Volunteers Part 1

This month, the 5th month of our anniversary blog series, I’ll be talking about volunteers. This topic is a “two-parter” because we have so many dedicated volunteers I don’t want to try to tell you about all of them in one blog. Too much information. By the time you’ve read this blog and next month’s you’ll be amazed at how many tasks are accomplished by our invaluable volunteers. Yet another reason why ODH is so successful and thriving after 20 years.

Ok, let’s begin with transport. The job of transporting new dogs to their forever Final Refuge homes is a favorite among people who volunteer for ODH. To be the person who drives a homeless (or soon to be) old dog to a forever home where he will have an opportunity to be a happy and healthy dog is a wonderful experience. No, it’s more than that. It’s a way to feel like you’ve done something important to make the world a better place. Yeah, I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but the good we do on an individual level has a way of creating a ripple effect that goes out into the world and makes a difference. Transporting a dog is a big “Good.” When asked how they felt about the transport experience our freedom drivers say things like, “It felt awesome to help this sweet boy.” “It’s a pleasure to be a link in the ODH chain.” “Today I got to transport … (note the word “got.” I could go on, but you get the point.) Our transporters love what they do and we love them for playing such a vital role in the new life of an ODH dog.

Here’s how the transport adventure begins: Judith, Kim and/or Tina have been in contact with a shelter or individual about a dog that is ready to come to ODH. A home has been found, the family is ready, the dog is more than ready, and off we go. Our transport Coordinator has a list of transporters and she begins the task of arranging the journey according to location. Where transporters live, how far they are willing to drive, location of the dog’s new home, etc. are all factors to be considered. Sometimes it’s a trip involving a ferry ride, often it’s a long trip that will involve several drivers … kind of like a relay team, and often the request is short notice. Lots of communication occurs between our Coordinator, transporters, shelter (or individual) and ODH homes. Sometimes the arrangements are complicated, but our transporters are always up for the challenge and the job always gets done.

Another facet of transporting involves picking up and delivering food and supplies that have been donated to Old Dog Haven. Diane Lee, Volunteer Coordinator, and Kriscinda Hansen, Board President, with the help of Marilyn Gregory and others make sure there are volunteers willing to help transport what is available and needed to our fosters.

Transporting, whether it be dogs or supplies, is all about movement forward and that says it all in terms of ODH.

Now, I’d like to give a shout-out to our Weekend Ambassadors who host outreach Meet and Greet events throughout the year. Aaron Davis, our Events Coordinator, and his team of intrepid travelers can be found in more than 50 different places during the course of a year representing ODH from Vancouver to Bellingham and locations up and down Western Washington.

We like people to know who we are and what we do so these outreach events are important ways to get the word out about us. Volunteers come prepared to talk about ODH, show off the dogs that often come with them, answer questions and generally sing the praises of this amazing organization.

There are also very special outreach events like Read to a Rescue in Tacoma. Children who are hesitant to read in front of adults are comfortable and happy reading to dogs. Volunteers and their dogs from the Events Team are always happy to participate in the event.

This is a lot, isn’t it? And there’s more. All these activities represent a huge investment in time and energy, all lovingly expended for our dogs. Stay tuned for more about volunteers next month.



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