San Francisco Bay Area shelters and rescue groups get by with a little help from their friends—volunteers. Bay Woof shares a few inspiring stories this month from animal welfare advocates who issue a hearty thanks to their hardworking, dedicated, unpaid helpers, the volunteers who keep their sometimes crazy and chaotic animal worlds smoothly operating.
When San Ramon resident Amy Fields isn’t working as a lead design producer/program manager during the day, she holds a series of leads for the East Bay SPCA.
Amy founded the East Bay SPCA’s Jog-a-Dog program at the Dublin Adoption Center five years ago and has grown it from a handful of volunteers to more than 20 people. As an active volunteer, Amy approached the East Bay SPCA with an idea for enrichment that bowled us over.
For humans and dogs who like to run, nothing beats a quicker path to burn off energy and balance stress, and in a shelter environment, that makes the animals more adoptable. Just like a dog at home that lives for his daily walk, shelter dogs enjoy the physical and mental stimulation, which help calm them before potential adopters come through the doors.
Amy has volunteered for the East Bay SPCA with more than 900 hours. More than 20 dogs per month now jog with volunteers from the East Bay SPCA in Dublin to nearby Emerald Glen Park and from the Oakland Adoption Center on field trips to the San Leandro Marina. Thanks to Amy, countless dogs have followed volunteers’ sneakers into city parks and on to happy homes.
—Grace Reddy, Vice President of Development, East Bay SPCA
Leonard Moon is a star volunteer for SFACC, or rather, he is the moon that changes the tides at ACC.
As a dog adoption assistant, Leonard provides thoughtful and compassionate advice to folks looking for the new love of their life while matchmaking to ensure everyone gets on well. So, of course, it was our pleasure to see this dedicated animal lover add a shelter resident, Gus, to his wonderful family. The lessons learned from this relationship show in Leonard’s counseling, as he relates his experience to other adopters about to embark on the journey, too.
Leonard brings care and attention to detail in everything he does, whether that is working with other volunteers, staff, the public, and, of course, the dogs. His kindness and gentleness make him one of our foremost “shy dog” specialists and truly a gem for our canines here at SF Animal Care & Control.
Leonard is a volunteer of many talents. Whether he is helping to set up for—or organizing—an event, building raised feral cat-feeding station prototypes, fostering kittens, providing a conference room at his place of employment for classes and presentations, providing Puppy Bowl wrangling skills, offering a much-needed ginger ale, or just hanging out talkin’ shop at SFACC, we all have stars in our eyes for Leonard Moon.
—Deb Campbell and Ariana Luchsinger, SF Animal Care & Control, Rescue Row
When Craig Hermes of San Francisco walks into the loft at Muttville, all you see is wagging tails! For the past four years, Craig has devoted every minute of his free time to helping senior dogs—and their love for him is immediately perceptible, from the happy barks for treats to the pitter patter of their paws as they follow him from room to room.
Craig began as a dog walker and quickly established himself as a mentor and leader within the volunteer corps. Within a short amount of time, he was promoted to the HQ Volunteer Lead and has been co-teaching our Dog Walking Training classes for volunteers. His guidance, support, and leadership have helped usher in hundreds of new Muttville volunteers.
Most recently, Craig has spearheaded a community outreach program that is 100 percent volunteer run. Craig’s dedication to our mission has helped us spread the word about Muttville and save more senior lives.
—Bunny Rosenberg, Volunteer & Foster Care Manager, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
We are so grateful and appreciative of our superstar volunteer, Mamta Patankar of San Jose! She has been an invaluable member of the Furry Friends Rescue team for six years.
Mamta helps us as a lead counselor for our dog adoption showcases, handling all needs at events, dog foster home, and transports of new rescues weekly from animal shelters to our vet offices. She also takes care of provisions for our rescue dogs, caring for them at our vet office, and takes new photos for our website and social media. Mamta juggles it all and does it with a smile on her face. Her dedication, reliability, and positive attitude help keep Furry Friends Rescue’s mission of saving furry lives going strong. We are so thankful to have Mamta on our FFR team!
Dedicated volunteers and foster homes are our heart and soul. Mamta embodies both heart and soul.
—Emily Verna, President, Furry Friends Rescue
Caren Sutton, a Danville resident, has volunteered over 2,000 hours at Oakland Animal Services over nine years. She has endless amounts of enthusiasm, works collaboratively, respectfully, and always with a smile.
Caren is willing to tackle any project that needs attention and is the kind of volunteer that shelter staff members dream about having on their team. She donated the refurbishment of our kennel doors in the nightdrop to provide more humane kenneling, and she volunteers twice a week in the veterinary department helping during surgery and with physical examinations. She also works with dogs that aren’t responding well to the kennel environment to help them show their full potential, and she helps oversee UC Berkeley pre-veterinary student volunteers.
Caren is kind-spirited, humble, and willing to take on any task with a solution-oriented approach. Oakland Animal Services is a better organization because she is on the volunteer team. Thank you, Caren.
—Kelly Miott, Volunteer Program Specialist, Oakland Animal Services
We would like to recognize one of our longtime volunteers, Petra Woolsey of Santa Cruz, for her unwavering support at Santa Cruz SPCA.
Petra has worked with us for five years, and she specializes in working with our reactive dogs—those dogs that react to people or other dogs while on the leash. She comes to the shelter on a daily basis working with these dogs who need the most training and TLC. She has also taken many of these dogs into her home, despite having dogs of her own to care for.
At times, she has kept foster dogs with her until an adoptive home could be found. Recently, we held a training seminar for all of our current volunteers, and Petra was nice enough to come and discuss dog reactivity with volunteers, and she taught them some quick tips for dealing with this behavior when walking our shelter dogs.
She has also taken on some of our volunteer activation days where we tour the shelter with new volunteers and go over where everything is and how to use it, showing newbies the ropes.
And Petra always comes in with a smile and some good energy to pass on to us and the animals. She is an invaluable member of our team and we are extremely grateful for everything she has done for our dogs and for the Santa Cruz SPCA!
—Brenna Ewing, Humane Education Coordinator, Santa Cruz SPCA
If you would like to send a shout-out to a special volunteer, contact Editor@BayWoof.com with Volunteer Tribute as the subject. We’re always looking for great stories about the amazing people doing great work for animal advocacy.
Main article photo by: Courtsey of submitting organizations