Volunteering with Animals: Volunteerism on the Rise Nationally

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It’s no secret that volunteering has many benefits, including confidence building, increased mental and physical wellness, networking opportunities, and a sense of social responsibility, to name a few. Reflecting on the last year at Found Animals, our team has been incredibly thankful for the amazing volunteer staff that help us keep things running smoothly each day. In 2014, Found Animals adopted out over 1,300 animals and served hundreds of thousands of pets between all of our programs, and we simply could not do it alone. It excites us to see that volunteerism continues to be on the rise nationally, particularly within young adults and retirees. Over 52% of our current Found Animals volunteer staff are between 14-19 years old, and some of the friendliest faces among the volunteers are within our age 60+ demographic. We are grateful for, and proud of, our diverse and hard working volunteer team! Found Animals Volunteers-Our Pets Thank You!


Recent studies published in BMC Public Health link volunteering to longevity, and the reason points to more than just physical activity. When you volunteer your time to a cause dear to your heart, the deep and meaningful connections made actually aid in the release of Oxytocin, which helps decrease stress, increase empathy and trust, and benefits overall happiness. In turn (you guessed it!), this is shown to increase lifespan and wellness. Additionally, spending time with animals has also been proven to reduce stress, increase patience, and even drop your blood pressure. And human-animal bonding can play an important role in development and therapy, particularly with children and the elderly. Volunteering with animals is truly a win-win!


Found Animals is committed to finding homes for all pets and eliminating shelter euthanasia, and we are so appreciative to the over 300 active volunteers who donate their time to our cause. Over a quarter of our volunteer staff commit to between 11-20 hours per month, and another 10 percent of our volunteers join us for anywhere between 21-50+ hours a month! The mutual reward our volunteers and our animals receive from this time spent is invaluable, and with so many BIG goals ahead for 2015, we’re excited to see what our staff and volunteers can achieve at Found Animals this year!


If you love animals and are interested in volunteering, speak to our staff at either Adopt & Shop store location, or find more information online at http://www.foundanimals.org/get-involved/volunteer


Several of our volunteers have been kind enough to share their stories and experiences volunteering with Found Animals:

Stephanie Kurtz



Start Date: 7/4/2014


My name is Stephanie Powers Kurtz and I am the Southwest Region Sales Manager for Veltek Associates, a company that provides contamination control solutions to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.  Since relocating from Philadelphia in 2011 for work, I’ve felt something was missing in my life.  As a Culver City local, I was beyond ecstatic to see A&S being “built”.  I couldn’t wait for it to open!  After coming in multiple times to buy food and toys for my dog, Hurley, I applied to volunteer and my first day with A&S was the July 4th Parade, 2014. THIS is what was missing.  I love how passionate and caring the staff is and I am truly appreciative of my time and experiences there.  The amazing adoptable pets steal my heart every day!  It is a wonderful organization and I am blessed to be a part of it.

Fun facts: I used to be an elementary school teacher, I’m a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I love Pilates, hockey is my favorite sport to watch, I love crime drama tv shows (pretty sure I was a detective or forensics expert in a past life!)

Kevin Gray




Start Date: 9/10/14


I enjoy working with the animals, staff, and other volunteers.  The staff is very supportive and always willing to share their knowledge about animal care.  I really appreciate all the training that is offered to the volunteers.  I am considering a second career in animal care and Found Animals has allowed me to work with animals and increase my knowledge.  I decided to volunteer with Found Animals when I came across the Lakewood store, which looked very clean and I fully support the idea of exhibiting shelter animals in a pet store-like location. I would highly recommend volunteering with Found Animals, it has been an amazing experience!


I have two wonderful dogs – one from a shelter and the other from a rescue  - so I know what great friends shelter pets can be. My Fun Facts: I have completed 20 marathons and ultramarathons.

Hillina Sawyer


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Start Date: September 2014


I decided to volunteer because I love animals!! Secondly, I wanted to try and help save as many animals as possible from being euthanized.  It’s a very rewarding experience helping these animals get a new home!  I’m so thankful for being a part of such a wonderful organization.  I have 2 cats of my own, Coco & Monte, which we rescued from a shelter.



Tim Villabona




Start Date: September 2014


I’m Tim, and I work as an aerospace engineer. I’ve been volunteering at Adopt & Shop since September 2014, for the simple reason that I love animals – I’ve volunteered with animal advocacy organizations everywhere I’ve lived. What I love about Adopt & Shop is that it’s very organized, and when I show up for volunteering it’s easy to know where help is needed. I love the time I get playing with big dogs, since I can’t have my own right now. My favorite part of volunteering is meeting people as passionate about animals as I am! I am the proud human of a very loving and playful cat I fostered and eventually adopted (there’s no turning back). She’s gradually taken over the house in the past few weeks, but has agreed to let me stay. My fun fact? I’ve toured Senegal with a troupe playing hand drums at all-night outdoor dance parties.


Becky Schreiber


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Start Date: April 2nd, 2014

Day Job: Retired


I volunteer because I wanted to contribute in some way to a worthy cause now that I’m retired and    thought caring for pets sounded like a good cause.  Little did I know how in love I’d become with my volunteer work and all the pets and people at Adopt & Shop and KFP!

My favorite part of volunteering with Found Animals is watching the little kittens grow and flourish, then go to their forever homes!

Additional tidbit about me – considering that I only wanted to foster kittens, not adults, and never wanted to have my own pet because I like to pick up and take off whenever I want, I was amazed, after fostering several adorable kittens, to find myself in love with Chica, my little formerly-feral, momma cat.  I was asked to foster her temporarily to see if she was at all adoptable because she was so terrified of people.  Well, I fell majorly in love with her, even with her skittishness, and couldn’t picture life without her now!  She’s adapting and learning to trust me and I know she’ll be safe and loved for the rest of her life.  I couldn’t be happier!!!

And a fun fact: I’m a diehard skier but Chica and the kittens are right up there with skiing now!