This year’s winners of the Volunteer Award of Excellence are:
Since 2015, Mud Bay has been honored to recognize the efforts of animal welfare volunteers in the Pacific Northwest for their lifesaving work on behalf of animals in need. Each year, we invite all of our animal welfare partners to nominate one volunteer who truly embodies the best of volunteers at their organization.
Winners of the Volunteer Award of Excellence receive a $1,000 cash prize, and Mud Bay will also donate $1,000 to their organization.
New this year, we have divided nominations into three categories for each state based on their organization’s number of social media followers. We’re inviting everyone to vote for one person per category—the person with the highest number of votes in each category will win the award. We hope this change will give more animal welfare organizations—regardless of their size—a chance to be recognized. It also gives you—the voters—the opportunity to vote for three amazing volunteers in each state, instead of one!
Thank you to all of our inspiring 2020 nominees! You make the Pacific Northwest a better place to live with your kindness and generosity to animals.
Small Oregon Animal Welfare Organizations
Marion County Dog Services
Cheryl became a volunteer at Marion County Dog Services in July 2018. In 2019, she gave 503 hours as a foster parent (fostered 4 dogs), adoption ambassador, outreach helper, and she also creates our lobby’s displays. Cheryl’s cheerful personality, smile, customer service, humor, and her engagement with the staff and customers are so appreciated. In one week she will take on all the roles; foster a dog, create the lobby board, and be in the shelter matching potential adopters to shelter dogs. Cheryl is a solid communicator, letting staff know potential obstacles in the way of an adoption, details about her foster dogs, and being honest with staff when she is unsure of how to handle a situation. The shelter can be a stressful place to work, yet Cheryl’s humor, welcoming smile, and her friendly, open personality puts the staff at ease when we need it the most.
House of Dreams
Starting off volunteer cat-herding in 2008 with House of Dreams, Deborah contributed a lion’s share of construction work getting the current shelter, a 1911 bungalow, ready for senior and health-challenged feline residents, practically living onsite. Since 2018, on top of being the current Board President and Plant Sale Co-chair, Deborah sews heaps and heaps of sachets with lavender from her garden to help raise funds for our all-volunteer shelter. During extreme weather events, Deborah is the one watching over the shelter residents. Don’t let Deborah’s calm and soft-spoken demeanor fool you – she’s a dynamo! Deborah washes the beds, trains volunteers, socializes with the residents, sews, calls the plumber, organizes fundraisers, and is the fuzzy heart and soul of HoD. This top cat volunteers over 85 hours a month.
Animal Aid Inc.
Anne has dedicated 17 years and counting to volunteering at Animal Aid. Around the shelter, we know her as a cat foster, a cat caregiver, an adoption counselor, a donor, and of course, an animal lover. From 2004-2005, Anne fostered 37 cats/kittens for us, all while also fostering for another organization and having several adopted cats of her own! At the shelter, Anne’s weekly caregiving responsibilities grew into her current role as the shift lead who feeds the cats, gives medications, and supervises the other volunteers. She also volunteers monthly as an adoption counselor, and there have been numerous occasions where past adopters have specifically mentioned meeting Anne and what a kind and thoughtful person she is. From shelter visitors to her fellow volunteers, Anne has made a lasting impression at Animal Aid through her compassionate heart and desire to help in any way she can. We can’t thank her enough for keeping the kibble bowls filled, being a matchmaker for so many happy families, and her years of service.
Dr. Pete Miller
When Dr. Pete Miller was ready to retire from his veterinary practice on the Oregon coast, he contacted PAW Team to offer his time. PAW Team is a nonprofit providing free veterinary care and pet supplies to the pets of people experiencing houselessness or extreme poverty. Dr. Miller drives to Portland every other week to provide care to some of nearly 2,000 patients we see per year. Since his first shift in early 2019, Dr. Miller has contributed over 125 hours seeing patients in clinic, and countless more responding to consults from home. His thoroughness with patients and gentle approach with their owners has made him a favorite among many of our regular clients. He is often joined by his granddaughter, who works as a vet assistant, and the pair have become an essential part of our team. We are so inspired by Dr. Miller’s lifelong commitment to animal welfare, his dedication to the pets in our community, and his compassion for the people that love them the most.
Robyn Drakeford Wonser
Felines First Rescue
Robyn started her volunteering journey with us two years ago during a time when FFR was facing unique, extremely overwhelming challenges as a small, foster-based rescue. Robyn saw our plethora of needs, brought her “CAT-do attitude,” then created her own volunteer position doing what she could, when she could. Whether it is driving kitties to veterinary appointments, visiting adoption locations, delivering supplies to foster homes, or collecting donations and redemption recycling, she has clocked over 3500 miles from July 2018 to July 2020 to help homeless kitties. Robyn is willing and gives it her all. With the COVID pandemic changing our summer plans, Robyn figured out how to use her passion and experience singing with the Portland Peace Choir by instead singing virtually to foster kitties for enrichment. She continues to pick-up recycling for our #Cans4Cats program, collecting over 350 blue bags to date! We truly believe #ItTakesAVillage to rescue, and we are so grateful Robyn is part of our village!
Street Dog Hero
Tori has volunteered for SDH for three years and has helped hundreds of dogs from all over the world. She drives dogs from Seattle to Portland to Bend multiple times each month and has fostered dozens of harder case dogs, she collects crates from airports when dogs arrive; washes, stores them and flies them back to Mexico to be used again, and she leads adoption events. Tori flew to India and Albania and brought back 20+ dogs, and she flies to Mexico twice a month and has flown back hundreds of dogs. At our spay/neuter clinics in Mexico Tori leads outreach in the community, picking up and bringing in family dogs to the clinics who couldn’t otherwise get there. When COVID hit, flights and clinics were cancelled but she didn’t stop. Tori drove three times a week for over two months from Portland to Tijuana and back with a van load of dogs each time. All these numbers can’t begin to capture Tori’s passion and commitment to SDH’s mission. Her enthusiasm, confidence, can-do attitude and team approach makes her an indispensable part of SDH. She is our hero!
Medium Oregon Animal Welfare Organizations
Juanita Jimenez and Isis Sprague
Cat Adoption Team
Three years ago, Juanita and her daughter Isis walked through CAT’s doors. Since then, this mother-daughter duo has made a difference for hundreds of cats, each with her own talents. Juanita’s excellent relationship skills help cats and people alike. After completing adoption counselor training in record time, she quickly became a fixture at the shelter – volunteering most Saturdays from open to close! With her wealth of cat knowledge, she assists adopters and also mentors other volunteers. She’s a terrific matchmaker whose caring support helps families build strong connections with their new pets. When the site coordinator position opened at one of our offsite adoption centers, Juanita also stepped in to fill that volunteer role. Now, she manages the center’s volunteer team and is the liaison between the shelter and store management. Isis has a natural talent for helping shy, scared felines adjust to shelter life. She completed behavior modification training so she could take these skills to the next level and help some of our most difficult felines. Together, Juanita and Isis are making a huge impact for homeless cats!
Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon
Roz’s impact as a volunteer is hard to summarize in words. She is a remarkably compassionate and generous person who has dedicated 22 years to helping improve the lives of cats in our community. She is eager to help wherever she is needed, and over the years she has volunteered in almost every aspect of the organization, ranging from answering phones and trapping cats for spay/neuter clinics to helping coordinate fellow volunteers and serving on the FCCO board of directors! In most recent years, Roz has dedicated much of her time to outreach events to help educate the community about FCCO’s mission and spay/neuter programs and has spent countless hours planning and organizing our yearly Furball fundraising event. When you want something done, and done right, Roz is the go-to person. Through all of her hours of hard work, Roz continues to be a great ambassador for both FCCO and cats in our community. We are proud to nominate Roz for this award and hope you will help recognize her commitment with your vote.
West Columbia Gorge Humane Society
Debby Hyde-Sato defines “Can-Do Volunteer.” Debby joined WCGHS in 2013 and has volunteered over 3,000 hours since then. She proudly volunteers for adoption and community events, TICA International Cat Shows, and Pop Cats, just to name a few. Debby's truest passion is fostering. She and her husband, Doug, have fostered four pregnant cats, over one hundred kittens, and two dogs. Special needs pets are very dear to her. She happily shares memories of taking Tornado, a Yorkie with neurological issues, to the beach. A big black cat named Skinny Tail, who had surgery for a badly infected broken jaw and spent many hours tube feeding and nursed him to an amazing recovery. Or Lucy, an eight-week-old kitten, who required life-saving surgery to repair injuries she had endured since she was three days old. Thanks to Debby, and volunteers like her, for making our life-saving work possible! Debby truly inspires us all with her “I Can Do That” enthusiasm and dedication.
Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter
Florence wakes before dawn to commute into downtown Portland where she works full time. After assisting people all day, she’s not done. Florence comes to our shelter, where she has been serving for over 13 years, to provide training and enrichment to dogs in need. Yet Florence doesn’t stop there. Florence can also be found throughout the Portland Metro region doing therapy work with her dogs, including library Read to Dogs programs, as well as doing even more volunteer work with a myriad of other organizations that are truly lucky to have her on their team. More recently, Florence selflessly volunteered to provide a warm welcome and ensure COVID safety guidelines are met as guests enter our shelter. This exemplifies her commitment to be there not just for the warm and fuzzies of working with animals, but to helping people, too! We may never understand where she finds the energy, but we know for sure that Florence is a Volunteer of Excellence.
Wildwood Farm Sanctuary
Michelle has been a volunteer for more than six years and is a jack of all trades. She is our vice president on our all-volunteer board, communications and media director, article writer, assists with fundraising, writing policies to help us prepare for accreditation, leading our building projects at the sanctuary, and more. Michelle is passionate about the lives of all animals and spends her time between many different animal welfare organizations from pets to wildlife and farm animals, as well as lobbies at the capital for animal welfare. She has taken our organization from a simple start up rescue to a well-organized, efficient and effective farm animal advocacy group. Michelle has dedicated countless hours to our organization and its mission, and it would not be the same if it were not for her commitment and tireless work to help make us the best we can be.
Multnomah County Animal Services
Paula plays a pivotal role to support programs at Multnomah County Animal Services by transporting animals to rescues and adoption partners, supporting spay and neuter surgeries, fostering kittens, geriatric, and FeLV positive cats. Paula leads with her heart and steps up for those tougher foster placements.“Paula is always up for anything you ask of her, between fostering, transporting animals, and she's always willing to take on the hard ones. She's so dependable and quick to respond to any shelter needs. She has a heart of gold and is an amazing asset to MCAS!" says staff member, Jodi L.
Large Oregon Animal Welfare Organizations
Pacific Pug Rescue
Alana works tirelessly as the Vice President, Adoption Coordinator and Intake Coordinator for Pacific Pug Rescue. She has an amazing ability to line up pugs coming into the rescue with the appropriate foster home, working with the vets as we get the pugs to an adoptable state and pairing the pugs with approved applicants. She has the pugs’ best interest in mind and ALWAYS has the 'can do' attitude that you appreciate so much about a volunteer.
Puplandia Dog Rescue
There is no greater value than to be blessed with a volunteer who is honest, hardworking and selfless. These are attributes that describe Trinity to the core. She is a person who is drawn to give where it is needed with limitless generosity and kindness. She embodies the spirit of compassion and not only gives her time and space, but also hope to the children and dogs lucky enough to have her as their foster parent. She has made a beautiful impact on countless hearts and deserves to be celebrated for her daily choice to make a difference in the lives she touches.
Humane Society for Southwest Washington
Rosie's contributions to the animals of HSSW are many! They have included dog walking and fostering, event support, and much more. Rosie's biggest impact at the shelter is her professional photography of adoptable animals. Rosie leads a team of volunteers who work their magic to always catch the best side of even the shyest dogs, cats, and rabbits. In her more than seven years of volunteering at HSSW, she has given nearly 3,000 hours to the animals and has fostered more than 20 dogs and puppies. As a member of our skilled team of volunteers working in Blue Pod, Rosie has proven herself to be an adept “small dog whisperer” employing her endless patience to win over even the shyest little dogs. Rosie always brings a smile and positive attitude; we call her Rosie Star – because that’s exactly what she is to the animals and people of HSSW. Thank you, Rosie!
Oregon Dog Rescue
One amazing volunteer really shines bright and deserves recognition for pouring her heart and soul into the dogs. Her name is Rita Copping and we've nicknamed her the “midwife” of our rescue. Rita is dedicated beyond measure to these sweet dogs and her specialty is providing the best care to mama dogs that arrive to our shelter. She has been fostering these pregnant moms and caring for their puppies in her home since 2012. She spent her past birthday in June celebrating her special day by birthing six puppies to a sweet Chihuahua/Terrier mix named Vera. Over the course of eight years, Rita has welcomed countless dogs into her home including 30 mom dogs plus their babies. We think the world of Rita and know you will too!
Willamette Humane Society
Violet is one of our most dedicated Volunteer Dog Walkers. Until COVID-19, she was on the Thursday noon shift for many years and was always dependable. She specializes in helping small scared dogs, and even though she is a small woman, Violet also takes on large and older dogs. She has provided over 1,000 hours of service, helping countless dogs along the way. No matter the weather, cold rain or hot sun, she is always on time and ready to go for her shift. She just keeps going no matter what and is often one of our crucial holiday shift volunteers. After the dog walking shift, Violet usually distributes special enrichment treats to dogs working with our Animal Care staff. She is easy going, pleasant to be around, and just generally a nice person. She has been an example for all of us that being over 80 does not mean we have to stop volunteering, and that perhaps staying active and engaged is a way to stay “youngish” and keep going.
Oregon Humane Society
Joanne began volunteering at OHS in 2008 and quickly established her reputation as an a-meow-zing volunteer. Her specialty is working in the Cattery where she assists staff by helping take care of kitties of all ages. Joanne also fosters cats, including some of our most fragile kittens (which often necessitate middle-of-the-night life and death runs to the emergency clinic). Joanne has done 11,288 foster hours and overall has donated 29,000 hours to OHS! Her commitment extends to the Holman Medical Center at OHS, where she prepares surgical packs and assists during Spay & Save events for owned pets in our community. Joanne is also known as the “laundry angel” around OHS, she is our main laundry devotee and it is something she really loves to do. She comes at least five days a week and sometimes stays up to 8 hours a day! Joanne also helps out in Admissions, Customer Care, Second Chance and mentors new cat volunteers. Her energy and dedication are boundless, much to the joy of every staff member and volunteer she works with at OHS!
Small Washington Animal Welfare Organizations
Claudia & Dwayne Seaver
Kindred Souls Foundation
Claudia and Dwayne have provided foster and hospice care to Kindred Souls Foundation animals for 14 years. They have loved 31 cats and dogs who went on to find forever homes or who peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge. Caring for terminally ill pets absorbs physical and emotional energy beyond traditional fostering, and they have embraced this pain in order to give animals in need a safe, comfortable, and loving home in which to live out their lives. The couple works closely with doctors and specialists to ensure they understand each medical condition. Claudia and Dwayne do not shy away from any challenge. They’ve given SubQ fluids, injections, medications, made special diets, monitored seizures, provided physical therapy, and accommodated blind and deaf animals. As if that wasn’t enough, every year they contribute their time networking, educating, transporting, donating, and participating in KSF events. Between Claudia and Dwayne, they have logged in a combined 21,840 hours since 2006.
Linda focuses loving foster energy on caring for bottle-fed kittens. This means Linda feeds the precious ones (and helps them go potty) every three or four hours throughout the 24-hour cycle for many, many, many days in a row. At one point she cared for 22 “bottle babies” at a time! Foster Care Coordinator Lori Mason describes Linda as a “person of extraordinary patience and kindness” who goes beyond the call of duty time and time again. Since Linda began volunteering with RASKC in 2012, she has contributed 13,700 hours. For each of the last three years, Linda has contributed over 2,000 hours each year. A favorite among staff, Linda is super attentive to the fragile health of the kittens. When her foster babies need professional attention, Linda will immediately drive 30 minutes to the shelter - every day if necessary - to ensure that each kitten will have its best shot at surviving and thriving. Linda never gives up. RASKC asks you to help honor our foster volunteer Linda Bowen with your vote!
Prison Pet Partnership
Prison Pet Partnership would have had a very different year if it weren’t for the bright light that is volunteer Linda Higgins! Our unique environment, located on the grounds of the Washington Corrections Center for Women, poses many challenges and Linda was up for all of them. She took the time to get to know the incarcerated program participants and worked with them side-by-side to help bathe and dry dogs, no easy feat! In the past year, Linda has taken on the role of volunteer trainer, groomer assistant, vet liaison, dog walker, pooper scooper and any other task that needs to get done. She always walks into the prison with compassion for the dogs and cats, staff and the inmates, treating everyone equally. The inmates unanimously chose to nominate her due to her love of the program and the animals.
Seattle Area Feline Rescue
What inspires us most about Tricia is her compassion. We are always moved by the devotion she pours into each tiny individual life. In her 6 years of fostering at SAFe Rescue, Tricia has cared for over 100 orphaned neonatal kittens. While providing round-the-clock care to the most vulnerable kittens, Tricia’s skills don’t stop with bottle feeding. She’s always ready for a challenge and doesn’t hesitate when she’s presented with a kitten who has a complex medical need. URI’s? Coccidia? Tube feeding? They’re no match for her toolbelt of skills and iron tenacity. From when they first open their eyes, all the way until they’re adopted, Tricia shows all of her kittens the deepest love and dedication. We are so grateful for all the know-how and tenderness she brings to her work.
Di is an extraordinary example with her selfless 24/7 commitment, hard work, dedication, to aiding rescue dogs for over 30 years and her outstanding excellence as kennel manager. Di has been a driving force in rescue since 1982 when she started volunteering in California kill shelters and advocating against dog fighting. Wherever she is, Di is there for the dogs and can be found volunteering, advocating, and educating. She has volunteered in many areas at Adopt-A-Pet including Secretary on the Board of Directors, was the first official Volunteer Coordinator, and has been the Kennel Manager since 2014. Di, a pit-mommy for over 24 years, has adopted three dogs from Adopt-A-Pet. This July, Di adopted Louis de Pointe du Lac who is a senior pittie that adores her to no end and is featured in her nomination picture. Thank you, Di!
Greyhound Pets, Inc.
Kathy is the Adoption Rep at Greyhound Pets, Inc. Since 2011, she has placed over 1000 Greyhounds in their forever homes. Kathy has a gift of listening to people when they talk about what they are looking for in a new companion and it is very rare that anyone goes home without a new forever friend. She schedules appointments at all hours and puts in an 8-hour day, 7 days a week. She is always available for new owners and takes calls 24/7. She has fought many times for a dog who otherwise would not find a home. She takes on the problem cases and does whatever needs to be done to place them in the proper loving home. Kathy is an angel to these hounds, who otherwise would never find a home and spend their entire lives in our kennel. Kathy deserves to be recognized for her dedication to all of the dogs at Greyhound Pets, Inc.
Deirdre’s volunteer journey started like many others, trying to fill a void left after the death of her two wonderful dogs. She found WAMAL through a Facebook post asking for transport help for a dog from California. What started with a 1200-mile drive turned into becoming Transport Coordinator, a small title for the huge job of organizing volunteers up and down the U.S. west coast. She also evaluates dogs for placement, manages outreach events and organizes fundraisers. In addition to volunteering with WAMAL, Deirdre is a “rescue road warrior” for numerous organizations which often adds up to over 40 hours a week. While her volunteer efforts are varied, Deirdre says she’s found her niche driving pets of all variations to their new homes. Deirdre says, “being a part of saving a life, and getting to see them start a new chapter in their forever homes is what it’s all about, and that is my reward.
South County Cats
While our mission at South County Cats is saving lives through spay and neuter, every year we take in approximately 250 kittens, some that come to us as orphans. We are lucky to have one volunteer who is our Neonate Specialist. Debbie is our bottle baby volunteer and she is one of a kind. Not only is she willing to sacrifice many hours of sleep to save orphaned kittens, she has the knowledge, experience, and determination to save these babies that would otherwise perish without her intervention. She knows the tricks of the trade and what tools to use when a kitten is struggling and has saved more than 150 kittens' lives. Newborn kittens must be fed at least every two hours and monitored closely 24/7. Debbie saves every kitten that has the slimmest chance of survival. Caring for bottle babies is HARD work and in Debbie's household it is a family labor of love, with her husband, daughter and grandson's participation.
Since Becky started volunteering with us over a year ago, her dedication, dependability and passion were undeniable. She comes in four hours a day, five days a week, sometimes even on weekends. While she’s amazing with cat care, she isn’t afraid to handle any other responsibilities, such as cleaning, fundraising, and community outreach. Without Becky as one of our most reliable volunteers, our shelter manager wouldn’t be able to make it to necessary veterinary appointments and early spay and neuter clinic days. Becky has made a tremendous impact on the lives of many special cats in the short time she’s been with us. When a 19-year-old senior cat with medical issues was surrendered to us, Becky and her husband opened their home to fostering him. They’ve also adopted three cats, one of which was a semi-feral kitten that took months to socialize. Most don’t have the patience, time, or compassion for working with these types of animals, but this is just the type of person that Becky is.
Medium Washington Animal Welfare Organizations
Auburn Valley Humane Society
Leslie is an active volunteer, starting in mid-2016. Leslie fosters kittens and bottle babies, picks up donations for the shelter, and transports animals for AVHS throughout the greater Seattle-Tacoma area. She helps train new cat foster parents by coaching them and answering their questions. Leslie is very willing to take on any task to help new foster parents and provides the staff with input on training and care. She is our go-to-person when neonates arrive at the shelter. Through her 3,867 volunteer hours, Leslie has been a fantastic advocate for the cats, fostering over 260 kittens and cats, ranging from neonates to the medically fragile. Leslie fostered two fabulous kittens with Cerebeller Hypoplasia, accepting mobility and coordination challenges. She creates new innovative ideas for furniture, boxes, and water dishes. Her tenacity to conquer any obstacle is genuinely marvelous. AVHS is so grateful that she is part of our volunteer team!
MEOW Cat Rescue
Julie works two shifts each week as an Adoption Counselor, but that's only the beginning of her involvement with MEOW Cat Rescue. Whenever a project or activity comes up, the first words out of her mouth are, "What can I do to help?" Julie coordinates our Kitten Rooms during the Microsoft fundraising campaign every October - last year's proceeds exceeded $30,000. She designs and sews amazing cat beds and toys to sell, giving the proceeds to MEOW, and sews cage drapes for the shelter. She manages MEOW's retail area, serves on our Special Events committee which produces our annual fundraising auction and dinner, organizes and leads the dessert dash, and creates amazing themed auction gift baskets. Overall, she has given over 2100 hours to MEOW. We are so thrilled to have Julie's energy and enthusiasm working for the cats! We can't thank her enough and hope you will recognize her wonderful contributions with your vote.
Saving Great Animals
Rachel is our Accounting Manager and takes care of all of the paperwork and financial stuff that most of us don't know how to do or would not want to do. And she does it so very well. Most of our other volunteers work with dogs and do more fun things but Rachel works quietly in the background to make sure we run smoothly. People like her don't often get recognition for their hard work and also don't always get to experience the benefits of working for a dog rescue (cuddling dogs!). It's time for Rachel to be recognized for her hard work and for being an all around lovely person to work with!
Whatcom Humane Society
Rachel is a superstar volunteer at our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. We are in the middle of our busy baby season, and in the middle of a global pandemic, and Rachel continues to show up for two shifts per week with a smile on her face. She covers extra shifts whenever needed and will do any task without complaint (and some of the jobs are pretty awful!). She goes far out of her way to help transport injured animals, takes time to source plants to provide food for animals in our care, and always stays late to help close at the end of the day. And she does it all with a positive, uplifting attitude. We are so lucky (and thankful!) to have her on our team!
Austin has been instrumental to Pawsitive Alliance. His organizational support in helping us develop a structured, useful database is something that required attention to detail and long hours in front of a computer. Austin has volunteered in a way that many other volunteers would not even consider. There was no time with cute kittens or puppies, just tedious office work that needed to be done to move the organization forward. Even after spending many hours organizing our donor database, Austin continued to show up at networking and fundraising events to do the work that others didn’t want to do like take credit card payments, check in guests, and handle auction items. Austin even reached out to work associates to provide additional volunteer support at these events. Without Austin and his associates, Pawsitive Alliance would not have been able to make the strides we had this year within our organization.
Save A Forgotten Equine
Jackie has been called a do-it-all at SAFE horse rescue, and it is a tag she embraces. The words “no” or “can’t” are not in her vocabulary. Since 2012, Jackie has been fostering SAFE horses on her 5-acre property (20+ horses so far, some for hospice care). She’s an all-in member of the facilities team, keeping SAFE’s 11-acre farm in top shape. Jackie is also a strong advocate for SAFE in the community – hauling mini horses Sunny D and Shasta to events and talking about the work SAFE does in rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming horses that were previously abused and neglected. Jackie’s also extremely talented – she sews neck coolers and face masks for volunteers, makes crafts for our holiday bazaar, and paints barn quilts for decoration around the farm. Jackie is an amazing volunteer, fully embodying SAFE’s mission. She loves the horses and the people – volunteers who have become family. She really is a Jackie of all trades, but we lovingly call her the chainsaw queen!
Humane Society of Skagit Valley
Kathleen is an amazing and dedicated volunteer that we simply couldn't do without! She has exhibited an enormous amount of compassion for the animals in our care, always going above and beyond. She never comes to us with a problem without having a wonderful solution and she works tirelessly to make sure our cats are well-cared for, socialized, healthy, and loved. Kathleen has conceived of and implemented procedures that have greatly improved the quality of life of our Barn Buddy cats -- recruiting, scheduling, and training other volunteers to ensure our cats have adequate food, water, bedding, and comfortable living conditions. Additionally, she fosters cats and kittens and helps to find them loving homes. She spends time in our cat wing, helping to socialize or publicize cats and/or kittens who need a little extra attention. Kathleen is a wonderful animal advocate, and an invaluable part of our team. We are beyond blessed to have her!
Homeward Pet Adoption Center
Ashley Ventura is one of those volunteers that you can always rely on. Whether it’s a Friday night spent cleaning kennels, a Dog Behavior Team training session, or a great social media post about one of our longer residents, Ashley is there! A true champion for animals, she gives her time to multiple organizations, and is always learning something new and bringing that experience to the team and animals at Homeward Pet. Ashley not only recruited her husband to join, but her dog Spot has been known to come in and help some of our shelter pups practice their social skills. As Jenny, our Behavior Manager says, “It’s hard to tell which dogs are her type, because she absolutely loves them all!”
Large Washington Animal Welfare Organizations
Pasado's Safe Haven
Karen has been an invaluable member of our volunteer family and has logged over 700 hours since April 2019. We rescue dogs from neglect and abuse, so her kind spirit, full of patience and love, is like a blessing to each troubled pup who enters our gates. When Karen isn't enriching the dogs' lives with playtime, socializing, and training, she is just as enthusiastic about the less glamorous volunteer work including scrubbing duck ponds, cleaning kennels, and doing tons of laundry. Karen also works directly with some of our most challenging and neglected animals who benefit greatly from her caring nature. She also took the time to befriend our blind senior pit bull Tee who needs extra patience when it comes to befriending him! She is not only an outstanding volunteer who practically glows with positivity, but she is also one of our favorite people period. You can hear it in our voices when she checks in on the radio: "Karen here, where do you need me?" "Hi, Karen!!!" we say. "Everywhere!"
The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County
Pat has been a volunteer for 6.5 years, his start with the shelter was humble. Pat began folding towels, then went on to train and help many areas of the shelter before focusing on our doggies. He is now one of our most seasoned dog handlers and has over 3,150 volunteer hours and counting. Pat is part of our Behavior Modification Team and works with our most challenging dogs to help them find “furever” homes. He’s also one of our Dog Services Leads and trains new volunteers in dog walking protocols and procedures. Pat’s volunteerism isn’t limited to the four walls of the shelter, he has worked numerous public events such as free vaccination clinics, representing us at the Puyallup Fair, and our premiere event, Dog-A-Thon. Pat’s willingness to help is second to none. He is both positive and professional in his approach, and we are honored and fortunate to have him as part of our team!
PAWS - Progressive Animal Welfare Society
Maggie has been a foster parent for PAWS since 2014 and she never misses a chance to help when needed. Maggie's specialty is large litters of kittens, and nursing mother cats with large litters. Recently she has even tried her hand at a new initiative for our foster program…caring for a pregnant mother cat! Maggie took to caring for the pregnant mother cat (and eventually the litter of neonates) like a duck to water! Maggie has fostered just shy of 100 animals since joining the foster care program. The foster team enjoys Maggie's positive attitude and ability to tackle any problems that come along with determination and great care to the animals she fosters. PAWS is very thankful to have her as part of our team and we look forward to all of the future fun and quirky names she will be giving to her foster babies!
Purrfect Pals Cat Sanctuary
Todd Laffoon is one of the most dedicated and reliable volunteers at Purrfect Pals. Since starting in October 2018, he has consistently taken on more and more responsibilities. Todd is currently working two morning shifts each weekend in Cat Care - sometimes cleaning the ENTIRE upstairs of our D Building (4+ cat sanctuary rooms!) - and 1 or more shifts every week as a Cat Chef preparing evening wet food dinners. On top of that, he’s one of the first to fill in when needed and works nearly every holiday. Last winter, he came to our main shelter EVERY DAY during his work vacation to make sure the kitties were well cared for and felt special for the holidays. Todd always has a smile on his face and a “can-do” attitude, takes fantastic care of the animals, is helpful with other volunteers, takes adorable pictures of the cats, and shows an incredible commitment to our organization.
Jessica initially came to us as an adopter of one kitten and later a second...but the spirit of Motley Zoo truly struck her, and she has made us a critical part of her life since 2012. Jessica specializes in cats and kittens, especially neonates, bottle feeders, pregnant moms and nursing litters, of which she has saved many. She has helped hundreds of little kittens find their homes and always makes sure the mamas get just as much attention. Jessica also attends almost every event, coordinates and spearheads events, and is a mentor for new volunteers and fosters. She's always ready and willing to drive animals to and from vet appointments or facilitate adoptions. She has been doing nearly all of the cat adoptions during the shutdown when others have been unable. No matter what is going on, Jessica always makes time despite being a busy teacher! This girl is a major rock star for Motley Zoo and we are forever grateful to have her in our lives.
Everett Animal Shelter
Randy has been a volunteer since 2009 and has logged over 2600 hours! Randy does it all, he has transported dogs to new homes as far as Montana, fostered and rehabilitated fearful, hard-to-place and aggressive dogs, helped with events, and assisted with assessments and dog visits. He has led the shelter’s WagWorks team for years, which consists of specially trained volunteers that work with our more unruly, fearful, under socialized or aggressive dogs. After paying his own way into a Play Groups for Life program, he graciously passed his knowledge onto our team of dog walking volunteers. Besides being an expert with our dogs, Randy is handy! He has helped the shelter design play yards, installed and repaired multiple kennels, and has assisted with proper layouts for safe dog walking yards. Randy has truly become a leader at our shelter and is vital to its operation. The shelter staff trust his instincts with evaluations and behavior modifications. He is a mentor, a leader and deserves this very special recognition. Our shelter is better because of Randy Dreyer.
The Noah Center
Debbie has been a Dog Kennel Tech here at NOAH for 10 years. In 2018, Debbie founded a group of volunteers called Passion 4 Pets that does fundraisers to raise additional funds for the shelter on top of their regular duties as volunteers at the shelter. They raised enough money in 2019 to purchase a new transport van for the shelter. They have currently raised over $250,000 with their private yard sales, car washes, and other fundraising activities. She has a very positive presence here at the shelter. She goes above and beyond for the animals here at The NOAH Center.
Sally is one of Seattle Humane’s hardest working and most consistent foster parents, and she specializes in an often misunderstood animal population: cats and kittens with ringworm. Ringworm treatment in a shelter or in a home is a pretty big ask, and Sally takes on the task like a champ. She has been fostering since 2016 and in that time has cared for over 150 animals, an especially astounding number considering how long ringworm usually takes to treat and clear. Once, she even fostered 15 ringworm cats at the same time - that's a lot of lyme dips and medications to juggle! Sally is incredibly dedicated and always willing to take on the most difficult cases, and she is truly a hero to our organization and the animals we serve.