Congratulations to Jenni H., nominated and chosen as the May 2019 Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) Volunteer of the Month.
A volunteer at Multnomah County Animal Services since August 2014, Jenni has diversified her volunteer portfolio to enjoy many different roles.
In Memory of Morgan
Jenni’s volunteer journey began with her beloved cat, Morgan. She was just a young kitten when Jenni found her at large and brought her into her home, and Morgan spent twelve full years as Jenni’s faithful companion. When Morgan passed, Jenni wanted to do something meaningful to honor her memory, and began researching volunteer opportunities with animals in the community. Oregon Humane Society was a highly visible choice for Jenni and many others in the Portland region, but they didn’t have available volunteer opportunities at the time. Turning to Multnomah County Animal Services, Jenni was surprised to learn of the many opportunities and ongoing need for volunteers. Her dedicated service with adoptable dogs, foster kittens, and social media to promote the cause has been a powerful tribute to Morgan’s memory.
All Together for the Dogs
Jenni has made wonderful friends during her volunteer service, and she enjoys building that sense of community, camaraderie, and working together on projects.
She is a mentor and trainer for volunteers in the adoptable dog kennels, and has a regular Sunday shift working with the dogs and assisting interested adopters. Jenni is a regular participant with the Pitties in Pink float in summer parades to promote the cause of shelter dogs and the importance of adoption.
Over the years, there have been dozens and dozens of dogs she’s been rooting for to go home. One such dog was a bulldog named Beefy, whom a close friend adopted, and renamed Buster. Recently, Yara touched Jenni and many other volunteers, and it was exciting to watch her go home.
A Kitten Foster Network
Fostering kittens appealed to Jenni, but it can be intimidating to jump into providing care for the fragile, adorable animals. Robynne R., an experienced kitten volunteer, held Jenni’s hand through the process of learning to meet the needs of young kittens. Meeting and networking with other foster volunteers to share knowledge or coordinate care made a big difference in learning new skills and building confidence. Many foster volunteers maintain accounts on Instagram, which they use to connect with other volunteers, and to promote their foster pets to interested adopters. Naturally, the Instagram accounts of Jenni and other foster volunteers are wildly popular, sharing epic journeys of their adorable subjects to the delight of the internet. When Mishka and Finley, two single kittens in different foster homes, needed a friend, they were brought together, and the love story of #Mishley was born.
Jenni loves seeing her foster kittens find new homes, and has even been able to use her time volunteering in the shelter to help promote them for adoption. Last fall, Jenni began fostering two siamese kittens who were soon joined by a sibling brought in later by the finder. She raised them until they were ready for adoption. While on her volunteer shift in the dog kennels, she met a couple looking for a kitten that was no longer available. Jenni took out her phone and showed them photos of her foster kittens. They adopted all three! Later, in December, the couple graciously invited Jenni to their home to see how her babies were settling into their new home.
Jenni organized a kitten shower in 2018 with the collaboration of the Peninsula Odd Fellows lodge, her network of kitten foster volunteers, and her Sunday dog kennel team. The event raised around $4000 in donations and supplies for the Kitten Triage Program.
Social Media to Promote Pets
In addition to her Instagram account to promote foster kittens, Jenni manages the MCAS Volunteer Facebook page, along with Brandy T. Together, they coordinate with other volunteers to create a window into the world of volunteering at MCAS. The best part is sharing stories of happy adoptions.
Jenni also takes profile photos for cats in the shelter to promote them for adoption.
A Rich Portfolio of Volunteerism
Volunteering is rewarding, but can also be challenging. Jenni’s secret to success is having diverse roles and interests to keep the experience fresh and prevent burnout. If Jenni needs to take a break from one role, she can step away and switch it up to focus on something else. There is always something else to do!
Thank you, Jenni, for your dedicated, positive service for the people and pets of Multnomah County!
May 2019 Nominees
Thank you to our stellar volunteers nominated for the May 2019 Volunteer of the Month!