Alex started volunteering at Anderson Humane to keep her sanity.
It was 2020 and the 5th grade teacher was home all day, teaching her class remotely. She missed the daily interaction with her students and was desperate to get out of her house. A life-long animal lover, Alex started volunteering to walk shelter dogs at Anderson Humane. Little did she know what a journey she’d started.
Soon she was helping with dog care at the shelter, including enrichment activities to keep the animals active and engaged. “I have a soft spot for the older dogs or those who have been at the shelter a while,” Alex said. “We mostly work with those dogs for the enrichment activities.” She often arrives home after volunteering with those doggos full of great stories to share with her husband, Garrett.
One weekend, Alex joined the welcome team for the arrival of a transport of adoptable animals from one of our out-of-state shelter partners. She also helps facilitate off-site adoption events. If there is only one animal left at the end, she’ll often drive that dog back to the shelter by way of a drive-thru pup-cup treat. Alex even directed traffic in the parking lot when all the fosters came to our shelter to pick up the beagles we helped rescue from Envigo.
“I had the best seat in the house for that,” Alex said of the beagle pick-up day. “People arriving were so eager and telling me how far they’d driven to get there. On the way out, they were excited and so appreciative.” She feels the same way about volunteering at adoption events, getting to help people excited about finding the perfect animal for their family.
When she heard about our Constant Companions program, which sends volunteers into homes to help those struggling to care for their pets, she was soon helping a senior woman in Elgin who had more cats than Alex was ever able to count. The woman had spent years rescuing dogs and cats, often keeping those she couldn’t adopt out. Over the years, the pet count had added up.
Alex helped the woman clean litter boxes, get cats who needed care to the vet, and even surrender several cats until she got to a manageable number. Along the way, Alex also connected the woman with needed community services.
Though Alex started volunteering with Anderson Humane to preserve her sanity, her motivations have now expanded. “I love being around animals,” she said, noting that her two very large dogs at home, Ryder and Ridley, both rescues, are her limit. “Plus there are so many wonderful staff members and volunteers. I’ve made a lot of friends. We have a sense of shared purpose. I really enjoy my time there.”
Her family has benefitted from Alex’s volunteer work as well. When Alex brought a dog home for Christmas to give him a break from the shelter, her parents fell in love with him. When she brought the dog back at New Year’s Eve, they decided to adopt the 3-year-old Husky.
“Doing something that makes a difference is so fulfilling,” Alex said. “When I’m at the shelter, I often tell people, ‘This is my happy place.’”