|We could not do the important work of this organization without our amazing volunteers. Every week this month we highlight some of the inspirational activities of our volunteers from across the organization.
1) Dixie Bee Conner & Paul Shimer
Dixie Bee and Paul have been non-stop foster parents for 16 years. They foster an average of 50 kittens every year and they've worked out the space in their home to allow them to foster two litters simultaneously.
They are avid supporters of the SF SPCA and you'll see them every year on a weekly basis at the Holiday Windows adoption event. Our foster kittens are so lucky to have people like Dixie Bee and Paul to take them home and care for them!
2) The Tuesday Morning Crew: Ron Schroth and Elizabeth Settel
Dogs love consistency. And our early morning Tuesday crew of Ron Schroth and Elizabeth Settel define consistency. Every Tuesday morning at 7:30AM, almost like clockwork, they arrive at the San Francisco SPCA, and the housebroken dogs can breathe a sigh of relief. The dogs might not get out until late morning on some rainy Thursday, but that is never true on Tuesday. Rain or shine, the morning crew is here to walk the dogs, greet the day, and say hello to all us slackers who arrive any time after 8:00.
Elizabeth is a long-time volunteer of almost sixteen years. In addition to her Tuesday shift, she's a dedicated member of the puppy team, and she's always willing to take a shy dog on a foster sleepover for confidence building (and so far, she's resisted the urge not to bring them back). Ron is a relative newcomer, having started in April 2009, but he just keeps walking the big dogs and building up hundreds of volunteer hours in the process.
If the dogs here could read a calendar, they would always sleep well on Monday nights.
3) Diane Parker
AAT Administrative Volunteer Extraordinaire, a.k.a. Diane Parker, has been a member of the AAT office for four years, playing a crucial role in AAT's development and growth. Just consider when she started working with us she helped schedule about 100 volunteers and now she works with 250 teams visiting 150+ facilities!
In addition to working with AAT, you'll also see her in Shelter Medicine "squeezing puppies" as she likes to say—which translates to lots of love and attention for dogs not yet ready for adoption. We love our gal from "across the pond" and couldn't do it without her!
4) John "Rocky" Rockwell
Whenever the Community Cats Program receives a call about a mom and kittens in the neighborhood our first thought is "call Rocky!" He is the go-to-guy for trapping feral moms and their kittens and we would be at quite a disadvantage without him. When a call is put out to the feral cat volunteers for assistance with kittens Rocky is always the first to respond. With his dedication and knowledge we are often times able to get feral kittens when they are young enough to be socialized and adopted. Additionally, we are able to spay the mother to prevent further unwanted litters. Rocky has a knack for wooing the ladies, whether it's convincing a member of the public to let him crawl around under their house looking for the cats or using his experience and ingenuity to get the mom and kittens into the trap! Rocky is a valuable part of both the SF SPCA Community Cats team and the San Francisco Community.
5) Dale Leininger and LeighAnn Wendling
Together with Shari, Christine, Leslie and Steve P., they two Volunteer Mentors keep the Purr Posse (i.e. the Shelter- Medicine cat team) running, volunteers feeling supported and the cats not quite ready for the adoption floor feeling loved. Not a single volunteer joins the Purr Posse without being taught Shelter Medicine by either LeighAnn or Shari. If you have visited a cat in LRC, you knew which order to do so because of a genius idea by Dale to make it "As easy as 1, 2, 3". If you used a toy, it was probably cleaned by the solution that they changed. If you hung a visit tag, it has been designed by them (although likely laminated by Judy—thanks, Judy!). If you entered a room it is has likely been cleaned and organized by them. If you played with a ping-pong ball, it was likely purchased by Dale. If you were given important information about the health status of a cat, it's because they went above and beyond to find out from (sometimes various) staff members what the status was. We all contribute to the LRC, but there isn't a single part of it that wasn't touched by these two dedicated volunteers. We couldn't do it without them.
6) Lindell Bruce with Zoe
Dedicated, insightful, passionate—Lindell is an all-around great volunteer! He and Zoe, a 9-year-old terrier mix, are a steadfast team at St. Luke's, Broderick Street and On Lok Mission. Lindell also serves as an Observation-Mentor Volunteer—helping new teams learn the ropes—and regularly participates in our workshops and numerous AAT events.
Lindell truly cares about his fellow volunteers; he often says that he especially loves coming to our parties to see the teams he worked with in the beginning and how much they've grown in the programs. We are lucky to have Lindell and Zoe on our team!
7) Gina Lee
Thirteen is a lucky number here at the San Francisco SPCA, because that's how long Gina Lee has been a volunteer. She quickly became one of the most knowledgeable and skilled dog volunteers, bringing rude dogs under control, shy dogs out of their shell, and reactive dogs to a more civilized understanding of their canine counterparts. And because she couldn't take care of every one of our dogs on her own, she joined the mentor program and started teaching classes for new volunteers. During the last six months alone, she's taught 13 class sessions (there's that number again) and, more than 100 volunteers were introduced by her to how dogs learn and why they do what they do. For thirteen years, Gina has carved at least three hours out of her Saturdays for the dogs and volunteers of the SPCA, but numbers alone don't tell the whole story. Her enthusiastic, supportive, passionate presence have made volunteering at the SPCA an enjoyable experience for everyone who's path she's crossed. Thousands of dogs have lived better lives because of what she's done and what she's taught.