"Our Best Friends" is a weekly installment to honor just a few of ouroutstanding 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Criss - Honored June 2017
Julie tell us.....
What BFLA programs/events/volunteer roles do you find yourself participating in?
Where do I start?! I love walking the dogs at the shelter - I find it rewarding when I see the happy looks on their faces when I come into their kennels (in AJ's case, I hear her singing!). It's the best part of my day! I can't think of anyone else who's that happy to see me! I also love doing overnights with dogs. It's crazy to see how differently they behave once they are out of the shelter environment. I love being able to let NKLA know their "at home" behaviors so they can incorporate it when they find interested families! I heard that Pico's family adopted him after they read my notes - how great is that?!! I also had a great time volunteering at the big NKLA event held in June.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I am an avid "dog person" - one step away from being the "crazy dog lady" really! I love the way this organization runs things with the dogs' best interests in mind. I love that you do so much training for volunteers. It really helps us to work with the dogs when we're walking them or even leashing them up in their kennels!
How long have you been a BFLA/NKLA volunteer?
I started in March of 2016 but life got in the way and I dropped off. So, this past winter I decided I needed volunteering back in my life and I came back this past February, took the training again and dove in feet first!
What do you do when you're not volunteering (career/extracurricular activities)?
I am a House Director (or house "mom") for a UCLA sorority, meaning I manage the house and all the repairs, act as hostess for house events, etc. While the girls are home for the summer, I am running remodeling projects. In my free time, I actually sight see, hike, go to the beach, travel and relax!
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA? Share it!
When I took AJ home for an overnight, the minute she got in the car she relaxed and I never heard another peep (or whine, or singing, or whatever!) until I took her back to the shelter! I live in a large house that has a gigantic TV room with a huge sectional in a U-shape. AJ decided that it looked like the Indy 500 racetrack and did zoomies around it for 5 straight minutes!! Then, she went into my apartment and flopped on the couch like a regular old couch potato! That was so wonderful to see that it isn't her "real" personality to be a jumping bean and to sing to us...she's just a regular dog which a bit more energy! Such a great feeling!
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
I have always had a dog in my life until 3 years ago when I had to send my little Jack Russell Terrier Kirby to doggie heaven. I've had an Old English Sheep dog (Wally), a Golden Retriver (Annie), a Yellow Lab (Buddy), a Pug (Frankie) and then Kirby (who was my nephew's rescue dog that he had to give up due to having kids and the stress it put on poor little Kirby!). I live in the house that I manage and there is a no pets rule there; so, I have to get my doggie ya-yas at NKLA! That's one reason I love the overnight program - when the girls are gone, I can do the overnights and it is so fun to be a pet-parent again. One of these days, I'll figure a way to have a dog again, but that would never interfere with my volunteering at NKLA!
What others are saying about Julie:
Julie is simply incredible! To say that she is a staff favorite would be the understatement of year! Julie's warmth, kindness and incredible positive attitude brighten everyone's day at the center! Plus, she is an awesome Gray Paw dog handler! We are so grateful for all that she does for our animals and our team. Thank you so much Julie, you are the best!
From: Katie (NKLA Lead Pet Caregiver) & Justin (NKLA Volunteer Coordinator)
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