Volunteer Of The Month

2010 Volunteers of the Month - 2009 Volunteers of the Month
2008 Volunteers of the Month - 2007 Volunteers of the Month

December 2010 - Gisela Eastham

Gisela Eastham

Gisela has been volunteering at MaxFund since 2004, and has been a real asset to the shelter ever since, especially when it comes to helping with mobile adoption and adoption events! These events are a great way to generate interest in the pets and the shelter, yet MaxFund often struggles to find volunteers willing to help with these events. Gisela is always first to sign up, and if she signs up, she shows up. She stays for the full event and often even helps to set up and tear down the event. Since most volunteers do not attend the events, she even takes
photos and uploads them to the volunteer forum so everyone can see how the events go and generate some interest in volunteering for these events as well!

In addition to mobile adoptions, Gisela can often be found at the shelter helping with the dogs and walking them with other volunteers. She is always friendly and has a smile to share with everyone. The MaxFund and the dogs are lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer to represent them in the community. Thanks to her, more dogs have gotten adopted, and more people have learned about what a great shelter MaxFund is!

Thank you Gisela for all you do for MaxFund! All the animals say thanks as well!

November 2010 - Shelley Minyard

Shelley Minyard

Shelley is an amazing volunteer who has managed to be important to both the cats and dogs. It is rare for a volunteer to gravitate toward both, but Shelley has. Shelley is always ready to help the front desk when they need small dogs brought to the front or returned to their kennels. She is a regular small dog walker, which is especially helpful during the week when many volunteers cannot assist. Shelley is there so often you'd almost think she worked at MaxFund.
Shelley also works with the cats, especially the cats in the Incoming room. Many volunteers cannot come during the week, but Shelley often brightens the days for the cats with her presence and love. She understands their individual personalities and tries to accommodate each. She has recently become a mentor, which will be fantastic for new volunteers.

Not only does Shelley help at the shelter, she also fosters. We have heard updates on the transformation that has taken place for Louey, who was a grumpy cat at MaxFund but is now fantastic and loving at her house. He limped at MaxFund but has slowly gotten better at Shelley's house.

Thank you, Shelley, for all you do for the wonderful animals at MaxFund. We're lucky to have you.

October 2010 - Our Fabulous Fosters!

Octobers's Volunteer of the Month is actually a group of people instead of one individual. We want to extend a well-earned thank you and public acknowledgment to all our wonderful foster parents, without whom so many of our dogs and cats would not experience the care and quality of life that they have. Our foster homes do so much great work for MaxFund animals and their efforts deserve to be recognized!

Often we have animals come in to the shelter who have emotional, behavioral, or physical challenges. Sometimes they are old and their chances of being adopted are slim or they are traumatized coming in to the shelter environment. Sometimes they are litters of kittens or puppies that need round the clock care until they are old enough for adoption. Sometimes animals need surgery or medical care and recovery would be best accomplished in a home setting. Sometimes they don't adapt to the chaos of the shelter and getting them into a home is necessary to relieve their stress. Sometimes they are animals whose end of life is near, and we want them to be as comfortable and happy as possible as "hospice fosters" (for more details on hospice fostering see this recent article from the USA Today). Sometimes they have behavioral challenges that make potential adopters pass them over, but in a home environment those issues can get better or go away completely, enabling them to find their forever homes much more readily. And sometimes they are just in the shelter for so long that they become depressed; going out to homes makes these dogs and cats brighten up and regain their spirits.

Our foster families are selfless and enormously generous to accept these animals into their home, offer training and socialization in a stable environment and most importantly, offer their love and care. Sometimes they are foster families for a few weeks, sometimes a few months, sometimes for the life of the animal but no matter the duration, they help out in ways that can't be measured.

We currently have 25 dogs and 52 cats in foster homes, with 32 homes signed up to foster dogs and 34 homes signed up to foster cats. These animals currently in foster care, as well as those past and future animals in need of foster placement say a big THANK YOU to all of our great foster families! If you would like to learn more about becoming a foster parent please contact our Foster Coordinator at fostersatmaxfundvolunteersdotorg  (fostersatmaxfundvolunteersdotorg)   or 303-332-7276. The emotional rewards from helping these needy animals is beyond compare.

September 2010 - Shelley Bershof

Shelley Bershof

Shelley has been a volunteer at MaxFund for a few years. She started as a cat volunteer and for a while, she even worked in the front office. She took some time off, and we are lucky to have her back as a volunteer. Shelley loves the cats and spends countless hours with them. She is always willing to lend a hand--bottle feeding a cat, scooping litter boxes, playing with cats or assisting the vet staff when asked. She has a genuine love for the cats and is always looking out for their best interests.
She is so considerate of their feelings and does everything she can to make them happy. A perfect example is Toulouse, a cat with severe allergies. He breaks out if he eats food he is allergic to, so he cannot have the regular treats that other cats may get. Shelley noticed that Toulouse always watches and seems sad that he doesn't get treats. So she went to a natural pet food store and got allergy-free treats. She made sure that he can eat every ingredient in the treats. Now he, too, can enjoy treats and not be left out!

Shelley also jumps in when help is needed outside the shelter. Two years ago, one of MaxFund's foster cats got out of her foster home. Shelley was one of the volunteers who showed up to search for the cat. Similarly, when a baby kitten was recently found in the alley unable to move on its own, Shelley rushed over there to save the kitten. She even stayed up all night bottle feeding the kitten.

Not only is Shelley great with the cats, but also other volunteers. She is friendly, polite and knowledgeable. She is a pleasure.

Thank you, Shelley, for all you do! The cats at MaxFund thank you too.

August 2010 - Christopher Windedahl

Christopher Windedahl

Chris has been volunteering at MaxFund for about a year, and has become quite an asset to the shelter! He has become someone that the front office staff can really depend on to help with lobby greeter duties (which we always seem to need, especially on weekends!) with a great attitude, often helping bring dogs to the front to meet with potential adopters and then back to their cages after their meetings. He also helps with meet and greets, providing tours of the MaxFund to visitors, helping out with planning and
attending events, and anything else the staff might ask of him! He brings new ideas to the table and loves each animal as if it were his own. One nominator wrote, "His chest is not big enough to contain the love in his heart for the animals".

Chris is at the shelter on a regular basis, usually 6 days a week and always knows what is happening with the cats and dogs in MaxFund's care. When there is a stray in the area or a loose dog he will put himself in harms way to try and help! He is truly an animal lover at heart and very helpful to everyone involved with the care of our pets.

In addition to all these other responsibilities, Chris has also helped out with new volunteers wishing to get comfortable with the procedures of volunteering by becoming a Volunteer Mentor!

Thank you Chris for all you do for MaxFund! It doesn't go unnoticed and is much appreciated by the staff, the volunteers, and of course the animals!

July 2010 - Jennifer Causey Ruben

Jennifer Ruben

Jennifer has been a volunteer at MaxFund for many years. Most people have never seen her or even heard of her, because she does her work in the background. For three years, she has posted cat photos and bios to Petfinder.com, Pets911.com and 800-Adopt-A-Pet, and these sites trickle down to many other sites for even more exposure! Petfinder has indicated that a large percentage of all adopted animals are found first on Petfinder, so this is obviously a very important place for MaxFund's cats to be. Each week, Jennifer has the responsibility of deleting and adding all new cats, which can often be quite the chore, especially across three
websites. Thanks to her, we know that all external websites are up-to-date with the cats' information.
Jennifer has shown commitment and dedication for so many years--all without anyone knowing. She is willing to add more websites when we get the opportunity to feature cats on another site. She also posts cat photos and bios to her Facebook pages.
Thank you, Jennifer, for helping to get our cats exposure, so we can get even more cats adopted!

June 2010 - Betty Adler

Betty Adler

For roughly two years, Betty has been one of the faithful, weekly, small dog walkers. She comes in during the week, which is a time when the dogs desperately need the attention and walks. She has a calm and loving manner, and she is often in tune with the dogs’ needs. On her daily walks with the dogs, she likes to spend some cuddle time with each dog to help them with the shelter experience. She has shown endless patience and love to the small dogs.
She frequently sits in the lobby with new frightened dogs. She’ll put them in her lap and give them the loving comfort they need. The shelter is a scary place for new dogs, and she uses her gentle touch to help them feel loved and comforted. Betty has also participated in the Champs program to help dogs increase their chance at adoption. She also has taken dogs on overnights so they can experience a calm environment while they wait for adoption. Similarly, she has fostered dogs.
Betty notices and communicates all the myriad details about the new little dogs. She is quiet and committed, yet always friendly to all.
Thank you, Betty, for your long-term commitment to the small dogs and for loving them as much as you do!

May 2010 - Nancy Kall

Nancy Kall

Nancy is an amazing volunteer who works wonders with our frightened cats. Many of these are cats who are so scared that they will swat at you and hover in their cages. Nancy has no fear and has a very gentle way of interacting with them. Nancy is able to pet and hold cats that other volunteers cannot get near. For example, Isabella was a beautiful cat who would not let anyone near her. Nancy was able to move Isabella, a shy Siamese, from swatting and being scared to enjoying petting and being held, and coming out of her cage. Isabella was adopted a month or so ago, and she seems to be very happy in her new home. Furthermore, Nancy was willing to spend time teaching other volunteers how to hold Isabella.
Nancy has also fostered some of our “feral” cats and gotten them socialized. Two of them have even been adopted. Nancy has also agreed to take home any cats who are near death so they will not have to die alone at the shelter.
Nancy also helps the cats who have gone home. A couple of years ago, one of our foster cats got out of her home. Many volunteers searched for the cat for weeks and had no luck catching her. Nancy is the person who finally got the cat safely trapped and back at home. Recently, one of our scared cats got adopted. Nancy has worked intensely with the adopter to give him advice and help the cat get situated. She has talked to the adopter on the phone and gone over to his house daily to help with the cat. Thanks to Nancy, the cat is still in the home and has not been brought back to MaxFund.
Nancy has done all of this while working and feeding feral colonies at a very early hour. She is a true angel. It is because of her that so many of our scared and shy cats have made progress and gotten adopted. Thank you Nancy for your wonderful patience, loving and guidance.

April 2010 - Joanie Jones

Joanie Jones

Joanie has been volunteering at MaxFund for roughly 7 or 8 years. She is always in the background so many people do not know her, but she is a gem. She used to volunteer cleaning cages in the Incoming cat room. After doing that for many years, she switched to becoming an important member of the Petsmart adoption team. Before a cat can go to Petsmart to be adopted, their files must be copied, they must have current vaccinations, all tests must be completed, they must have a tag and they must be chipped. Joanie manages this whole process.
She works behind the scenes to get all of this ready so that when a space opens at Petsmart for a new cat, we have cats ready to go.
Joanie often has to work with the vet staff to accomplish this goal. Sometimes it takes several weeks of working with the vet staff to get everything completed for one cat. Joanie has been willing to drop everything at a moments notice to ensure files are worked up and the cats are prepped, so we can keep our cages at Petsmart full and increase our adoption success. At the last adopt-a-thon at Petsmart, Joanie was invaluable in making sure we could take as many kittens to the store as possible. We wouldn't have had near the success if it hadn't been for her hard work to get these cats prepped and ready to go.
Thank you Joanie for your long-term dedication to the MaxFund and for making sure we have a smooth process for taking cats to Petsmart. You are invaluable. The kitties thank you!

March 2010 - Carolyn Carder

Carolyn has volunteered at the MaxFund for roughly 18 years and is one of the many unsung heros. She comes in weekly and spends her time in the office. She volunteers for one of the toughest jobs, which is taking calls from people wanting to give up their animals. Carolyn listens to people and tries to give them suggestions for keeping their animals, and she guides them to additional resources. Dealing with people giving up their animals is quite tough. Often people do not like hearing when MaxFund has no room for their animals, and they get angry. But Carolyn is efficient, honest and helpful to those people.
Carolyn stays in tune with what is happening with the animals at MaxFund. She also helps to keep the back office clean. Although most people would not know Carolyn by name or face, she has become an important member of the front office.
Thank you Carolyn for all you do!

February 2010 - Kathy Kelly-Watson

Kathy Kelly-Watson

Kathy is one of the regular large dog walkers for MaxFund. She walks the dogs just about every day, which is especially important during the week when MaxFund is short on volunteers. She is one of the first to help the new dogs that come to Maxfund, and she gives them love and reassurance. Many of these dogs are housed in the shed, and she makes sure they are walked and made to feel welcomed. She walks some of the more difficult dogs and they sense her calmness. In addition to walking dogs during the week and occasionally on weekends, she also escorted one of the dogs to Puttin on the Max this year.
Kathy helps observe the new dogs and pass information along to the bio writers, and her observations show how much she loves each and every one of them and what their unique and beautiful traits are. She gets to know the dogs likes, dislikes, and temperament and is very instrumental in passing this information along. If she sees a change in a dog's behavior, she will be sure the people who write the bios know of the behavior change.
Kathy has a great attitude and a great love for the MaxFund dogs. She also is quick to help other volunteers when needed, and has recently taken on the responsibility of becoming a Volunteer Mentor, helping volunteers by giving them many helpful tips on dogs and helping them get comfortable with walking the dogs.
Thank you Kelly for all your love and dedication. The dogs thank you too!

January 2010 - Louise Pickford

Louise Pickford

Louise is a wonderful volunteer who has proven her dedication to MaxFund time and again in so many ways, especially with her devotion to the small dogs. She is always an advocate for what's best for the small dogs and works tirelessly to see them walked, exercised, groomed and given proper care and attention. She is a regular dog walker during the week, which is when dog walkers are desperately needed. She is an outspoken advocate for them and she is always watching out for their every need -- making sure they get what is needed to make their stay at MaxFund as good as possible.
Not only does Louise take care of the dogs while they are at MaxFund, she also works hard to make sure the dogs get adopted. For example, she spent a lot of time with the skipperkees that were rescued from a basement two years ago and helped each one in getting adopted. They were terrified and highly unsocialized. She spent endless hours holding and cuddling them, sitting with them in their cages, playing with them in the rehab range and getting them leash-trained.
Louise also does a magnificent job writing the dog bios. She is conscientious about keeping current on the bios so the dogs have the best chance of finding a home as soon as possible. She is extremely valuable to the dogs and even though she has suffered innumerable nips and bites, she doesn't give up on any of the little dogs – no matter how difficult they are.
Thank you Louise for your love and devotion. The dogs thank you too.

Volunteer of the Month Nominations

Volunteers are an integral part of the MaxFund, and we are so thankful for all of you! You have contributed thousands of hours and allowed MaxFund to fulfill its mission. There are some whose efforts are particularly commendable, and we would like to recognize these people. Starting in April, we will celebrate and honor one volunteer each month for his/her exemplary contributions and good work.
Because the staff cannot always see all that volunteers do, we need your help in nominating volunteers. The nominations do not necessarily have to be based on time contributed. Rather, we need your help in recognizing people who go above and beyond, whether that’s clipping cat nails, walking around the neighborhood picking up dog poop, doing laundry for hours or any number of things. If you believe someone should be honored, please use the form below to nominate the person. A committee will choose the winner each month and winners will be posted!

Your Name
Your Email Address
Volunteer you are nominating
Reason for nomination

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