Volunteer of the Month
Here are the Golden State German Shepherd Rescue Volunteers of the Month! We appreciate all of them for their tireless work.
Volunteer of the Month for August 2011 is Jayne Nielsen!
I began volunteering for German Shepherd Rescue in 2001 in memory of my first love, Kisha. My ex-husband and I got Kisha for the same reason many people get German shepherd Dogs…as a guard dog. But Kisha never became a guard dog and she never spent much time outside by herself. Kisha became a big part of our lives and stole our hearts. She was one of the best dogs we’ve ever had. Since 2001, I have had the awesome privilege of evaluating hundreds of beautiful dogs, meeting wonderful adopters, and cultivating lifetime friendships. And through the little time I’ve fostered, I have been able to expand my knowledge and experience dealing with dog issues from minor behavioral issues to dealing with EPI and Lupus. And although I have flunked Fostering 102, 103, 104, and 105, I plan to foster more dogs as soon as I can.
Being a part of a wonderful team of volunteers who love and respect German shepherds as much as I do has truly been a gratifying experience. And the awesome support system within Rescue volunteers has been truly a life saver. Being able to discuss trials and tribulations but also being able to celebrate the small victories has definitely strengthened our bonds of friendship. Although Rescue work is never-ending, tiring, and many times frustrating the benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. Our Chairman of the Board Mike Murray once said, “You come for the dogs; you stay for the people” and that is so true. Golden State German Shepherd Rescue is truly family to me and I am deeply grateful for the love and friendship of my two- and four-legged friends.
Volunteer of the Month for July 2011 is Melanie McNeil!
I adopted my first rescue German Shepherd in 1991, with my husband, and in 2006 I thought that I would give fostering a try while we were looking for another German Shepherd to adopt. Fostering was a great help in learning more about training dogs, and about German Shepherds in particular, especially when rescue dogs can be rough around the edges when they just come out of the shelter. I have continued volunteering since that time for two main reasons. One is that I am so inspired by the dedication that rescue volunteers, especially the dog evaluators and dog fosterers show on a daily basis to help these good dogs find a good home. It is really a privilege to work with them. Of course, the other reason is the dogs. So many good dogs end up in shelters through no fault of their own. Often they don’t show well when they are scared or stressed. To be able to be of some help for these good dogs to have another chance in a family where they can blossom into the happy dog they were meant to be is one of the best rewards I have had in my life.
Volunteer of the Month for June 2011 is Chris Morris!
Chris Morris never had dogs growing up; had cats. Her first German Shepherd was a neglected one year old female from a ranch next to where Chris was a college student renting a room. Chris was allowed to keep her and ended up with a well-trained companion who lived with Chris and her cat. She helped fuel Chris’s commitment to working with rescue German Shepherds, not only because she was once a neglected dog herself, but also because Chris was forced to re-home her when she moved to San Francisco and could not find a landlord who would let her keep her. Later, after several other solo German Shepherds, including one Chris and her husband raised from a puppy and took to numerous training classes because he was so smart and training was so fun, Chris decided she wanted a second dog.
Somehow Chris learned that rescue would let you foster dogs and she got involved fostering to try to find the perfect companion for her family. Fostering was a wonderful experience. Chris and her husband saw a transformation in every dog. She thinks some of them were more appreciative than their own dog; they had seen both sides. And they did find their perfect match! At that point, hubby said “No More Dogs, No More Fostering”.
Chris says, “Well, I had made Rescue friends by then and loved the experience of helping these wonderful dogs. So I began other volunteer roles. I have done administrative roles, merchandise sales, helped at Adoption Days and public events, transported a dog from one location to another, and now my favorite role is Adoption Counselor. We try to provide education about the breed’s needs to every potential adopter and then we help them connect with dogs in our program that might be a good match for their experience, energy level, and lifestyle. It’s a happy ending for both dog and adopter. When they send us an update, we all reap the joys. Being a volunteer can include hands-on dog help, working with the public, or behind the scenes from home. Every person is part of the team. Without dedicated volunteers, we couldn’t help as many dogs. Now I am the Volunteer Coordinator. I like working with people and connecting with others who love German shepherds!”
Volunteer of the Month for May 2011 is Deborah Hankins!
I joined German Shepherd Rescue in 2001 as a foster home and adoption counselor (AC). As an AC, I could do home visits and determine the best place for each of my foster dogs in addition to finding homes for many other rescue GSDs. I have fostered 25 GSD’s for rescue and although I have loved all of my foster pups, I resisted the temptation to adopt until my 16th foster girl found her forever home with me. She was a 3 month old black stray from Stockton and she won me over with her affectionate impish manner. I trained her to compete in AKC obedience and rally and she earned several obedience titles. She was also a great stepmom to many puppies that I fostered and I am so grateful for all that my rescue girl taught me.
For the last several years I have been on the Board of Golden State German Shepherd Rescue and I have organized the auction at our annual fundraiser, collecting donated items and displaying them at our Galas. All of the proceeds directly fund rescue and I am proud of the part I have played in helping to raise money to save these wonderful dogs. Through rescue I have met many wonderful people with whom I share a common vision to help this noble breed. Every success story of a german shepherd in a new loving home reminds us why we do this work, one look in their eyes says it all.
Debbi is shown with her black rescue GSD Gracie, and non-rescue GSD Nikki.