One of our most dedicated volunteers, Todd R has completed every training we offer and is an amazing asset!
"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
Todd R. - honored June 2016
Todd tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
Dog Kennel Cleaning, daily scooping, Walks, Playgroups, Adoptions Showcasing, Mentor work, Video & Photography for Showcase Videos, Super Adoptions, Strut Your Mutt events and most importantly, keeping Amanda on topic and in line.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I joined because my daughter, Amelia, wanted to volunteer but she was only 12 at the time. I was instantly hooked on the animals and spent a lot of time learning and getting close to the animals. The day I helped a family with a young child find their perfect dog and walk out the front door with that dog, was the day I realized that this was all I wanted to do. I have a full time job that pays our bills so when that is not getting in the way you will find me at Best Friends.
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
I started at the end of September in 2015.
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
I am a post production supervisor for a small company that makes behind the scenes videos for Blu-rays, internet and Disney Channel. I love photography and I am so happy to have these amazing dogs and cats as my subjects. I gave up all other extracurricular activities because they were keeping me from my dogs at Best Friends.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
I have been at Best Friends for about 10 months now and I have fell in love with quite a few dogs. Fortunately for me they have all been too big or rambunctious for my family to even consider adopting. I have a Pomeranian who is not very friendly with other dogs, 2 indoor cats and one outdoor cat who considers the back yard her domain. Today that all fell apart when I met Hooch. He is a 7 month old Great Dane who put his front paws gently on my shoulders when I went in to leash him up and from that point on I was convinced he would be mine. I took him to the volunteer yard where everyone came out to see his beauty and they all agreed that he should be mine. My wife Kelli and our daughter Amelia were on their way to volunteer so I sprang the news on them when they got there. Amelia was thrilled and Kelli who knew how impracticable this was also fell in love and cautiously agreed. He seemed so mello as we walked out to the yard but as I was taking him back to his kennel so that I could go get my dog at home to test him we met Amanda and Yara. Yara is good with most dogs and didn't make a sound but Hooch began barking and was not showing signs of letting up. Amanda suggested we try a small dog that would be more similar to my dog at home so we tried Polly. Polly was very polite but Hooch was not having it. My heart sunk as a I realized that this was not going to work with my dog. I don't ever remember feeling so let down. The lesson I learned today was when choosing a pet for your home, sometimes you have to think with your head and not with your heart. The dog you fall in love with at the shelter is not always ready to be in your home. We work with some amazing staff members who are seeing behaviors and signs that the less experienced are not seeing. As volunteers, we are having fun in play groups or walking dogs but there is a lot to learn if we want to be better handlers and give better advice to our clients. We want our dogs to go homes where they are going to spend the rest of their lives and get along with everyone who lives in that home.
Do you have any pets?
I have a Pomeranian, who is the prince of our home. He doesn’t get the respect that he thinks he deserves from the cats but he deals with it without too much complaining. He was found running loose outside of a Staples and we were told by the security person that he had been there for a while. He was pretty badly matted but a quick trip to the groomer and he was good as new. We scanned him for a chip to no avail and put up signs but no one responded. He became our family member and we never looked back. Last year, my wife Kelli was in a CVS and a little kitten walked up to her and said take me home. She inquired at the check out and was told that one of the employees had a litter of kittens dropped over her fence. This one wasn’t adopted so she brought it into work with hopes someone would take it home. Kelli brought it home and into our hearts. Amelia named it Hotaru, which means firefly in Japanese. She is an adorable black kitten with a lot of personality. When my best friend Tilde passed away last year I needed to find a new friend to sit with me at night while I watched TV (This was before I started spending my evenings at Best Friends) I looked online for a Maine Coon and found a very shy girl that we named Ashi (paws in Japanese) After almost a year, she now finally sits with me for a few minutes each evening for a pet. I always say “I’m in it for the long haul”. If it takes a few years to get back to what I had with Tilde then that that is what it will have to take. Our last cat is Jasmine. She adopted us many years ago. She is a strikingly beautiful gray cat that rules our back yard. She won’t every come inside and our other cats don’t every go outside. That is the way Jasmine likes it. One winter when it was raining we brought her in to our front room, away from our other pets, so that she could be warm. She hated it and we realized that she would never tolerate it. We have a covered patio and we put out blankets and some furniture for her to stay safe and out of the weather and that has made her happy. Our last pet is a leopard gecko. Not much to say but fun to photograph.
What others are saying about Todd:
Todd is an amazing asset to not just the dog department but the entire center. He is dedicated, respectful, and great at working with not only the animals but the potential adopters as well. He has shown his dedication by completing every volunteer training we offer, becoming a volunteer mentor, even sitting in on some of the dog team leadership meetings to discuss brainstorming ideas and future planning. Cant say enough! - Drew Marsden, Dog Care Manager