I got my first rescue animal, an orange tabby, when he followed me home on a short walk from a friends’ house when I was 5 years old. After putting up signs and asking around, we found out the cat had belonged to a family who moved away and decided to leave him behind. My parents said I could keep him so I named him Dopey, after the baby dinosaur who followed Will and Holly back to their cave on Land of the Lost. And so began my life of owning rescue pets.
In 2009, our dog Ferris (who I found as a 4 month old puppy that was dumped near a local Home Depot in 2001) died suddenly from cancer. Devastated, I felt like I wanted to do something in her memory, and thus became the first of many years of participating in an annual fundraiser for the Pasadena Humane Society. Helping an organization that does so much for so many animals (including wildlife) was wonderful, so I decided this year I would do something different to promote animal adoption and help raise money for them by creating a calendar to give as a gift to donors. It ended up raising over $50,000 for PHS. Not too shabby!
The staff and volunteers at PHS were so helpful and supportive of me and my project. I was in their office a couple of times a week for two months collecting donation letters and address labels and shipping out the calendars. I would take occasional breaks from the shipping and post some pictures and videos online of dogs and cats in need of homes at the facility, which helped get them adopted. I loved being there and seeing that things I was doing for them was actually making a difference.
I had met a few of the Board members while I was there and had several conversations about the organization. At one point, a Board member asked if I was interested in becoming a member myself. I was so honored that they would even consider me, but I also wasn’t sure what that would entail. After additional in person and email conversations and a lunch meeting with one of them, I got all of my questions answered. I was ready to move forward with whatever I needed to do to become a member. I had another meeting with 3 more board members, which was scary and exciting because it was like being interviewed for a job you’ve always loved doing but have never had in any official capacity.
Last week, the Board members had a meeting and it was decided by unanimous vote to have me become an official Board member, which I gleefully accepted. I love that I get to be part of an organization that helps so many animals, including two of our dogs, which we adopted from PHS after they had been found wandering the local streets. Waking up to them next to me in my bed, I think of the life they had before being rescued and it makes me sad. But then I look at their faces and I can tell they are happy, grateful and obviously, spoiled. I am totally ok with that.