By Kristyn Miller, Volunteer Program Manager
Animal Friends has over 1,800 volunteers who collectively donate more than 300,000 hours of volunteer service each year. Animal Friends volunteers touch every part of our organization with their hard work, dedication and passion for animal welfare. Our volunteers have found inspiration for their continued service through the friendships formed here, supporting the impact of our programs and for some, the inspiration comes from helping our residents just like their own pets. Below are the stories of just a few volunteers who have found their very own four-legged friends at Animal Friends.
“Our family had been looking for a dog for several months. My mom came to Animal Friends to see a dog from the website, [but when she arrived] she saw Igneous and fell in love with his beautiful face and immediately felt a connection looking into his eyes. He was a 4-month-old Treeing Walker Coonhound who was a transfer from San Antonio, Texas because of Hurricane Harvey. We adopted him in September 2018 and named him Alamo. We didn’t volunteer at that time but started as dog walkers in 2019 because of our love we share with Alamo.” – Joshua and Wendy Turner
“I have been volunteering for Animal Friends for many years, in different capacities. These days, you most likely see me in [the] laundry room washing blankets, towels and toys! My husband and I have adopted from Animal Friends twice. Our first adoption was a pug named Mabel. She was a sweet and spicy little puglet! Our second alum is Ollie, who was known as Cannoli when he was at the shelter. Cannoli, a shih tzu mix, wore a little tux to last year’s Black Tie & Tails, capturing the hearts of everyone he met. I first met Cannoli while I was doing laundry. He had arrived at the shelter with his coat completely matted up. Staff shaved him down and brought him back to the laundry room for a bath. I was smitten instantly and helped out by giving him a warm towel from the dryer. When I got home, I immediately submitted an adoption application online. Small, senior dogs are our favorites! After getting the call that he was available for adoption, we brought our other two pups – Nickie and Bella – to Animal Friends for the meet and greet. These three have been best buds since that day.” – Jen Stratakis
“My story begins in February of 2013. Our kitty, Gidget, passe[d] from Chronic Kidney Disease after a yearlong battle. She was very much loved by [our family]. I was [a cat volunteer] at the time and my wife and myself decided it was time to share our home again. Christine, who is now our Pippin looked so much like Gidget that my wife would eventually call her Gidget on occasion. Pippin made friends with us immediately and we knew she would be the one. Our journey has been blessed with much happiness and love. Thank you to everyone at Animal Friends for all that you do to make our world better for both us humans and our animal friends.” – Dr. David Jaskiewicz
“I had not previously been a foster, but during the pandemic Animal Friends rescued a group of 20 [rabbits]. Because everything was shutting down and all animals had to go to foster I decided this was the time. The bunnies were all named after celebrities (celebunnies) and I met Marilyn Bunroe. [One day] I came home to find some of the blankets I had in her room piled on top of her litter box and filled with fur and hay that was slightly moving. Inside were [four] babies! Throughout the next [four] months I watched Marilyn tend to her babies and they grew quickly. I spent a lot of time with her, and we became very close, especially since I lost my bunny Marvin. When it was time for them to be spayed, I struggled with returning them. After Marilyn was gone for 24 hours, I knew I had to adopt her. She had become so close to her daughter I adopted her as well and named her Lilac. They are my best buddies and I love when they give me bunny kisses. If I hadn’t decided to foster, I would have never experienced all the wonderful things Marilyn has brought to my life!” – Valerie Krasneski-Schreiber