"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
Kristin L. - honored April 6, 2015
Kristin, tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
I normally work predominantly in the classes and events that involve training and development of positive dog behavior, such as playgroups, obedience classes, and recently the Blue Paw dogs. I love the opportunity to help them become more adoptable and home-ready while also broadening my training and behavior education knowledge and skill base. I also enjoy helping with adoptions, mobiles, and working with the shy dogs, but unfortunately my time is somewhat limited, so I often have to choose one over the other. During kitten season, I also foster weaned kittens, which my dogs adore helping out with, especially cleaning them and playing with them.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I have been a supporter of Best Friends for years and first heard about the LA branch while looking for a dog when my last one passed. I went in with my boyfriend, and we immediately noticed how nice, clean, and well-kept the center was and how friendly and knowledgeable the staff was. We adopted a young dog, and I knew I wanted to be involved in helping in the plight to educate the public and save as many animals as possible from needless death, and Best Friends stands for all of the principles I would be happy to represent and share with others.
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
Although I wanted to join earlier, I started out at the Tar Pits super adoption event last May and at the Adoption Center the first week of July. I really enjoy spending my time with the animals and those who care so much about them, so I try to go in whenever I don't have to work.
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
Most of my time is spent working as a Project Manager in TV and corporate video production, but I also really enjoy taking long walks/hikes with my dogs in the morning and evening, reading, cooking, cake decorating, home brewing, and working on small DIY projects for my home and garden.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
About a month or so ago, we had this young herding breed dog who had been in and out of a local shelter a few times and had a rough start to life, in situations that no one had the details of but knew had been very difficult. She was very shy, fearful, and touch sensitive in many areas but very sweet and high-energy. She was also somewhat reactive to other dogs when they passed her kennel area.
I received permission to take her up to the sheep herding trainer my dogs train with for an instinct test one day, and in less than an hour of being there, her demeanor changed completely and we saw another side of her.
On her first run in the arena, she was tentative but curious and soon figured out her job. By the second run, she blossomed into a focused, confident, and driven dog who was fine with other dogs in the arena with her and very happy to be in her element with the sheep. It was amazing, even to the trainer, how much her personality came out in such a short time, given a positive experience. She was adopted the following week and has remained with her family as far as I know, so it was a very enjoyable and fulfilling moment to have witnessed.
I have to thank both the BFLA team for allowing me the opportunity to expose her to an activity she was literally born to do, and my trainer for inviting any of the BFLA dogs up for an instinct test at no charge in the future. It's quite amazing to see how wonderful people can be!
Do you have any pets?
I have two awesome rescue dogs (pictured with me) and three cats who all sort of adopted me in various ways. Tessie is a 7 yr. old GSD/Staffordshire Terrier/Golden Ret. mix who is a real love. She's getting ready to take her AKC Canine Good Citizen test next month, so she can bring joy and comfort to those who really need it. She is excellent with her nose, enjoys her sheep herding classes, loves a good nap, and understands many more words than I would've ever imagined she could.
Brenna is a BFLA alumnus, a 2.5 yr. old Husky/GSD/Dalmation/Border Collie mix with never-ending energy, a lot to say, and a true love for all dogs and people alike. She's very smart and clever (sometimes too clever,) and enjoys solving her puzzles, finding food and treats hidden for her, her sheep herding class, running alongside the bike, and agility at her daycare.
Both adore car rides, trips to wineries, parks, and dog parks, and they're great travel companions!
My cats are all rescues as well, and they sort of wandered into my life. One came up to me at a grocery store parking lot, one was surrendered by some college girls who couldn't keep him after the semester, and the other was born in my neighborhood, ended up under my house with his brother, and was a bottle baby we kept, who grew up to be over 15 lbs. They all have a ton of stories, but each is an important part of the fun furry family!
What others are saying about Kristin:
"Kristin has a busy, unpredictable schedule, yet she is always at the Center. From working with Blue paw dogs to going on the hike with a strong adolescent, Kristin is committed to the dogs. She is a terrific and confident handler as well and the dogs love her. She comes up with innovative training solutions, such as herding classes for Sadie. She comes to classes often and is always eager to learn more about training." - Jami LoVullo, Behavior and Enrichment Lead