I Volunteer for Niko & Ellie
July 05, 2012 at 1:57:25 pm | Posted by Annie M in Dog Adoption, Volunteer With AnimalsTweet
This is a blog post written by one of our amazing office volunteers, Mark A. Gonzalez.
There could be many reasons why we do and don’t decide to volunteer our time. For me, the deciding factor was finding a motive and place. It was important for me to find something that I was passionate about. It took a little bit of research and in the end I found a great way to volunteer. My story goes a little like this:
“We lived in an apartment that wouldn’t allow pets. Once we were finally able to rent a house with a yard, the very next day we were at the Baldwin Park Animal Shelter looking to adopt a pet. All it took was a trip to the Baldwin Park Shelter and witnessing the countless number of dogs that needed a loving family and home. I wished I could take every one of those dogs and provide them a loving home. Unfortunately I was only able to take one. I had my eye on a particular dog, a Lhasa Apso mix, but as luck would have it, he was getting adopted at that moment. Then from the corner of our eyes we saw a white fluffy Bichon/poodle mix named Niko. Exiting the building I thought about all the other dogs that stayed behind and at that moment it really hit hard that I needed to do something to ensure that all these wonderful dogs had the same opportunity that I was able to give Niko. We were a happy family with Niko, but the very next week we were presented with a surprise house warming gift, a beautiful Labradoodle puppy we named Ellie.
I decided to volunteer not only for my dogs (Niko & Ellie) but for the dogs that don’t have a home, are abused, mistreated and abandoned. You can never truly realize the bond between a dog and a human until you actually experience it. I would laugh at people who treated their dogs like children. I would never let a dog in my new vehicle, and would often laugh at people who would put clothes on their dogs. Now I find myself spending more money on my dogs, letting them ride along in my truck, purchasing jackets when it’s cold, back packs for our walks and letting them tag along when permitted on vacations, restaurants, even the ballpark. My wife and I have two dogs, one we adopted and one given to us by family. I wanted my adopted dog to never feel like he did in the shelter again and just be spoiled and loved.
I found something I felt passionate about, so it was easier to go out and find something to give back. I finally decided to put myself out there and just go for it instead of making excuses. Finding the right place to volunteer was a key factor. I wanted to volunteer for an organization that supported a good cause, one that I would feel comfortable with and provide a fun environment to participate in. I found this through Found Animals.
Although I volunteer for the good of others, there are many beneficial benefits I have received as a volunteer. The most important reward is knowing you are doing something for the greater good. Not to mention you receive beneficial experience in whatever you’re doing. Found Animals has provided the opportunity to network with new people, make new friends and acquaintances. It has also given me the opportunity to do something different, experience things I had not done or learned yet
A little about Niko & Ellie: Niko is a bichon poodle mix and Ellie is a labradoodle. Niko is about 2 ½ years old and Ellie just celebrated her first birthday this April. You can follow them on twitter.com /Niko_ellie.com where they talk about everything pets and educate the public.