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Shelters, Rescues Are Grateful for Their Awesome Volunteers in 2019

Volunteers fill in the gaps so San Francisco Bay Area shelters and rescues can operate smoothly. Without the tireless commitment of these unpaid animal welfare advocates, these organizations would likely fall apart. 

this season, let those you are grateful for know how much they are appreciated. In November, Bay Woof salutes these individuals for the work they do on behalf of Bay Area animals.

Thanks for all the fostering, feeding, petting, socializing, cleaning up after, grooming, medicating, pampering, transporting, cheering, exercising, and promoting you do. Bay Woof is grateful for you.

—Judith M. Gallman, Editor

Berkeley Humane

Rick Wulff, Berkeley 

Volunteering in animal welfare can be an emotional rollercoaster — and this is especially true in a shelter hospital. It’s challenging work, and it’s not for everybody, but at Berkeley Humane, we are thrilled to celebrate our very special volunteer, Rick Wulff.

While Rick never shies away from any task, be it laundry, mopping the floors, cleaning hundreds of litter boxes, or helping adoptable animals find new loving homes at mobile adoption events, it is in the hospital where Rick has the biggest impact on saving lives.

In just the past 18 months, Rick has dedicated over 1,000 hours as a volunteer helping our licensed staff with vaccinations, medical exams, scheduling surgeries, and leading the post-surgery recovery process where animals gently wake up from anesthesia. Rick’s efforts play a key role in our ability to care for more animals each day. Berkeley Humane is fortunate to have Rick on our team. 

Joe O’Donnell, Volunteer Manager

Copper’s Dream Rescue

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Karen Luna, Santa Clara

It’s not often we find volunteers ready to jump in whenever and wherever needed within the rescue, but Karen Luna has been doing that for Copper’s Dream for over six years. What started as an occasional short-term foster quickly turned into so much more. 

Back in 2014 Karen committed to housing one of our more challenging dogs already in rescue for a year and worked with her for another year until she found the perfect family of her own. From then on, there was no looking back. 

Not only does Karen spend her evenings after work updating the website and doing other data entry tasks, she usually has a furry companion by her side. From under-age litters and expecting moms to our seniors and those with some behavior issues, Karen is always up for the challenge. When not traveling to new and exciting places, you can usually find her busy at one of our events or assisting with the arrival of some lucky pups.

—Jill Levia, Senior Director

Photo courtesy Copper’s Dream

Furry Friends Rescue

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Dan Mills, Fremont

Dan Mills has been a superhero volunteer with Furry Friends Rescue since 2011. We can always count on him to volunteer for many urgent needs. He is a core Dog Adoption Showcase lead (showcase set up, junior volunteers supervision, break down), helps at all our events (equipment and dog showcase), and transports rescue dogs from many animal shelters and our vets.

In addition, Dan and his wife, Sally, have fostered many FFR dogs, especially senior labs and have adopted a couple of them. When he retired, he puts in hundreds of miles in his own vehicles to transport many urgent dogs and cats, usually on short notice for us and other rescues/shelters from distant shelters. Dan also keeps stock of foster home supplies (food, crates, dog needs) at home to quickly provide to our new rescue dog and foster families as needed.

Dan and Sally are also a foster home for Daisy, a sanctuary dog. They have been providing for all her care and donate thousands of dollars of veterinary cost for her. Daisy was returned to FFR by her guardian in early 2018 when Daisy became very ill and her guardian could not provide for her veterinary care. Daisy has diabetes and requires prescription food, insulin injections twice daily, and other medications. The diabetes has led to cataract blindness, and the Mills’ have funded surgical lens implants. Thanks to Dan and Sally, Daisy is loved for life. They are her heroes and loving Miracle Club home. We are extremely grateful for Dan’s dedication to help save furry lives!  

—Emily Verna, President

Photo by Sachet Dube 

Grateful Dog Rescue

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Nancy Wise, Redwood City

Grateful Dogs Rescue is happy to share the story of two of our favorite volunteers, Nancy Wise and her little dog, Star. Nancy has volunteered for Grateful Dogs Rescue for eight years; she has fostered nearly 30 dogs. She’s taken easy dogs, scared dogs, shy dogs, grumpy dogs, bonded dogs, and medical dogs. 

Buttercup is one of Nancy’s most amazing cases. This little Chihuahua was so fearful that she couldn’t be picked up or held by anyone except Nancy. It took four years of love and patience, but Buttercup was adopted. Another memorable Nancy moment was when she met Little Peanut Butter Cookie who was frightened and snappy. No one had been able to gain her trust. Nancy reached down and picked her up and cradled her. Nancy gently petted her and said, “Of course, I will foster her.” 

Grateful Dogs is proud that Nancy is part of our team. 

—Kate Singleton, Vice President

Photo courtesy Grateful Dog

Hopalong & Second Chance Animal Rescue

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Rebecca Forth, San Anselmo 

Rebecca Forth is an enthusiastic volunteer who has helped shape Hopalong’s new satellite office in Mill Valley. Rebecca spends almost every weekend facilitating kitten adoptions in the office, or going out to various event sites to coordinate dog adoption events. We have Rebecca to thank for numerous kitten and dog adoptions.

Rebecca even helps out by spreading the word about Hopalong when she’s at work. Hopalong hosts puppy play dates with LucasFilm a few times per year, and Rebecca always makes sure to participate by volunteering at these events with her workplace. 

The hard work doesn’t stop there either, because Rebecca fosters Hopalong kittens and makes sure her kittens are socialized, healthy, and vetted for adoption. We look forward to working with Rebecca whenever she’s on the schedule, and are so excited that she found our organization.

—Dani Clark, Director of Volunteer Services

Photo courtesy Hopalong 

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

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Julie Stiefel, San Francisco

Julie Stiefel’s love for our senior dogs shines through in everything she does. We have been lucky to have Julie as a part of our Muttville family for many years. Julie started volunteering with the intake team once a week — in addition to her other adoption volunteer shifts — and increased her volunteering bit by bit, and now we see her almost every day.

Not only does Julie want to see the dogs get taken care of, she also genuinely looks after the staff making sure that we are all getting the help we need.

Julie never has to be asked to do anything — she always just jumps in and gets it done. Julie is one of the most hard-working volunteers that Muttville has and is truly the glue that keeps us together. Even if we ask her to take a day off, she shows up just in case we need help. 

Having Julie around keeps everyone laughing.

—Jennifer Coudron, Mutt Manager

Photo courtesy Muttville

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA 

Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

PHS & SPCA’s Auxiliary

Since 1988, the dedicated members of our Auxiliary have worked year-round to put together our flagship fundraising event, A Home for the Holidays gala ball and auction.

Through regular meetings and positive community engagement, the Auxiliary plays an incredibly important role in raising both funds and awareness for the neediest animals in our shelter. 

In total, this amazing group has raised over $3,000,000 for our Hope Program, a special fund which allows us to treat and find homes for animals who are brought to us needing above-and-beyond medical or behavioral care. 

I am proud to honor our current Auxiliary members and their many predecessors for all of the hard work that they do for our shelter animals and community as a whole.

—Buffy Martin Tarbox, Communications Manager

Photo courtesy PHS & SPCA 

Pets In Need

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Lori Skender, Belmont

While Lori Skender’s most adoring admirers are the once-shy pups she has transformed with her patience and loving attention, the Pets In Need staff is also grateful for her dedication and willingness to help with even small tasks.

Lori has been volunteering since 2017 and spends 10 hours per week providing our canines with in-kennel TLC and walks. She’s also an asset to our event and humane education teams. Lori regularly accompanies staff on promotional visits to schools and corporate events, where her positive attitude and passion for Pets In Need’s mission helps us recruit new adopters, volunteers, and donors. 

Lori inspires our staff and her fellow volunteers with her passion and work ethic. If there were more individuals like Lori, the world would be a better place for animals and people.

—Jacqueline Stewart, Development Manager

Photo of Lori and former Pets In Need dog Wesley courtesy Pets In Need

Rocket Dog Rescue

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Andrew and Valerie Louie, San Francisco

Volunteers come and go. When we’re lucky, we get one that sticks with us for a while. Andrew and Valerie are a little different, though, because Andrew has been volunteering since he was a baby.

Val and Andrew specialized in all the scared nervous small dogs — Chihuahuas that couldn’t be handled; the little guys would be shaking and afraid except for some magical connection they all seemed to have with then-baby Andrew. At any given time, you could glance over and see no less than four Chihuahuas curled up in Andrew’s lap.

And over the many years and hundreds of foster dogs, that has never changed. Whether it be a sickly pit bull, a very elderly dog, or the feral pups rescued from puppy mills, Andrew has always offered them warmth and a feeling of calm safety.

Andrew learned about the terrible hardships these animals have had to face and has gone on many a long rescue ride to help Rocket Dog, including a memorable drive to Bakersfield to save 36 animals. His only concerns was to stop at a McDonald’s in search of the one happy meal toy he was lacking.

There he was surrounded by crates — so many newly rescued dogs, still scared but grateful; they had been through so much. And Andrew, on the long ride home, quietly talking to them all, happy meal toy in his hand, and yet another terrified small dog peacefully sleeping on his lap.

As the years went on, most kids would move on to other things, but Andrew has remained consistent in his dedication to helping this organization and his mom, Val, and in making sure that the animals get the chance they need to shine and to live a big huge love filled life. 

—Pali Boucher, Founder/President

Photo courtesy Rocket Dog Rescue 

Editor note: The attribution on the above item was incorrect and has been modified.

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter 

Sally Wing, Boulder Creek

Sally Wing has been volunteering with Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter for over 12 years. It is evident from the smile on her face when she walks into the shelter what a down-to-earth and genuine person she is.

As a volunteer, Sally wears many different hats. In addition to taking dogs out for much-needed exercise and TLC time, she runs one of the small dog playgroups, which provides valuable socialization and exercise time for the dogs. She sits on our volunteer training team, guiding new volunteers in our Dog TLC program, always with a smile on her face and a warm welcome to volunteering for the Shelter. 

Sally’s profession by trade is a graphic designer. She uses these skills to design all of the shelter’s marketing and education materials, including the shelter’s logo, the initial development, and new redesign of the shelter’s website, all pro-bono and all on her own time. With limited resources and budgets, this work is crucial and assists the shelter by keeping the shelter’s promotional materials vibrant, current, and impactful. 

Sally also sits on the board of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Foundation and creates its promotional material and website. Everyone loves to work with Sally. Whether designing materials, training new people, or romping around with dogs in a play yard, she is a special member of the shelter community, and we are lucky to have her.

—Amy Gerome, Volunteer Coordinator

This information above appeared in the 2018 volunteer salute and was reprinted erroneously in the November issue. Look for the 2019 volunteers in the December issue. After that issue, this article will be modified so the correct entry appears here.

San Francisco Animal Care & Control

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Jessica McEntee, San Francisco

Jessica McEntee came into our lives in 2017 and quickly became one of those indispensable where-have-you-been–all-our-lives type of volunteer who makes a huge difference for the dogs at SF Animal Care & Control.

 It’s immediately obvious that Jessica (Jess) is smitten with every dog she interacts with, and she has that special knack of pointing out each dog’s unique personality so that everyone else falls in love, too. 

She walks the dogs, participates in play groups, takes dogs on field trips and overnight visits, and is now helping with the ACC’s custody dog program, Fetch. Jess spent 800 hours at ACC in 2018 and is on track to match that in 2019. Her wonderfully silly ideas have resulted in some amazing photos (Malcolm the pittie on a surfboard? Yes, please!)

Jess brightens the days of the dogs and the people at ACC, and we’re lucky that she chose to volunteer with us.

—Deb Campbell, Volunteer / Outreach Coordinator

Photo courtesy SF ACC

San Francisco SPCA

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Robin Berman, San Francisco

Robin Berman began her volunteering with the San Francisco SPCA in 2017, and since then, she has spent nearly 600 hours working with our dogs and cats.

Robin’s special love is working with puppies. Several times a week, she comes to the shelter to meet new puppies, give them some social time, and then plunks them in a puppy carrier, which she straps to her chest and takes them out in to see the world, safely and comfortably. In fact, Robin donated our first wearable puppy carrier. The carriers have a special place for the puppy’s taile to poke through, and those tails are often keeping time to Robin’s steps.

When not working with the wee ones, Robin is seen at least twice a week helping our shelter medicine team to wash ears, swab throats, and administer pills and drops. Her enthusiasm and joie de vivre for all animals is infectious. Everyone feels better when Robin is here.

—Krista Maloney, Communications and Community Engagement Manager

Photo courtesy SF SPCA

Tri-Valley Animal Rescue

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Alayna Ilmain, San Ramon, and Cindy Churchill, Livermore

Meet Cindy Churchill and Alayna Ilmain, Tri-Valley Animal Rescue’s Dynamic Duo shelter volunteers. Cindy, TVAR’s shelter dog program coordinator, and Alayna, TVAR’s shelter cat program coordinator, devote endless hours at the East County Animal Shelter in Dublin. They are at the shelter almost every day. They and TVAR’s other amazing shelter volunteers ensure every animal is taken out and socialized. Dogs get a walk and training, and the cats have playtime. Cindy and Alayna get to know these animals well and provide a wealth of information for prospective adopters, working tirelessly to find these deserving animals their forever homes. They also champion the animals that need special medical care and attention. Because of volunteers like Cindy and Alayna, TVAR can help save over 1,000 animals every year.  The shelter’s website recognizes TVAR, saying, “TVAR has proven to be an invaluable asset to the shelter by assisting with the fostering and adoption of hundreds of animals every year.” Thank you, Cindy and Alayna, for your wonderful service.

—Sue James, Member, Board of Directors, TVAR, and Foster Dog Program Coordinator, TVAR 

Photo Courtesy TVAR

Valley Humane Society

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Gary Antone, Livermore

Gary Antone has been making a difference in the lives of pets as a Valley Humane Society volunteer since 2012. As the lead volunteer for AniMeals pet food pantry, Gary organizes and delivers more than 120,000 meals of dog and cat food each year, handing it off it bag by bag, can by can to pet guardians in the community who are struggling financially and need help to keep their beloved animals in their home. 

Gary also visits Valley Humane’s adoption center every week and volunteers his time enriching the lives of cats and kittens awaiting adoption. 

We feel fortunate to have this dedicated individual on our team.

—Melissa Adkins, Marketing Communications Manager

Photo Courtesy Valley Humane

Bay Woof contacted many San Francisco Bay Area shelters and rescues, inviting them to participate in honoring volunteers. If Bay Woof somehow missed you and your organization, you can send in volunteer tributes throughout the year, and we’ll publish them as we can.