Congratulations to Janice T., nominated and chosen as the November 2019 Volunteer of the Month. Janice is a mover and a shaker in her advocacy for shelter pets. Volunteering at least three days each week on the dog team, Janice is personally invested in the enrichment and wellbeing of dogs at Multnomah County Animal Services- especially the ones who need the most help to find new homes.
An Advocate for Abused Children
Janice has always been willing to go to bat for those in need, and invest her heart and hard work into causes she cares about. As a social worker in professional life prior to retirement, Janice worked with abused and neglected children. “Those kids were always labeled the bad kids due to behavior problems,” Janice says, “and I see a lot of similarities with some dogs at the shelter.” Life had dealt them a terrible hand, and they needed the right support- love, understanding, and patience- to recover and succeed.
After retirement, Janice spent a lot of her time volunteering for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), until something happened in her family that redirected her focus.
Janice’s son and his spouse had a senior dog named Remy that they raised since he was a puppy. But Remy had trouble adjusting to a new child in the family. Remy was stressed, and in one severe incident, he bit their daughter. Remy was boarded at Multnomah County Animal Services for the duration of his ten day bite quarantine. Remy meant so much to their family, but they couldn’t put the safety of their daughter at risk. At the end of the quarantine, they knew they couldn’t bring Remy back home, and surrendered him to MCAS.
With the time and the drive to help, Janice interceded, committing to support Remy during his stay at the shelter, and if possible, to help find a new home without children. Janice met with shelter animal care management to work out an arrangement. Remy, who was stressed and fearful with shelter staff in the kennel environment, saw Janice- someone he knew- and immediately warmed up to her.
So began Janice’s volunteer journey at MCAS. She would visit the shelter almost daily to walk Remy, spend time with him, and help provide enrichment. Eventually, Janice helped find an adult-only home willing to adopt him, and Remy spent his last senior years in their care.
The Importance of Enrichment
During Janice’s work with Remy, she met many other dogs in need of help and support, and stayed onboard to walk dogs and provide enrichment. Janice says “enrichment for the dogs while they’re here is so important to help them overcome fear of people and socialize them, to maintain their mental health. Walking them is a simple and effective way to help. It gets them out of a loud environment in the kennels, and allows them to sniff around and stimulate their brain.”
A Wealth of Experience
Janice is known as “The Queen of Kongs” due to her proficiency and frequency in stuffing kongs with kibble, wet food, or peanut butter for enrichment.
Needless to say, coming in at least three days of the week, Janice has a lot of experience working with dogs in the shelter environment. Janice offers as much support as she can to help new volunteers find their wings to be comfortable and successful in their roles, and provide dogs the most positive experience possible until they hopefully find new homes. She’s always happy to help with entering or exiting kennels, putting on harnesses, or tips for showing dogs to potential adopters.
Janice spends a lot of time with long-term residents of the shelter, and has seen many adoptions. “Many people ask if I’m sad never to see these dogs again,” Janice says, “but I’m not- I’m always hoping with all my heart that they find a good fit.”
What They Say About Janice
“Janice is very driven when it comes to the enrichment of the dogs we have here. She wants them to all have the best experience they can get. I have really enjoyed having Janice on the team!”
- Melinda H.
“Janice always puts the dogs' needs and wants above her own. She is also the Queen of Kongs, and I will never be able to make them as fast or as often as she does. I greatly admire her dedication and drive! The woman works hard and gives her all. When she's away, her absence is apparent because she does so much in the kennels! If the dogs could choose a volunteer of the month, I guarantee they'd choose Janice - every single month! She plays a major role in their happiness at MCAS... And I'm so thankful they have her selfless love and care while they wait for their future homes.”
- Kelley S.
“Sometimes in life we have the rare opportunity to experience an angel walking among us. When I volunteer with Janice, I am seeing an angel at work. She has incredible compassion for all the dogs and tirelessly engages with them to make sure they have better lives while at the shelter. She puts in about 20 hours a week walking and training dogs, cleaning kennels, making and giving out kongs, and most importantly, gives them the love and attention they so desperately need. I watch as dogs light up when Janice walks by or stops at their cage. They know she is a truly amazing. She is both their hero and mine.”
- Daphna A.
“Janice is an extremely dedicated volunteer. She is at the shelter almost every day. She makes sure every dog gets walked, no matter if it's snowing, raining, windy, or extremely cold. You can see her passion for volunteering and for the dogs. She is a great help to the other volunteers as well. I witness her helping them all the time.”
- Jennifer H.
“Janice puts her heart into these dogs. When I see Janice on the schedule, I know the dogs are well taken care of. She has a wealth of knowledge and is great with volunteers and customers. I love being on a shift with Janice!”
- Carissa M.
“Janice works the same Monday shift that I work on the back desk. She was so helpful when I started volunteering and she continues to be available for questions and for potential adopters whenever I need someone to help with a dog. She is always friendly and so generous with her time and if it ever happens that there is a misunderstanding, she shrugs it off good-naturedly. She is a pleasure to work with and improves my time volunteering on the back desk.”
- Ann K.
Thank you, Janice, for your ongoing volunteer service for the pets and people of Multnomah County.
November 2019 Nominees
Thank you to our stellar volunteers nominated for the November 2019 Volunteer of the Month!
- Belinda D.
- Quimby L.