A huge help in so many ways, Kim is always looking for opportunities to better the lives of the dogs in our care
"Our Best Friends" is a weekly installment to honor just a few of our outstanding Best Friends LA volunteers. This is your chance to get to know some of the shining stars in the Best Friends LA volunteer program! Volunteers are either nominated by Best Friends LA staff or other volunteers in our program. If you would like to volunteer, e-mail the Best Friends LA Volunteer Department at volunteerLA@bestfriends.org
Kim K.. - honored May 2017
Kim K. tell us.....
What BFLA programs/events/volunteer roles do you find yourself participating in?
I am a blue paw volunteer on the dog team and feel so lucky that I get to do a wide variety of activities at the Mission Hills pet adoption center including walking a variety of dogs, participating in big dog playgroups and dog testing with new big dogs at the center, dog walking events off site (park walks and local organized hikes) and take part in the C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life And Social Skills) program with a number of dogs at the center, helping them to learn basic behavioral skills to be more adoptable. I am a mentor volunteer helping dog volunteers who would like some one-on-one time with dogs to become more comfortable and confident with their volunteer experience and dog handling skills. I also help Best Friends photographer Lori Fusaro take photos of the new dogs at the center each week and help Best Friends public relations specialist Michelle Sathe with press/marketing opportunities when needed. I also participate in some of Best Friends' annual major adoption and fund raising events including Strut Your Mutt and NKLA/BF Super Adoption.
One of the many fantastic aspects of volunteering with Best Friends LA is that there are so many ways to participate, especially if you want to increase and improve your animal handling skills. There are lots of regular training sessions offered to volunteers (I would encourage every volunteer to take advantage of all of them!) and one-on-one time you can spend with caregivers, behavioral staff and adoption personnel that will enable you to feel more confident with a wide variety of animals and different behavioral issues and allow you to be able to speak confidently to potential adopters about different animals to help them find the perfect match for them.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I chose to start volunteering with Best Friends LA because I love dogs and loved the mission that Best Friends has to get the city of Los Angeles (and the rest of the country) to no-kill status. It's an organization and a mission I am proud to be a part of and that's why I continue to volunteer with BFLA. BFLA has a very well structured volunteer program and provides many opportunities for people with different skill levels to participate and I love that staff and volunteers are all working to move forward towards the same goal, to get all the incredible animals that come into the center adopted and help enable the city of LA to become no-kill (it's going to happen this year!). We all learn about each of the dog and cat personalities at the center and form some serious attachments to different animals, but are so thrilled when an animal finds their forever family (and are very excited when we get updates from their new families!). I've made lots of friends while volunteering at BFLA too, that's really added to my volunteer experience!
How long have you been a BFLA volunteer?
I've been a BFLA volunteer for a little over a year.
What do you do when you're not volunteering?
My background is in entertainment public relations and I recently worked for the Fox Broadcasting Company for about 16 years creating and handling the PR campaigns for many Fox series (including American Idol, The X-Files, House and Bones). Currently I am studying to become a dog trainer! I also love to hike and travel (just got back from a trip to my home state of Rhode Island, still trying to plan a trip to Scotland!), love spending time with friends and am trying to improve my photography and kayaking skills.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
I really enjoy so many things about my volunteer experience. I love participating in the C.L.A.S.S. program and helping dogs learn new skills to make them more adoptable. Some dogs are not at the center long enough to finish the program (but that means they got adopted!), but I have graduated several dogs from the program, and form a very strong bond with every dog I work with through regular time spent with them (whether they are there long enough to graduate or not). The ability to make that connection with a dog is very gratifying, especially when you know that the skills they learned will help them when they get to their new home.
Do you have any pets?
I have two love-of-my-life basset hounds - Ruby and Buster. They are both rescues, Ruby is from Basset Rescue Network at Daphneyland in Acton, CA and Buster is from Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California. Ruby is 9 and Buster is 7 and we've had each of them since they were each 2 years old. They are always making us laugh and reminding us that the love you give to an animal comes back to you tenfold. I couldn't imagine my life without them!
What others are saying about Kim:
"We appreciate Kim for so many reasons! She is so helpful, all around. It does not matter what you need help with, she will help. Kim has come a long way with her training skills and is always looking for opportunities to better the lives of the dogs in our care whether it is taking them for walks around the block, helping at events, assisting with photos, bringing them out for playgroup or training a dog through the C.L.A.S.S program. She is a wonderful asset to our teams!" - Amanda