"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
Maureen M. - honored October 2017
Maureen, tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
I'm currently a blue paw dog volunteer and I've also fostered in the past. I'd like to foster again very soon. I also worked at the [now discontinued] Pup My Ride events and am a mentor.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I adopted my Luciano (fka Doodle) in January 2015 and had such a great experience during the process. The adoptions specialist explained what Best Friends is all about and how important the volunteers are to the dogs. I was hooked. One month after I adopted my boy, I started volunteering with one of my junior high students.
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
I started in February of 2015
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
I teach, tutor, attend as many Dodgers games as possible, and hang out with my boyfriend and other friends who have dogs. I also get to take some pretty cool roadtrips around the western US when I take dogs and cats to rescues, foster homes, or forever homes.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
When I first arrived at BFLA to adopt a dog, I already had one picked out from the website. When I met a dog caregiver and asked about the beautiful terrier I saw online--explaining that I would be taking her to school with me--he laughed and said, "Oh no! Bella will bite off their fingers! Let's find you an orange paw dog." But I still went to Bella's kennel to see her in all her blue paw glory and I was in love with that beautiful dog and her sad eyes. She growled at me and I responded, "Just wait, little cutie! One day you will love me." One month later, I began volunteering so I could meet Bella in person. It took a while for me to get to blue paw, but I finally got to meet Bella and even got to foster her in my home for a couple of months. She was perfect and even began cuddling with my little 4-pound chihuahua.
Two months after I adopted my first dog from BFLA, my nephew and niece wanted to see where I volunteered. We drove out to Mission Hills and I asked at adoptions if there was a small dog we could meet. When the adoption specialist brought in a shy, scrawny terrier who was whimpering and had his tail tucked between his hairless legs, my niece cried, "You have to adopt him--he needs you!" So I cried right back to her, "I know...let's take him!" And now he's ours.
Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs from BFLA: Doodle and Lenny, now Luciano and Puccini. And I have a chihuahua from the Baldwin Park shelter who I fostered last year, along with her two puppies. Then she popped out another puppy three days before she was scheduled for a transport. That added two more months to her time with me and I couldn't let her go after that. I often have fosters in and out of my house for two to four weeks at a time--especially in the summers when I get moms with puppies.
What others are saying about Maureen:
"Maureen is a great asset to the dog team and comes in to work with our more challenging population. She recently had one of our blue paws in foster and took great care of her before she departed on her journey to the sanctuary. Aside from that, Maureen caters to our more needy kids and even takes them on car rides to enjoy the change of scenery. Maureen also has a great sense of humor and is a pleasure to work with!" - Amanda, Behavior Specialist
"We can always count on Maureen to help out at the center when we are short staffed. Most recently, while staff has been deployed for hurricane relief, she has been doing many of the first day trainings for new volunteers. She's a wonderful mentor and helps out or team immensely! Thank you, Maureen :) " - Aimee, Volunteer Dept.