"Our Best Friends" is a monthly 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, email the Best Friends LA Volunteer Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Chaussinand - Honored August 2019
What BFLA programs/events/volunteer roles do you find yourself participating in?
Presently, I am on both dog and cat team. I end up spending most of the time on dog team trying to do whatever job no one else feels like doing. Laundry, dishes, closing duties. Whatever needs to get done, I will help complete.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
Nearly two years ago, I was driving through Utah on a trip between National Parks and just happened upon the Best Friends headquarters. I went on a tour and absolutely loved the facility and the outlook. A while after returning to LA, I went through a difficult break up and discovered that I was feeling like I needed more positive interactions with the world. I wanted to be helping as much as I could, so I looked up Best Friends, worked an event, and then got involved coming in twice a week to the shelter. I have been fortunate that the people working and volunteering here are so giving with themselves and their time that it transformed from a place I volunteer alongside others, to a place where I get to really see my friends and help dogs/cats while doing so. Between being vegan for over ten years and wanting to help the world any way I can, Best Friends checks all the boxes.
How long have you been a BFLA/NKLA volunteer?
I have been coming in since October 2018.
What do you do when you're not volunteering (career/extracurricular activities)?
In addition to Best Friends, I volunteer at another animal sanctuary locally that is called Love Always Sanctuary. I try and go in a few times a week to help with building projects, feed the animals, clean up, etc. Whatever they need me to do, I do. Aside from that, I play in a hardcore/punk band called Bystander that tours a few times a year. I have a fascination with seeing things I have never seen before, so I love to travel.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA? Share it!
As I sit to really think about this question, I am drawn to something pretty recent. Tyson (dog) was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I believe, and the prognosis was not good. A day or two after word was out, I got a picture sent to me of two members of the dog team, Kathy and Ariana, having taken him to have a picnic in a park for lunch. Tyson looked so happy and so appreciative to be outside with them that it really touched me. Sometimes, the people and the animals at Best Friends restore my faith in the world without even knowing they do so. Since then, Tyson has been in foster care and enjoying himself and his surroundings. It is just reassuring to know these people exist.
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
Unfortunately, I travel too much to have any pets of my own. My roommate has a cat named Parker that thinks he is my owner. Working from home, we spend most of the day together. There have been quite a few dogs and cats that I encountered at Best Friends that it was difficult for me to leave there at the end of the day, I will admit.
What others are saying about Erin:
"Charles helps us with everything and anything we need. He has such a positive attitude and keeps the staff smiling and laughing at all times!" - Amanda Hamilton