Jim started volunteering at FSD in January, 2014 as a dog walker, then advanced to training dogs where he has dedicated countless hours to polishing shelter dogs into skilled service dogs. Jim has also donated his time and talent to help with a variety of projects, including managing the volunteer database, improving our data collection and analysis process, speaking to all types of groups about the mission of FSD, and solving technology problems. He is a jack of all trades, and always willing to identify solutions to help make the lives of our staff easier. We are so grateful that he chooses to volunteer his time to Freedom Service Dogs! Here’s more about Jim’s experience as a volunteer in his own words:
“Volunteering has been a great way to give me my “dog fix” while helping dogs. Initially, I played with and walked dogs. As I learned more about FSD and gained experience working with dogs my role has expanded greatly. I found myself spending more time helping the neediest adoptable dogs to give them a better shot for a good life long home. Some of these dogs had heart wrenching stories and needed gentle, positive experiences in their lives. Eventually, each was placed into caring and loving forever homes. I cannot take full credit, but still feel a great sense of pride in improving their lives.
My view of my role as a volunteer took a dramatic change when I attended graduation. If you haven’t, you must go to a graduation. Listening to clients talk about life before and after, hearing how families had gotten back together and seeing the clients-dog bond was very emotional. Now I find doing presentations and dog demos at schools, businesses, and community groups very rewarding. Each time, I see the appreciation the audience feels for the work we do.
I am very fortunate to have the time and flexibility to do a wide range of activities at FSD, working with other volunteers and the staff! I encourage all volunteers; no matter how little time you have to take a few hours a month to help FSD. It still makes me smile when I see a dog’s eyes roll back in their head as I pet them behind the ears. And, the moment when a client’s wife told me that FSD gave her back her family stays with me every day. These make all the time spent helping at FSD priceless!
If you are new or it has been a while since you have volunteered, give Kerri a call or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can schedule a time to introduce/re-introduce you to the organization. I am also glad to spend time to help start or restart your volunteering experience. “