Every weekend, a van full of dogs arrives at Anderson Humane’s South Elgin shelter
following a more than 12-hour drive from one of our source shelters in Oklahoma. The dogs are tired, hungry, and often a bit scared when they arrive. Thankfully, Kim and Steve are there to welcome them.
This married couple is part of a team of six to eight regular volunteers who prepare for and process these weekly transports of adoptable dogs. The crew arrives early to prep kennels, name tags, meals, and toys. And then the precious cargo arrives.
“I like seeing who’s coming in,” Kim said of helping the dogs off the truck. “We like to welcome them and let them know they’re okay,” Steve said. Kim admits she reassures the dogs with a little baby talk.
Steve, a forklift operator by day, said, “I get drafted to handle the bigger dogs.” He still remembers Jerry, one of those bigger dogs he was asked to walk, who “basically walked me,” trudging them through the snow while Kim looked on laughing.
Kim fondly remembers Sugar, a pit bull mix, who was timid and scared when she was loaded on the van in Oklahoma, according to the transport drivers. “When she got here, she jumped off the van, waving her tail, and licked me,” Kim said. “It was pretty surprising – and pretty cool.”
Once the transport dogs are walked, Kim, Steve, and the rest of the team take them inside for processing and, eventually, clean up.
What’s impressive is that this hours-long weekly shift isn’t the only time Kim and Steve volunteer with Anderson Humane, the organization they got introduced to when adopting two of their three dogs years ago. Every Sunday from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., you can find the pair at our South Elgin shelter, walking dogs, cleaning kennels, washing dishes, and doing anything else that’s needed.
“It’s second nature now. Every Sunday we just get up and go,” Steve said, adding that he and Kim like to help. That seems like an understatement considering all they do for Anderson Humane.
Take, for example, Kim’s birthday in 2020. Steve and their son, Alex, told her they could do anything she wanted for her birthday. Her choice was cleaning crates at the shelter. “Really, Mom?” Alex asked her. She told him there were a whole bunch of crates that needed to be cleaned and that’s what she wanted to do. (They did go out to dinner later.)
Helping others, especially those of the four-legged variety, runs in the family. Their son, Alex, volunteers at the shelter weekly, helping to care for the cats. He also created about 50 cat shelters for Anderson Humane for an Eagle Scout project in 2020.
Love of animals compels them. Kim has been an animal lover since a young age. “I like the companionship,” she said. “They’re my buddies.” Asked what keeps him coming back to volunteer, Steve said, “The dogs,” then added, “The people are nice too.”