Volunteer of the Month – December
Dog whisperer and volunteer extraordinaire, Karen has been a volunteer at the Humane Society of Sheboygan County since January 2017.
Karen came to us post-retirement, and was so excited to finally have the time to volunteer. She immediately chose interacting with animals, as she always wanted to work with animals and had a special sense for it. Especially dogs and horses. Her friends even tease her about being a “dog whisperer”.
Karen is primarily a dog walker and especially enjoys the hands-on contact with the dogs. She loves helping the dogs to relax, learn manners and relieve stress. The mutual exercise time is also a bonus. Karen recalls that she was originally surprised how fun it is to work with the other amazing volunteers and staff that share animal compassion. As a dog walker, she prepares a weekly “Dog Report”. This report helps volunteers with specific dog information including helpful hints and procedure updates. When she’s not walking dogs, she can be found helping out at events and training new volunteers. In the past, Karen was involved in the behavior modification and enrichment programs, as well as play groups. Although these programs aren’t currently active, she emphasizes that these skills are still utilized.
One of Karen’s favorite memories involves a dog named Blaze, a Doberman/St. Bernard mix. Blaze was huge, about the size of a small pony. Karen was totally crazy about him and they immediately bonded. She recalls working with him on his obedience skills. As a reward, the two would chase each other around the yard and Blaze would gallop like a pony. She loved witnessing his joy when running free, like watching a movie of wild horses galloping on the open plains. Karen says she saved videos of this and to this day watches them when she needs a little lift.
Karen expresses how rewarding volunteering at the Humane Society of Sheboygan County is. She says she is often asked , “How can you do that, don’t you want to take all the dogs home?” Her response is always, “It brings happiness to their day and mine. To witness the love you get back from each animal that you interact with is priceless.” Although there are sad times and heartbreaks, it only makes her more determined to help. We are so grateful for you Karen, your compassion and dedication to shelter pets is indescribable!