"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
Laura Siciliano - honored November 2017
Laura tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
I have been involved in many aspects of Best Friends during my short time here. I initially helped with the socialization of cats, which was very rewarding as I am truly a cat person at heart...but if you tell the dogs I'll deny it! I started working with the dogs shortly after, as my heart broke seeing these big majestic animals confined to kennels. Then the first kitten season rolled around, and I was instantly smitten with our nursery babies. I even fostered one sweet little kitten named Yakov for a few weeks, but I was so upset about returning him that my husband volunteered to do it for me because I couldn't stop sobbing. Along the way, I somehow got recruited to help out at some of our off-site events and have participated in most of the bigger events, like Super Adoption, Strut Your Mutt, and Bow Wows and Meows each year, in addition to being a big dog handler for the mobile adoption team. Aside from helping to find forever homes for our animals, I think the most rewarding thing I have done during my time with Best Friends is Slumber Buddies. Seeing a dog relax and decompress from shelter life simply warms my heart. Not to mention we can learn so much more about them that can then be shared with prospective adopters. I'm three for five with finding permanent homes for my past slumber buddies...but hoping to be five for five soon!
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
Our only daughter went back east for college, and I found myself looking for something to do to fill my evenings and weekends, which used to be consumed by her sporting events. My husband suggested volunteering and my daughter suggested doing something with animals (as they are and always have been my passion), and their combined ideas naturally led me to Best Friends.
What has kept me coming back, however, is the amazing staff and volunteers...not to mention the animals!! I have never been around a group of people so committed to the welfare of the animals in their care. The passion of each and every employee for the animals which they look after is remarkable and makes me want to step up and do more to help them ALL find their forever homes.
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
I've been volunteering at Best Friends for just under two years. I can't believe it's been that long, but on the other hand the time has flown by!
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
When I'm not volunteering, I'm fortunate to have a career that I love, teaching second grade at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks. My students keep me feeling young and exhausted! I also started a Compassion in Action afterschool class this year, where the children learn about many different volunteer organizations and then do hands-on projects to help each group further their mission. And, yes, Best Friends was the first organization they learned about! When I'm not at school or Best Friends, I enjoy hanging out with my husband, watching my daughter's college softball games, attending sporting events, spending time outdoors, and traveling.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE moment while volunteering for Best Friends was at our last Bow Wows and Meows event when Midas, a beautiful, soulful, and stubborn dog who had been in the shelter system for nearly three years, finally found his forever home. My husband and I had fallen in love with him (after having several sleepovers and lots of adventures), but we knew that our current situation would not be ideal. When Midas met his new mommies, I knew it was meant to be. We get regular updates from them and we couldn't have asked for a better family for him. Wishing that same happiness for all animals. ️
Do you have any pets?
My husband and I currently have three cats who entertain us each and every day. Kobe is a twenty pounds Maine Coon mix, who found his way to us at a softball tournament eight years ago. Then we adopted Bentley, a grey tuxedo, from a rescue group about two years ago to keep Kobe company. And finally we stumbled upon Cosmo, a long-haired tabby, who was rescued from the streets with his siblings and mom just over a year ago. Cosmo was a necessary addition to keep the peace as Bentley was driving Kobe crazy with his endless energy. We are happy to report that three seems to be the Zen number for our household, as long as Zen includes lots of thumps and bumps and mayhem ensuing!
What others are saying about Laura:
Laura is such an asset to our team! She gives the dogs a lot of undivided attention, brings them home for sleepovers, takes them out on hikes and does everything she can to help promote them for adoption all while doing it all with a big smile!-Behavior Team
Laura is not only awesome with our nursery kittens, but is also a gem with our more challenging large dogs. She has been able to get to know several of our long term residents and has helped them find their forever homes. We appreciate her (and her husband and cats) time and patience when taking home our pups!-Denise, Foster Coordinator
Laura brings such positivity to our volunteer and foster programs! She went above and beyond to help one of our center dogs, Midas, find his adopted home and we cannot thank her enough for the time and attention she gives to our dogs and kittens. Liz, Volunteer Engagement Mgr