Congratulations to Kelley S., nominated and chosen as the November 2018 Multnomah County Animal Services Volunteer of the Month.
Kelley has always had a deep love for animals. Growing up, she was the girl looking for lost dogs and bringing home critters. As an adult, Kelley’s dogs Mandolin, Boo Bear, and Mallory were her closest family while her husband Reese was deployed for military service. Her dogs were by her side as she fought through health problems that left her bedridden and socially-isolated.
Even as Kelley’s health was improving, her dogs became terminally ill. Her senior lab, Mallory, passed away suddenly. Litter-mates Boo Bear and Mandolin, whom Kelley adopted as puppies, were both diagnosed with cancer. Within a year, Kelley’s animal companions were all tragically gone.
With the loss of Kelley’s dogs, there was a big empty space in her heart. She wanted to be able to take her heartache and do something good to help others and start to heal. Looking for volunteer opportunities online, Kelley became interested in fostering for Multnomah County Animal Services. After attending a volunteer information session with Reese in January 2018, they became foster volunteers, and started walking dogs at the shelter.
As a foster volunteer, Kelley enjoys opening her home to give dogs a break from the stress of the shelter, an opportunity to express natural behavior out of a kennel, let their true colors shine, and to work one on one with them. Her current foster dog, a senior German Shepherd named Buddy, just wants to be with his people. Kelley says “Buddy just wants someone to follow around, take him for a car ride, and rub his head.” Kelley and Reese are working with him on his separation anxiety while he waits for an adopter. Foster dogs in Kelley’s home also enjoy the company of her Carolina Dog, Tanner, and German Shepherd, Mya.
Both Kelley and Reese walk and provide enrichment for dogs at the shelter. Kelley is also a volunteer mentor, providing guidance and training to other volunteers. For Kelley, walking dogs on the paths around the shelter and spending time with them in the play yards is the best way to get to know their behaviors, unique traits, and personalities. It puts her in a position to make informed recommendations for adopters seeking new pets at the shelter.
Helping to make adoption matches and connecting with visitors at the shelter can be as rewarding for Kelley as working with the dogs. Kelley feels a special kinship with interested adopters seeking a new companion animal after losing a pet. Kelley says “It’s really important for volunteers to be able to listen to stories or feelings of loss, and try to make it better.”
For those interested in volunteering, Kelley says “give it a try, see what you like! It’s also really good for your health. It’s been great for social-anxiety and depression to interact with dogs and the public at the shelter.”
Kelley thanks all of the volunteers and staff at Multnomah County Animal Services for being friendly and welcoming throughout her volunteer service.
Danielle H., Canine Care Specialist for MCAS, says Kelley is “very dedicated, very kind and caring, and has quickly worked up to a Mentor role. She's devoted to giving all our dogs and volunteers the individual attention they deserve. We appreciate her very, very much!”
Thank you, Kelley, for your dedicated, positive service for the people and pets of Multnomah County!
November 2018 Nominees
Thank you to our stellar volunteers nominated for the November 2018 Volunteer of the Month Award!
- Molly C.
- Alison F
- Sherri G.
- Bonnie H.
- Marsha S.