"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
Sam F. - Honored July 2018
Sam, tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
I'm currently a dog volunteer at both BFLA and NKLA, and a dog team mentor at both.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
My family has had dogs my entire life, and I was involved in animal welfare since I was very young. My mom is a huge animal lover, and encouraged my sisters and I to volunteer at the local humane society. I volunteered there in high school, but found it made me way too emotional since it was a kill facility. Between high school and a little over two years ago I stopped volunteering because life got in the way (i.e. college, starting my first job, getting my MBA, etc.), and it was just too emotionally taxing for me to volunteer at the local humane society.
Then, two years ago my parents made the decision to move out of state and take their Australian Cattle Dog and English Mastiff with them. I found myself at such a loss, as I was always able to go home and get my floof fix, and now I would no longer be able to do that. I started to research ways that I could start volunteering again, as adoption wasn't an option for me at that time. Finding a no-kill facility was very important to me, as I learned from my experiences in high school I was not cut-out for kill-facilities.Through a Google search I stumbled across BFLA, and the rest is history!
I'm grateful everyday to have found a community of like-minded people who believe in animal welfare as much as I do. Plus cuddling with pups as much as I want is a really nice perk!
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
A little over two years.
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
I have worked in the beauty industry in marketing and product development for almost 10 years, and I'm also a certified makeup artist. Besides work, I really enjoy fostering the BFLA/NKLA dogs on the weekends, and taking my Adventure Buddies on outings. My husband and I really enjoy traveling, and have already started to plan our November 2019 trip! I'm also the youngest out of five, and I have seven nieces and nephews, so we end up doing a lot of traveling to see family.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
Umm it's really hard to pick just one...but the one that came instantly to mind was the first time I took Chad home for a sleepover. I wasn't really sure how he would be in a home since he had been with BFLA for almost five years. I was really preparing for the worst. But, he ended up being pretty much perfect, and it was such an absolute joy to see him be able to relax in a home. Now that he is in his own home my heart feels so full. He's a great example of why we never give up on these dogs, and how as a community we can Save Them All.
Do you have any pets?
I do not have my own pets as of right now. This was a strategic decision because without our own pets we are able to foster when needed. We are currently fostering two dogs from LA City that needed to go to foster in a home outside of LA City limits. Because we were able to commit to fostering these dogs the rescue group was able to pull them. Without having the flexibility to foster when needed these dogs weren't going to be able to be pulled.
What others are saying about Sam:
"Sam is a complete joy to work with and such an asset as a volunteer! Not only is she an amazing mentor who has been willing to jump in last minute to teach volunteer trainings, she also hosts many of our dogs who need a break on sleepovers. Her dedication to the dogs and positive attitude is infectious to staff and other volunteers. Thanks for all that you do, Sam!" - Leah, Dog Care Lead
"Sam has been an asset to the dogs for some time now! She has been so helpful in many ways. Going from dog walking and playgroups, handling big strong dogs to blue paw training and jumping in to help cover trainings. Sam has also given some of our long term residents time to crash on her couch, which the dogs could not thank her enough for! Thank You Sam for all you do!" - Amanda, Dog Behavior Specialist
"We are so fortunate to have Sam as a Best Friends volunteer! Her commitment to enriching the lives of homeless dogs is exemplary. The fact that her and her husband don't have dogs of their own so they can commit their time to fostering is incredible. Sam also jumps in last minute to help the dog team out with trainings when needed. Thank you Sam, you are such an asset to our team!! - Aimee, Volunteer Coordinator