"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
Ellen Bridle - honored September 5, 2015
Ellen, tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
I mostly volunteer at the front desk. I love working as a greeter; it gives me the chance to work with people and animals. I love both parts! I like talking to people, making sure they feel welcome, and helping them get the information they need to choose the perfect pet. I'm also happy to do whatever else is needed; be it filing or answering questions on the phone - anything I can so that staff are free to do the things that only they can do. I'm starting to sit in on adoption interviews, and hope to do more of that as time goes on. I also occasionally walk dogs. I have tweaked my back a couple of times, though (I'm a sucker for the big dogs) so I don't do this too often these days.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I have volunteered in a number of organizations, and particularly like being at NKLA. First, because I strongly support what Best Friends and NKLA are doing. Through being involved in volunteer opportunities, it's positively changed my outlook on approaches to the adoption process. Then, it's nice to be in an organization that is managed professionally. I also love the community at NKLA. It's not just that volunteers and staff are nice and capable people - which they are - but also, people are supportive of each other. I feel appreciated as a volunteer. And there's an active community of volunteers who share ideas on facebook and in person. And NKLA is flexible, giving us a range of opportunities, and letting us come when and for as long as we want. Also, we are trained, and given the chance to build our skills - and when we have something to contribute, people listen. And lastly, there's the chance to spend time with some wonderful animals! I'm a dog person, and there are always some fantastic dogs - and some pretty cute cats too.
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
I started at NKLA about a year ago, I think, but got much more heavily involved in January, once I got the chance to volunteer at the front desk, and spare my back!
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
I'm retired now. I used to be a Product Manager in the technology industry, and after that, I was a consultant to both technology companies and non-profits. These days when I'm not at NKLA, I sing in an Eastern European women's chorus called Nevenka. I also get very heavily involved in election campaigns, which could impact my hours at NKLA in 2016; I like to cook, and make chocolates; and I spend a lot of time with my dog.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
I don't have one favorite experience from volunteering at NKLA, but seeing animals go home, especially older ones and long-time residents, never gets old. My favorite dog, Honey Bun, was at NKLA for ages, and finally went home about a week ago. She had a huge crowd sending her off. She looked like a movie star surrounded by paparazzi! That's something I won't forget anytime soon.
Do you have any pets?
My dog Dylan is about 11 now, and we've had him coming up to 10 years. He's a rescue, of course, who looks like he could be a boxer/beagle mix. He may be a senior, but nobody's told him. So he still does 2 hours of agility class each week, and is usually the best dog in his class. He's very smart - too smart, I think sometimes. But he's very keen to please, and very well behaved. It's hard to understand how 2 sets of owners could have surrendered him to a shelter. We keep his mind occupied with agility and food games, as well as lots of walks where he earns food rewards for various things. He has got some health problems; he has inflammatory bowel disease, and we're having trouble keeping weight on him. We're very glad we bought pet insurance!
What others are saying about Ellen Bridle:
"Ellen is an absolutely splendid person to be around. She's so incredibly helpful and it's great to regularly know she's here to assist the adoptions staff on our busiest days. Her help, great attitude and flexibility are endlessly appreciated and we're so thankful to have her! " - Erika , Volunteer Coordinator