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Volunteer Spotlight: Winter 2019

Gayle Parsons- Buddy Center

Gayle

What inspired you to volunteer at DLF?
I’ve always loved animals and wanted to give back to my community in some way. We adopted our first two dogs from the Quebec Street Shelter, and our third came to us from Larimer County. It seemed a natural progression to volunteer with the organization that had given us so much joy.

What’s one of the most important/surprising things you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
I have learned how intuitive animals are and how easily they can pick up on our feelings and moods. I’ve also become better at reading their postures and gestures. I try to be mindful of others (including the animals I interact with) and leave a small footprint so to speak.

What do you do while you’re not volunteering at DFL?
I work for United Airlines. Besides my “main” job as a flight attendant working international routes out of my base in San Francisco, I also spend time as an instructor (both for my peers during their annual emergency training and for new-hire flight attendants during their initial training program in Houston). I love wearing both hats and am grateful that I can do both! The training hat has also allowed me to do a little training with DFL and am happy to help train volunteers transition to the dog walking position at the Buddy Center. However, if I could wish for one superpower, it would be to have the ability to be in multiple places at the same time! There is just not enough time in the day to accomplish all that I want to accomplish!

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?
I love my time at the shelter walking dogs, being part of the transfer team and welcoming others to our fantastic team of volunteers down at the Buddy Center. If I can make a difference by spending time with one dog and helping it find its forever home that makes all of the efforts worthwhile. I have met incredibly passionate, dedicated and compassionate volunteers who continue to inspire me. That’s why I continue to come back.

Susan Wones- Foster Parent

Susan

What inspired you to volunteer at DLF?
I actually went to the League to adopt a kitten and was looking for a tuxedo. I met a volunteer named Pat Bird (you might have heard of her) and she showed me two tuxedos. We continued to visit, and I said that I was having a hard time deciding which one I want. Pat told me that “two aren’t any more trouble than one.” Needless to say, she talked me into both adorable babies. Pat also, during our wonderful time together, talked me into volunteering. So, it’s all Pat’s fault I started volunteering, and I thank her very much. I have known about the League since it was on Santa Fe, and I adopted my first kitten from this location and our first family dog. The location of the Quebec Street Shelter was nothing but a field back then.

What’s one of the most important/surprising thing you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
If you had told me when I started volunteering I would eventually be giving IV Fluids and shots to animals I would have laughed at you. Carol, the foster supervisor at the time, wanted to teach me to give the animals in the Foster department shots and keep them up to date while in our care. She also taught me how to give IV fluids and help medicate the animals.

What do you do when not volunteering at DFL:
I have two Belgian Tervurens dogs that are my pride and joy. I have enjoyed participating in herding, showing and agility with them. They are a hand full, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I currently only have one tuxedo cat, Lady, who my dog Belle adopted. I think she told Lady to act scared because, her being a Tuxedo, I would then feel sorry for her and keep her after fostering. Two weeks after adopting her I looked at Belle and was like “what is between your legs?” and it was Lady curled up! Belle and Dash love the babies I bring home and want to help with those little kittens. I love Disney and enjoy things around Disney, unfortunately can’t go to the park as much as I would like. I happened to walk past a sewing store and saw Disney in the window. I walked in and asked what Disney has to do with sewing. I walked out with a sewing/embroidery machine. Dang that mouse. After a few years and an upgrade, I decided I needed to do more than just embroidery Disney so I’m learning how to do quilting, and it is very relaxing after a day of working.

Anything else to share:
I have made so many wonderful friends at the League. The staff and volunteers are so wonderful, and the care and compassion they give to the animals is so rewarding.

Nancy Fornaro- Quebec Street Shelter

Nancy

What inspired you to volunteer at DFL?
I retired from the IT industry after 25 years and thought I should find a new rhythm in my life. I remember sitting at that desk and thinking that my ideal job would entail me petting and helping animals all day long. So DFL became a part of my new life and 14 years later, I’m still here, still learning new animal-handling skills but, most importantly spending time with the animals themselves. I feel I have the best of both worlds at DFL, working with behavior cats at the Quebec Street Shelterand dog transfers at the Buddy Center.

What’s one of the most important/surprising thing(s) you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering:
One of things I’ve learned at DFL is that the simplest things count when these animals are here at the shelters. The simple act of adding cozy boxes to frightened cats’ kennels so they can hide and feel safe or watching a scared dog begin to calm down at the sound of a soft voice and slowly start to wag a tail, is everything.

Favorite Quote:
“Drive fast, take chances!”

What do you do while you’re not volunteering at the DFL?
I guess I could call myself a struggling artist, I love to do realistic colored pencil drawings when I can carve out the time. In the summer and fall my husband and I love to escape to our cabin in the mountains and enjoy Colorado’s beauty. We’ll take the Harley out for a spin with friends and often travel to visit family in Florida and Texas.

Anything else you’d like to share:
Being part of the DFL family has been an amazing experience for me. I’ve gained friends here who share the same passion I do for animal welfare. The staff and volunteers are so dedicated and so willing to go that extra mile. I was also adopted by two amazing cats who met me at DFL. These kitties bring so much joy to our lives. There’s nothing like reading a good book with your cats in your lap.

Kimber Morgan– Harmony Equine Center

Kimber

What inspired you to volunteer at DFL?
I decided to volunteer at Harmony after my youngest started school. I have always admired horses from afar and thought volunteering would be a good way to learn more and be surrounded by them!

What’s one of the most important/surprising things you’ve learned volunteering OR what’s the funniest thing that has happened while volunteering?
I have learned so much about horses and ranch life during the three years I have been volunteering. On my very first day, I was mucking a pasture with a staff member and she had gone to a meeting toward the end of my shift, so I was going to finish up and bring the gator back to the barn. After she left, I realized I would have to drive in reverse the entire length of the alley we were working in. I tried many times and failed! I had to walk back to the barn and was sure that I wouldn’t be asked back (and knew the horses were laughing at me). The next time I came in, I mentioned to Kate (one of the staff members) that I couldn’t drive very well in reverse. She took the time to help me out and gave me good advice. Now I love driving the gator forwards and backwards. Three years later I help train new volunteers and love to make them feel at home.

Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to share?
“Be Yourself, Everyone Else is taken.” -Oscar Wilde

What do you do while you’re not volunteering at DFL?
When I am not volunteering at Harmony, I enjoy spending time with my daughters–Paige 16 and Brooke 8–and husband, Rich. We like to hike, travel, cook and read. We fostered kittens for DFL this summer and ended up “foster failing” after working with kitten #7, Pumpkin. We now have two cats and a very patient 12-year-old yellow lab. I also tutor English as a Second Language (ESL) students and really like helping people get used to American culture and the English language.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I feel very lucky to get to work with my team on Tuesday mornings. We have a lot of fun, work hard together, but always have time to laugh and catch up. I also really respect the staff and trainers. It’s nice to see people using their gifts in life to help these horses.

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