December 2014 Volunteer of the Month: Amy Heil

by Rebecca Reid • Posted in: Volunteer of the Month, Volunteering

This December, Austin Pets Alive! wants to thank and congratulate our next Volunteer of the Month- Amy Heil.

Amy HeilHere is what her fellow APA!-ers had to say about her:

“Amy is constantly at Parvo taking care of the pups. She brings the pups fresh chicken / turkey from whole foods market to entice the ones to eat. She is competent with her medical skills and always looking for what is best for the pups. She always willinging to go the extra mile to make sure the pups are comfortable and she gives them love and attention even if it took us 5 hours to finish out treatments. She is also always cleaning because she doesn’t want our pups or volunteers to have to work in filth. She has often not eaten lunch so she can make sure the Parvo unit is clean. She has stayed 8 hours back in the Parvo ward to find if up things. On days she is not volunteering she is staying up to date with all the pups progress by watching the reports. She shows the pups as well as her co volunteers love and compassion. I couldn’t have asked to have a better co volunteer. She also does ruff tails and has been fostering suki for a year and half.” – Nicole Freeland, fellow volunteer

“I have been volunteering with Amy in the parvo unit for 1 year now and I am just blessed to know this person, this amazing human being. On her days in the parvo ward, she stops by whole foods and gets our puppies fresh chicken and turkey just for them to try to entice them to eat. Often times, after our treatments are done, we have stayed longer just to snuggle the puppies even when Amy’s stomach is growling. Amy has held and whispered loving sweet words into a puppy’s ears has they took their last breath. She has stayed with me in the parvo ward for 8 hours because she wanted to continue to help intake puppies or just clean the unit. She is always concerned not only about the puppies welfare but unit has a whole. She always make sure it is clean to help prevent flys from bugging our pups. She always makes sure the pups aren’t lying in their own vomit and even if she has to change their towels multiple times because they keep vomiting , she will do it to make sure they don’t have to smell their own vomit and maybe the pups can get somewhat comfortable. She also fosters dogs and have successfully got them adopted. One dog Suki, she had for 1 year and half. She has treated every single one of those dogs as her own and cries bittersweet tears when they get adopted. She is quick to swoop in and save the day when she is available to foster. I can’t say it enough, she is just an amazing person and volunteer.” – Anonymous

“Amy always goes above and beyond for our dogs in the Parvo ward. She regularly brings in fresh chicken and turkey for them (so they have something more tempting to eat than wet dog food), stays a long time, taking photos to post to our FB page to update everyone about our pups and taking care of the Parvo ward (staying extra time to clean, do laundry, and give the pups extra cuddles). This is all in addition to her bubbly positive attitude. I know Amy does a lot more for APA as well, as I see her posts on facebook about walking dogs and other tasks.”– Breanne Cope, fellow volunteer

We sat down with Amy to get to know her a bit better, and here is what we learned:

How did you get interested in volunteering at APA!?

I became interested in APA! in 2010 after seeing them at Lakeline and I believe I was speaking to Aaron Caldwell who was telling me about APA and no kill and how they just moved into their building and needed volunteers. I went home, signed up and the rest is history :)

What are you most passionate about at APA!?

I think I am most passionate about the parvo program. That is where I volunteer the most. To have a program like that is amazing. I have to think that every pup that comes into our program has hit the jackpot. They are given a chance that so many pups never get. I have heard of other rural shelters that wont even test a pup if it suspects parvo: it’s an instant death sentence. We have an amazing 85-90% save rate it’s so amazing to see these pups beat the odds!

What is your favorite thing to do at APA!?

My favorite thing to do at APA! is foster. My husband will only let us have one dog in the house so I get my fill by fostering. I love bringing a dog into a home, some of which have NEVER been in one before and watching them learn how to be a dog. Most of them sit back and watch my dog and by the time they leave they are acting JUST like him, lol!

What are some words of wisdom for new APA! volunteers?

Words of wisdom I guess would be no matter how tough things may be these animals are given a chance and surrounded by people who love them and willing to fight for them. It seems no matter what need an animal may have everyone rally’s to make sure that need is met. APA! has a program for everything it seems and its important to remember when things seem bleak that these animals were given a chance.

Do you have a favorite dog at APA!?

My favorite APA! dog would have to be long term foster Suki. I had her for a year and a half. She was heartworm positive and had skin issues. She was the sweetest dog ever. All she wanted in life was to snuggle. Days, weeks, months and almost years went by literally with no inquiries. I would send her to site and once EVERY dog but her was adopted. I never understood why and it broke my heart. FINALLY a family came to meet her and fell in LOVE. Funny thing was that week that she had her first inquiry she had THREE!! I guess the universe finally decided she was ready. Her family loves her and it makes it so worth it. Their daughter likes to dress her up in pearls :)

What’s an interesting fact about you people may not know?

Interesting fact….I lived in Greece and taught myself to read, write and speak Greek.