Austin Pets Alive! is proud to recognize our volunteer of the month for July, Sonia Merubia!
Sonia is the kind of volunteer that will step up to do anything from loving on a dog to scooping poop. She is invaluable to the APA! team.
Here is what fellow APA!-ers have to say about her:
“Sonia spends a lot of time at APA!. She spends quality time with all the dogs but also does less glamorous tasks like running and organizing laundry, filling water troughs, and cleaning up poop. She is a great advocate for the dogs and a great contributor to Big Brothers, Big Sisters” – Anonymous
“[Sonia] has helped me learn the kennel routine and has emailed me to see if I want to meet at APA!. Since I’m new this meant a lot. She is a joy to be around.” -Anonymous
“Sonia is one of those volunteers who is always at APA!, doing the less glamorous work that is absolutely essential. She does not seek the limelight, or a leadership position, but she is absolutely part of the backbone of APA!. She walks dogs at least one weekday morning every week and she is usually there all day on the weekends. Sonia sees a dog in a kennel covered with poop, and she takes it upon herself to bathe the dog and sterilize the kennel. Sonia sees that the water in the play areas is dirty, and she empties every bucket and refills it. She is always doing laundry and trying to organize the laundry room. Sonia looks out for the individual needs of the dogs. She knows them all very well, and can tell when something isn’t right. And she is one of the nicest, most helpful people when a new volunteer has questions or needs help.” –Sarah Lyons
“When I started volunteering at APA! she gave me pointers and made me feel welcome. I see her going above and beyond the call of duty, bringing food for the skinny dogs and always willing to talk with me.” –Anonymous
“She volunteers at least 3 days a week & more whenever needed. She is a well informed & patient mentor, a big sister to the pups who need her, & personally buys extras, suck as Kuranda beds, for pups that are in need.” -Anonymous
“Sonia works regular shifts as a dog walk mentor every week. However, she is also consistently at TLAC walking dogs, taking dogs out on the trail (or to lunch), helping get photos and videos taken, and doing any other tasks that need to be done. She is a best friend to several dogs and to numerous “mentees” who have not just learned kennel protocols and shelter rules from Sonia, but have also seen her continuing love and concern for the dogs at the shelter. She is an amazing asset for APA! and has earned Volunteer of The Month status.” –Bic Wood
Now for some face-to-face time with the lovely Sonia Merubia:
How did you get interested in volunteering at APA!?
I was interested in APA! way back when it first started before the year 2000 as a no-kill organization. I was on the e-mail list and so I followed all the developments of the organization. Luckily, I was able to retire early and this is where I chose to spend the bulk of my volunteer time.
What are you most passionate about at APA!?
I find the mission incredibly compelling and my heart soars every time an animal gets rescued. After over two years of steady weekly volunteering at TLAC, I enjoy the brain storming that goes on as volunteers and staff work together to solve the many problems which arise as we care for animals in this overused facility. It is a fascinating dynamic in which I am proud to participate.
What is your favorite thing to do at APA!?
My favorite thing to do is to arrive in the cool of the morning and take out as many dogs as possible and see to some of their every-day needs.
What are some words of wisdom for new APA! volunteers?
There is nothing more satisfying than leaving APA! after several hours- tired and filthy but happy because you have made a difference in the lives of several dogs.
Do you have a favorite dog or cat at APA!?
After the requisite Fannie, whom everybody loves, I love my Littles: Barrels, Athena Marie, Nicole and Zion. Honorable mention goes to Blue Steel and Papuchón as well as Morgan and Kate.
What’s an interesting fact about you people may not know?
I was born in Bolivia and spent part of my formative years in Argentina. That’s why you will hear Frank Martínez and I chattering away in Spanish.
Thank you, Sonia, for all you have done for Austin Pets Alive!.