Monica D. - January 2020 Volunteer of the Month

Monica with Hanna the dog

Monica D. has volunteered at Multnomah County Animal Services since 2015, and focuses on finding the right adoption matches for visitors to the shelter. While Monica’s focus is on dogs, she also helps out wherever she’s needed at the shelter.

Learn more about the Volunteer of the Month Program.

Animal Companionship

Monica has lived with dogs, birds, and chickens all her life, and finds joy in their companionship and closeness. Her two dogs, Lucky, a long-haired terrier mix, and Cassie, a Border-Collie, are her constant shadows at home. They love to play tug-of-war, tease, and wrestle around. Monica says “they’re very jealous and protective of me!” They sometimes guard her as a resource, and she has to be careful and keep them leashed when they go out.

Monica had an unfortunate scratch incident with her family cat as a four-year old that left her with a life-long fear of felines, but she is gradually overcoming it and gaining confidence handling as she spends more time volunteering in the cattery.

Showing Dogs

Monica’s favorite thing as a volunteer is showing dogs to visitors to the shelter. She likes to see the new interactions with the dogs, and how they connect with people. She also “thinks yes” by trying to find the right match for visitors if things don’t go as planned while meeting a dog, trying to find the best potential matches on the adoption floor.

Her favorite time of year is summer at the shelter, because it seems like dog-adoptions increase and she’s able to take the dogs out to the yard in good weather to meet their people. December is also a favorite time thanks to adoption specials which increase potential adopters visiting the shelter.

One of Monica’s most memorable adoptions was Cindy Lou, a long-time shelter resident, adopted in August 2017 after nine-months of waiting in the shelter and in a foster home. “Usually people want to adopt younger, healthy dogs,” Monica says. “In Cindy Lou’s case, her adopter didn’t mind that she had a mass and may not be in the best health or have the longest life of an adopted pet. She was able to look past that to love Cindy Lou for Cindy Lou.” 


Volunteer Mentors

Many volunteers keep the same volunteer shifts from year to year, which can build strong camaraderie and relationships over time. Monica appreciates the support of other volunteers on her shift. Monica particularly appreciates the help of Helen C., who works the Information Desk during her shift. Helen is a proactive problem-solver with a strong attention to detail. She really helps Monica to answer questions from potential adopters, and isn’t afraid to ask staff for clarification or help when needed.

Trying New Things

Monica is well-known for her upbeat, helpful attitude. When volunteer-support was needed in the cattery and helping with the small pets, Monica was willing to answer the call for help, and is on-call for shifts when needed. She also provides office support for the client services team.

Favorite Activities

Outside of volunteering, Monica enjoys spending quiet time with her dogs, building puzzles, art and coloring. She also enjoys frequent visits to Netarts Bay to walk her dogs on the beach, and visit family.

Some of Monica’s favorite shows are Beethoven, Santa Buddies, Home Alone, Full House, and Fuller House. 

What They Say About Monica

“Monica always has a smile on her face and is so welcoming and friendly. She works so hard and the animals love her” - Jazmin H.

“Monica is a consistent & well- known volunteer for several years now. Every interaction I have had with Monica has been pleasant. If I have needed information, she is quick to find out. She is skilled with handling the dogs and answering general questions. I always enjoy seeing and chatting with her - Monica is a friendly face and welcomes all visitors to the shelter.” - Jenni H.

“Monica is great! She is thoughtful with helping the clients choose a dog, because she knows the dogs so well. Monica was the only volunteer for several hours [one day] and was showing dogs back-to-back. She did amazingly well. Most folks picked the dog she showed. We had one [upset] client, and she was firm with him and handled it like a champion, took a deep breath, and kept going with a positive attitude. Many, many kudos to this young woman who shows up for every shift and works her heart out! She is gentle with the dogs and great with the people, too! - Mary Kate W.

Thank you, Monica, for your dedicated, positive service for the people and pets of Multnomah County!