July 2015 Volunteer of the Month: Samantha Pollard

by Jen Cohen • Posted in: Volunteer of the Month, Volunteering

Thank you to July’s Volunteer of the Month, Samantha Pollard. She is a dedicated dog foster and works with some of our more difficult behavior cases.

This is what her peers have to say about her:

Samantha Pollard

[Samantha] is the best. She gives so much of herself to APA! and always does so with a positive attitude that encourages other volunteers. She works with challenging behavior dogs, fosters Senior dogs, works tirelessly on the marketing team and has been walking dogs at APA! since about day one. She has played a huge role in getting countless dogs into their forever homes. APA! is so lucky to have Samantha! —Crystal

Samantha exemplifies what APA! is all about. Everything she does is to help better the lives of the dogs at the shelter. Samantha dedicates 3 days a week, every week in any type of weather, to ensure all the dogs are walked at a reasonable time. She also trains 3 dogs that wouldn’t normally get the one-on-one attention they deserve. She is also the bio coordinator for dog-marketing–supervising a group of volunteers, encouraging other volunteers to fill out bio info on those that are most urgent and recruiting new volunteers to her team. Twice a month, she also teaches BOO classes to train new volunteers to take out orange collar dogs. If that wasn’t enough, she often fosters small dogs that need help, even those with medical needs. She also takes long stay dogs home for sleepovers-some dogs that have probably never left the shelter! —Jess B.

[Samantha] faithfully and tirelessly walks dogs & works with them to promote good behaviors. She has done this for years. She never leaves until all the dogs have been walked, enjoyed some enrichment time with her, have water in their buckets and blankets to protect them from cold weather and even colder concrete kennels. Then she goes home and pours through hundreds of dogs in PetPoint making sure they have bios to help them find homes…if they don’t, she meets the dogs and writes them herself. She does all this without ever drawing attention to herself, (unlike some other volunteers) and without expecting anything in return. She truly is here for the dogs. I think she is the best we have. I admire her greatly. —Laurie K.

And here’s what she said when we got to know her a little better:

How did you get interested in volunteering at APA!?
I volunteered at another shelter for a couple years but never fully agreed with their operations. I knew APA! existed but didn’t know much about them, so I signed up for orientation to learn more. I was hooked immediately!

What are you most passionate about at APA!?
I’m most passionate about saving the dogs that others have deemed unfit for adoption due to their behavior. We get some dogs in who have serious behavior issues, but we’ve proven over and over that if you respect them each as individuals, embrace their spirit, and put some time and effort into training them, they turn into wonderful family members.

What is your favorite thing to do at APA!?
I love working with our behavior dogs as part of the volunteer trainer team. To help a dog transform from out-of-control and completely stressed out to well-mannered and confident is so rewarding. The bond you create with the dogs while you train them is hard to describe, and their adoptions are always bittersweet. On the one hand they’re finally in the home they deserve. But on the other hand, “Hey! That’s my dog!” They all have a little piece of my heart forever.

What are some words of wisdom for new APA! volunteers?
Choose a shift or two (or three or four or…) in Vol² and make volunteering a regular part of your week. It is so much easier to make time when it’s part of your routine, and it’s a great way to get to know the volunteers who share your shift and make new friends. I’ve volunteered on Tuesday and Friday evenings for almost four years now. I look forward to my shifts every week, and you’d be hard pressed to get me to skip them.

Samantha PollardDo you have a favorite cat or dog at APA!?
Currently, it’s a tie between Dawn and Dudley. Dawn is lively, playful and happy, while Dudley is low-key, cuddly, and content. They’re so different yet they’re both so charming and lovable.

What’s an interesting fact about you people may not know?
Maybe the coordination and close attention I need for dog handling comes from years of practice. Or maybe it comes from the ten years I spent twirling baton? If anyone needs a sequined-covered leotard, there are several my parents would love to get out of their house.