Recognizing NEADS Volunteers, Part 1

April 2023

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the NEADS community. No matter what role they play - Puppy Raisers, Puppy Sitters, Canine Center and Breeding Center volunteers, Board of Directors, prison inmates, and many others - their devotion and commitment to our mission is ever-present in the work they do.

To truly do justice to their efforts, we have decided to feature them in three separate articles. In this first installment, we recognize the volunteers who are involved in the direct care of our dogs.

Volunteers help during our busiest times of the day, either 9am-11am or 1pm-3pm, Mondays through Fridays, and some weekends during the summer. There’s no “typical” shift, as volunteers do anything that needs to get done that day. This could include playing with dogs, taking them for walks, preparing our endless amount of Kongs, taking out trash, sweeping, emptying poop bins, cleaning and setting up kennels, and spending quiet 1 on 1 time with dogs… The list is never-ending.

“Volunteering in the HCC has brought so much joy to my life. I have the opportunity to interact with dedicated and professional NEADS staff and other volunteers, who are constant reminders of the importance of committing to serve a cause beyond ourselves. And, of course, I have the opportunity to spend time with wonderful and intelligent dogs that will be making a difference in many people’s lives. My time volunteering at NEADS has continued to be something I look forward to every time I go to the campus, and I hope that I have been able to contribute positively in some way to this wonderful organization, whose cause I deeply believe in.” – HCC volunteer Ryan

“Whether I’m volunteering in the new Breeding Center or into the Hawkins Canine Center, I feel welcomed, appreciated, and valued. I love everything I ‘get’ to do as a volunteer, and it makes me feel purposeful, productive, and happy that I am contributing in some way to the NEADS organization. And every staff member is willing to explain what they do, why they do it, and the lengthy process of becoming a Service Dog.  As a volunteer, I find the process fascinating, very specific, and thoughtful.  I am in awe at how much each staff member puts into every dog and their specific care and training. It is an amazingly positive environment.

My volunteer Monday mornings are the brightest parts of my week. I am such a lucky person!” – HCC & Breeding Center volunteer Debbie

HCC volunteer Sarah fills Kongs for the dogs.

Read the entire series here: