Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle and Tyler Chaffin

Michelle and Tyler Chaffin with their dogs

by Mary Janak

Love makes the world go round … and the dynamic duo mother-and-son volunteer team, Michelle and Tyler Chaffin, love making Dumb Friends League dogs’ worlds spin better every Wednesday after school.

“We started Dog Enrichment last March,” Michelle said. It was a new milestone, because each of them was already volunteering with the League.

Michelle started 17 years ago as a kennel technician and dog walker. An Xtreme Team volunteer with more than 2,200 hours logged, she’s since worked in Development (data entry), Community Relations (editing and cataloging “Happy Tails” stories of love), and at basically every special event the League has offered over the years.

“I love working with the wonderful staff, learning new software platforms and understanding more about the behind-the-scenes operations of this amazing organization,” Michelle says. She emphasizes that no job is too menial. “Every hour volunteers spend stuffing envelopes, filing, or cleaning up is one less hour the League has to pay for that task.”

“Our family has a long history of volunteerism,” Michelle continued. Michelle also volunteers at her kids’ middle school and as Cookie Mom for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Husband Dave is active in Boy Scouts, and Tyler has been doing service projects since age eight. As soon as he turned 12, Tyler asked to join League’s Junior Volunteer Club. He started in February 2015; then he volunteered at the Furry Scurry.

“When team volunteering opened for those under 16, we jumped at the chance,” Michelle said. “Dog Enrichment was Tyler’s choice.”

What do they like most about it? “Working with my son and getting to spend more hands-on time with the dogs,” Michelle says; and Tyler likes “playing with the dogs and helping them adjust to their new surroundings.”

Tyler, 14, is a freshman at Cherry Creek High School and a Boy Scout “working on reaching Eagle next year.” Tyler also does parkour (Google it!) for fun.

Michelle runs her own bookkeeping business and enjoys its flexibility. She loves going to concerts, Bronco games, and playing games with her family.

Tyler probably speaks for many volunteers and League staff when he says, “The job can be really difficult at times, but it is totally worth it! I get inspired helping the dogs find a good home.”

The Chaffin family also includes a 12-year-old daughter (eager for her chance to work at the League) and two Dumb Friends alumni pups: Briscoe, a 4-year-old border collie mix and Leia, a 2-year-old boxer mix. Love and laughter go together and these two dogs provide plenty of both.

In volunteering together, Michelle says, “I’ve learned how mature and responsible Tyler has become;” and Tyler says he’s continuing to learn more and more about how to take care of these amazing animals.

“I strongly encourage team volunteering,” Michelle says. “It’s a lot of fun and a great way to spend quality time with your teenager.”

Tyler agrees—it’s a great way to spend quality time—with your parent!

All the dogs agree, too!

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