFL?
I was already looking for opportunities to do some volunteer work when I heard about a friend who had fostered a dog from the Dumb Friends League. I always loved dogs and had adopted one about six years earlier, so I started thinking the League might be a good fit for me. I found out I had another friend who was also interested in helping out an at animal shelter, and we ended up signing up to volunteer together.

What’s one of the most important/surprising things you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
Sometimes, when we get a family of dogs in the shelter, you can tell that dealing with all those puppies has left the mom completely drained. One time I was cleaning a kennel with eight puppies and saw a particularly hyper one trying to play with his mom. The mom wasn’t having any of it, though; instead, she just laid down on him, and he had to wiggle his little way out.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
“Never give up; never surrender!” -Jason Nesmith

What do you do while you’re not volunteering at DFL?
I work as a software engineer for a satellite Internet company. Most of my free time is spent rock climbing, camping, playing video games and board games and hanging out with my dogs.

Anything else you’d like to share?
It’s been really amazing watching how all the volunteers and staff care for the animals in our shelter. It’s refreshing to be able to see the best side of humanity, and it makes me proud to be associated with the League.

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