• Volunteer Spotlight: Frank Huber

    Frank Huber and Ozzie, Wantagh Pet Therapy Team

    My mother-in-law was in and out of various facilities - assisted living residences, hospitals, rehab centers and nursing homes - and I saw some therapy dogs volunteering at these places. I knew that Ozzie was a special dog and would be very good as a therapy dog.

    One day we were at a dog event in Westbury and Bideawee had a table where they were recruiting pet therapy teams. Immediately I knew that this would be something Ozzie and I could enjoy together. Shortly thereafter, we signed up, took the class and began volunteering at various assisted living centers and nursing homes. Ozzie and I enjoyed meeting everyone at these centers and we quickly got to know the residents and their families very well. Everyone liked and petted Ozzie and he became a local celebrity! People would mob us when we came to visit. You would hear, “Ozzie’s here” echoing through the halls, and in no time, Ozzie’s fan club would assemble. We would walk into a room where three-quarters of the people were sleeping and by the time we left, everyone was engaged and chatting. In addition to our regular visits, we now enjoy visiting various college campuses at students’ exam time with the Stressbuster Team. The students are fun and enthusiastic, just like Ozzie.

    Volunteering gives us an opportunity to meet many people who derive great pleasure from interacting with Ozzie. It gives the residents a chance to remember the good times they had with their own dogs and they often share their stories with us. How often do you have the opportunity to make people happy by just visiting and chatting with them while they pet your dog?

    And now we look forward to adding a new “job” - visiting out-patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in Hauppauge. We can’t wait to make new friends there, and we’re so grateful to be a part of Bideawee’s pet therapy program.

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Dottie Sousa
    Dottie Sousa, Westhampton Volunteer

    As soon as I retired, I knew what I wanted to do with my time. In fact, when I retired from the air base, they had a story about my service in the base newsletter, and I was quoted for saying that my plan for retirement was to volunteer at Bideawee!
     
    It took a few years for me to get started. My daughter, Sandora, had twins that same year, and I wanted to use my time to help her care for her infants. A few years later, I began volunteering at Bideawee and I was so happy that I did! At first I was sad that I hadn’t started a long time ago, but the staff said, ”We’re just so happy you’re here now!”
     
    I’ve been volunteering for over five years, and I volunteer at least five days a week – sometimes more! I love animals very much. I was immediately interested in caring for the cats, cleaning their rooms, doing the laundry, feeding them, and helping them in any way I could. The cats and kittens all have different personalities. I love all of them. I really don’t have a favorite, they’re ALL my favorite!
     
    I’ve always loved animals, since I was little. I grew up on a farm, and have always been interested in cats, but I have learned more in the past five years about cats than on my time on the farm. For instance, did you know that cats are far sighted? It’s so interesting to learn what their perspective is like, and to learn more about the way they see the world. I have also learned a lot about special medical cases. My two boys, Mulligan and Barbarossa, were awaiting a home for a long time at Bideawee. They are so sweet and loving, but because they tested positive for a medical condition, FIV, they kept getting overlooked. They both lived in a cattery together, away from the other cats. My cat passed away at the age of 20. I decided to adopt Mulligan and Barbarossa together after learning how to care for FIV cats. FIV positive cats are really no different from other cats. You must pay careful attention to their care, because they have a suppressed immune system, but in general, their care is very similar to that of other cats. They are both so loving, and Mulligan will drag his teaser into my bedroom to ask me to play. I’m so happy to have them home with me, every day.
     
    My favorite part of volunteering is sitting quietly with the cats. Just being around the cats does a lot for me, both physically and mentally. It cheers me, and I love bonding with them. I enjoy putting classical music on for them, and playing with them with the wands and toys. Mostly though, I enjoy petting and caressing them.
     
    Volunteering is an excellent experience. If you have a love for animals, Bideawee is a place you will cherish. I find so much satisfaction after I complete a day of volunteering. I can go home happy, knowing that I’ve helped brighten the day of the cats in our care.
     
    Dottie has donated over 7,000 hours of her time to Bideawee. We are all so grateful for her volunteer service, and for the time she gives to the cats and kittens in our care!

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Cortney

    Jane Cortney, Manhattan

    Summers in Westhampton are particularly dear to me because my parents, sister, and I shared a house with my Aunt Diane and her beautiful, very patient German Shepherd, Sheba. I’d always loved animals, but Sheba let me dress her in my plastic witch costume, which earned her my complete devotion.  

    Diane was a teacher whose class had a pet guinea pig that accompanied her out East for the summer break. As a kid with a love of animals, I couldn’t wait to spend my summer hanging out with Sheba and a guinea pig.  This dog/rodent combo was too good to be true. While I don't remember the guinea pig's original name, his ferocious pellet intake made calling him after England's gluttonous monarch quite sensible. I loved supervising his romps on the lawn and treating him to chilled lettuce leaves.

    One day we noticed a sign for the Bideawee Pet Show hanging in the library, and, while I didn’t have an animal of my own at the time, my Aunt said I could enter with Henry the Eighth.  The pet show was a magical place with so many cute animals! I looked forward to the day when I could, as I state in an essay in 2nd grade, be mistress of my very own "cat farm", and I was intrigued by this Bideawee place. Once I learned it was a haven for animals seeking adoption, I formed a club with family and friends to collect money we could donate.

    Years later, living within the confines of our NYC apartment, tabby cat sisters Edie and Nico constituted the extent of my animal kingdom. Then I heard a familiar name, a reminder of summers past. Once I started volunteering at Bideawee, I befriended an array of dogs and cats.  Since being there, I’ve been able to socialize with numerous animals and assist staff in finding them loving homes. I’m so thankful for all the wonderful time I’ve been volunteering and to the inspiring Bideawee staff who makes all the animals feel like winners of the pet show!  I love the time I spend volunteering and I’d highly recommend it to any and all animal lovers!

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Devlin-Reubel

    Over the years I had donated sheets and towels to Bideawee in Westhampton but never knew a lot about the organization. When my little 15-year-old dog, Jasper, died in November of 2015, I had a lot of medicines, syringes and special diet food left. I brought them to Bideawee and they were grateful to have everything. It was good to know that Jasper’s medicines could help other animals.

    The months after Jasper died were very hard for me, I missed him terribly and felt such a sense of loss. One thing that kept coming to mind was the welcoming reception I had received at Bideawee. I finally went on the website to learn more about their mission. I wasn’t ready to bring another dog into my family, but missed having one in my life. I thought that helping other dogs might help me fill the void and decided to fill out a Bideawee volunteer application via the website. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I went through volunteer training and started volunteering with the dogs in March of 2016. It’s been six months and I have come to enjoy it more and more each week.

    When I began volunteering at Bideawee I thought I knew everything about dogs but soon realized that I needed help! I wanted to learn the correct methods of interacting with the dogs, and teaching the puppies and dogs commands like “sit” and “paw”. When I spoke to our Volunteer Manager, Kim, she was so helpful, and immediately set me up with another volunteer, Arlene, who taught me the correct way to connect and work with the pups. Later, when I was ready to move up to “yellow” dogs, another volunteer, Janet, spent time teaching me how to put a harness on big and active dogs and gave me invaluable advice. In addition, the associates, Adrianna and Michelle, who I work with on Saturdays, are always willing to answer my questions, show me where things are or help me when I am unsure of how to handle a situation with one of the dogs. Everyone at the Adoption Center has been incredibly helpful, and they are always so appreciative of my assistance.

    Over the past few months, the time I have spent at Bideawee on Saturday afternoons has become one of the highlights of my week. I look forward to meeting the new arrivals and to seeing my buddies who have been there for a while. One of my favorites is Marlon Brando who always greets me with a wagging tail and a look of appreciation. Since I know his medication makes him have to go more often, I always make sure to take him out as soon as I arrive and right before I leave, when the Adoption Center is closing for the day. Even though I know he must be uncomfortable with his skin condition, he such a gentle guy and always walks right next to me as though he enjoys my company. It is such a great feeling to be able to give so little and get so much back!

    Every one of the dogs that I have had the pleasure to meet at Bideawee has helped me to heal from my loss and taught me more than I ever expected to learn. Helping with their care and just spending time with both the puppies and older dogs while they wait to go home to their new families is so rewarding. I would encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering with dogs or cats to learn more about Bideawee and to contact Kim who is always enthusiastic and supportive of the volunteers. It will change your life for the better!

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Joan Misa

    I live on my own and work from home in my apartment in Astoria where I could spend days and not see a single soul. On top of that, I always had a family dog from the time I was very young living in the Philippines, to moving to the USA, and up until I moved to NYC 3.5 years ago.  Now, I live in a city where it is hard to own a pet, and I live in an apartment where pets are not allowed. So, volunteering allows me to be around dogs without owning one, for now.  Plus, I really love lending a helping hand and supporting causes that I care about. With all of that said, I decided to search for shelters in Manhattan that needed volunteers to take care of dogs. 

    Volunteering for Bideawee has been an incredibly rewarding experience.  Not only do you get to play with all types of cute puppies, but you get to meet amazing people who are also volunteering their time at Bideawee.  When volunteering at public events, you get to witness firsthand the changes in peoples' faces when they see the adorable puppies you're holding.  They light up and you just know that you've made their day.

    I assist with a variety of tasks at Bideawee and I enjoy all of them. I help clean the Adoption Center and play with the dogs awaiting their forever homes. Playing with the dogs is the best! It makes waking up in the morning so worth it. Lately, I have been mostly helping at mobile adoption events to get dogs and cats adopted and spread awareness about Bideawee.  I have also assisted in the Pet Therapy Program where the organization trains and registers owners and their dogs to become pet therapy animals (and I've learned a lot about being a better future dog owner from being involved in that program).

    I love that fact that every time we help an animal find their forever home, we also help people find their dog/cat-soulmate.  I had one mother tell me how her son was so depressed that whole week after his dog passed away that he could barely eat or go to work. She was really worried for him.  It was only after meeting his future puppy at one of Bideawee’s mobile adoption events that her son finally brightened up and looked like his normal self again.  We helped the human and dog find each other.

    So, please consider volunteering! Try all the different kinds of volunteering events and opportunities, interact with the other volunteers and people of Bideawee, and know that what you're doing as a volunteer is an amazing thing, for people and pets.

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Beckmann
    In 1995, my husband and I adopted our first dog from Bideawee in Wantagh.  We were lucky enough to have her with us for 16 years.
     
    In 2013, when we found Chelsea through the Sato Project, she was so sweet and gentle that we immediately knew she would be good for working with people. A friend suggested Bideawee’s Pet Therapy program and her future was sealed. The team that led the evaluation and the training made it a very enjoyable experience.  Looking back on that day, I think that the dogs knew innately what to do; it was the handlers that seemed to learn the most.
     
    Since graduating and receiving credentials from Pet Partners, Chelsea and I have been busy visiting nursing homes, adult day care facilities, hospitals and rehabs.  We cover libraries and elementary schools for Bideawee’s Reading to Dogs program as well as Stressbuster sessions for older students during finals.  We often have the opportunity to talk to other volunteers about this program and it’s amazing how many people we meet who want to sign up for pet therapy.   
     
    Chelsea and I have been volunteering for just over one year now.  Of all the places we visit, the most rewarding experience for me is at the adult day care.  The people love seeing Chelsea.  They bake her cookies and are so excited to present them to us.  We now have a lifetime supply.  The Reading to Dogs program is Chelsea's favorite gig.  She lies down in the middle of a circle and almost immediately falls asleep.  The children are upset when they try to show her the pictures and her eyes are closed.  I explain that they did their job by reading her to sleep.
     
    This "work" that I do is important to me not only because I get to spend the day with my sweet dog but because I see how pet therapy affects the people we visit.  Everyone I meet is happy to see Chelsea.   They tell me about their pet at home or pets they have had in the past.  Sometimes they just sit quietly and pet Chelsea.   I get thanked every day by either the patients or the staff.  It's great to be reminded that I'm not the only one feeling the benefit of these visits.
     
    I am very lucky to have a dog with the temperament to work with people this way, and I have Bideawee to thank for making these experiences possible.
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Ashleigh Walker

    My name is Ashleigh and I’m a student with a pet care technician program in Manhattan. Part of the program involves selecting a place to complete an internship, where we can gain more hands-on experience. Because of my love of animals, I wanted to work in an animal shelter, so my instructor recommended Bideawee.

    At Bideawee, I’m able to work in a variety of capacities, including administratively with the Animal Hospital and Adoption Center, and of course, hands-on with the animals. One of the things I love about volunteering here is that each day is different. I get to learn so many new things and meet new animals on a weekly basis.

    On Wednesdays, I volunteer at the front desk of the Animal Hospital, answering phone calls and updating filing systems, and I’ve even been able to observe some of the procedures. To change things up on Thursdays, I work with cats and dogs at the Adoption Center.  I typically start the day helping to clean the shelter with other volunteers, and then we get to give the animals a little TLC.  Finally, on Fridays, I volunteer at the front desk of the shelter, where I update the adoption records, greet visitors, answer questions from possible adopters, and assist other volunteers.

    My favorite part of this experience is that I get to be with animals and help them find their forever homes. While I love working at the Adoption Center, I really appreciate my days at the Animal Hospital, as I hope to become a vet tech one day.  I am proud to be a volunteer and I’d advise anyone who has been thinking about it to take the plunge! Bideawee is a lovely, cheery place full of caring staff and adorable animals that are sure to brighten up your day!

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Gail-Schwartz

    My name is Gail and I have been a Bideawee Pet Therapy volunteer for three years. I came to know about Bideawee through my husband, Bruce, who works there, and it’s also where we adopted our Chihuahua beagle mix, Ollie. Ollie has the sweetest temperament and everyone loves him, and because Bruce would always mention Bideawee’s Pet Therapy Program to me, I thought Ollie would be the perfect therapy dog.

    Ollie went through the required training program and passed the evaluation with a perfect score! For our first assignment, we were called in to work with a little girl with a severe fear of dogs. By the end of the girls’ therapy treatment with Ollie, she was walking him, petting him and giving him snacks from her hand. The results were inspiring, and we continued to work more in the program.

    Currently, Ollie and I are working at Queens Children's Psychiatric hospital; it is wonderful how the children are so gentle with him and love Ollie. We also have been working for two years at the Smith Street School with Bideawee’s Reading to Dogs Program, where our therapy dogs visit libraries and schools to help children increase their reading and learning abilities. The same group of children from the Smith Street School have been reading to Ollie since first grade, and their skills have grown tremendously. The children are always so excited to read to Ollie. Ollie and I also have visited with college students to de-stress them prior to taking their midterms and finals, and with Girl Scout troops to teach them all about animal care and our important pet therapy job.

    My favorite part of volunteering with Ollie is making a difference in someone's life. Volunteering is so important because it feels so good helping others. Bideawee is such a wonderful animal charity and I recommend to everyone to volunteer because it is so rewarding. If only Ollie could talk he would tell you how great it feels to give back to others.

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Duncan MacIntosh

    My wife works at a hospital and heard about the Bideawee Pet Therapy program from their Director of Volunteers. When she relayed the information to me, I knew our dog Reggie would be perfect for this line of work! We wanted to share our friendly, loving, handsome boy with others.
     
    As it turned out, Reggie really enjoyed the job of meeting and bringing joy to new people. We also loved the training program, during which time the trainers evaluated the dogs and exposed the dogs and owners to what we might encounter on assignments. The trainers were excellent, and the volunteer trainees and their dogs were great fun to meet and to interact with. The training gave us the tools we would need when we began to interact with the public with our newly-minted therapy dogs.
     
    As expected, we loved the assignments we were scheduled for with Reggie. At various times, we visited schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other appropriate locations. We educated people about dogs and general pet care, and sometimes spoke specifically about the pet therapy program. We participated in Bideawee’s "Reading to Dogs" program and helped children move past their fears of public speaking.
     
    The experience has been, and continues to be so rewarding, and Reggie seems to enjoy it too!  It's always Reggie who makes the first connection with the people we meet on assignment. People are immediately attracted to him; he’s small (about 20 pounds), really cute and friendly to everyone he meets. My favorite part of volunteering is seeing everyone’s initial reaction to him; his presence really seems to boost everyone’s spirits.  When I first decided to volunteer, I thought I would be doing a service for the organization—and I am—but what’s become even clearer is just how much the experience has done for me.  Reggie and I look forward to our pet therapy visits and we always leave with a smile on our faces.

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Jen Trovato

    About three years ago, I decided my home needed another dog. I already had two: my boxer Sally, and my parents dog, Melanie - a Bideawee Alum that I took in when my dad became too sick to care for her. I began following a few dog rescue sites on social media and took a ride over to Bideawee one night. The puppies were all so irresistible but when we did the interaction with my older dogs, Melanie wasn't happy with the puppy enthusiasm. She was actually the one to choose our newest family member, Lula, a five-year-old Chihuahua mix who was the sixth or seventh dog we paraded into the learning center to earn Melanie’s approval. Mel finally relaxed and let Lula come over to say hello.

    I loved the adoption experience and I was so impressed with the patience the staff showed in finding us just the right match for our family. Bringing Lula home has changed my life more than I could have imagined. My husband passed away unexpectedly in 2010, and my sons were both entering high school. Lula brought a new and purposeful love into our home. With a little extra time on my hands, and a lot of extra love to give, I decided to volunteer at Bideawee.

    I began volunteering on Tuesday mornings, helping to walk the dogs and clean the kennels. As I learned more about Bideawee, I realized I wanted to be there more and more. I signed up for a few more mornings, as many workshops and adoption events as I could, went along for the cuddle dispatch and recently completed the Paw'd Squad training.

    I love every minute of my time at Bideawee. My absolute favorite experience is when I witness the transformation of a dog that was once so shy and afraid that they remain crouched in the back of the kennel when you try to greet them. Watching them learn to trust, and inch their way toward you to eventually put their head in your lap and let you put on a leash is a feeling that can't be explained; it is pure joy.

    I also love meeting people at the adoption events. Seeing them fall in love instantly and begin the adoption process is so rewarding.

    I've learned so much from my experience at Bideawee. I look forward to my mornings cleaning, I miss the dogs on the days I am not there, and I find myself checking the website every night to see who found a home. I also love the people I work with; animal lovers have the best hearts. (As a side note, I thought volunteering would fulfill my desire to have more dogs, but I couldn't resist a little 4 pound puppy named Apple who cried as I cleaned the kennels. So now we have a happy home filled with four wonderful dogs: a lot of work, a lot of love, and worth every minute). Volunteering with Bideawee has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and my two and four-legged family couldn’t agree more.

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Craig Michaels

    I have been a volunteer at Bideawee for 7 months. I work with dogs and cats, am a leader for events offsite events and a mentorship teacher for onboarding new volunteers. When I retired recently, high on my list of things to do was some kind of volunteering work with animals. I chose Bideawee because when I lived in Manhattan, I had remembered seeing Bideawee ads on TV or in the subways. After discovering that Bideawee was a no-kill shelter, the decision was an easy one.

    Growing up, my parents always had dogs and later in life all my children had cats. So I had spent a lot of time with animals and was comfortable around both. I found my cat, Easter, when he was 6 months old and although he is an old man of 18 now, having him as part of the family has been a wonderful experience for all of us. I have only been volunteering for 7 months but have learned a great deal about both the dogs and cats that come through the shelter.

    The staff has been very helpful in teaching me about each animal and how to interact with them best. I have also benefitted from the knowledge and training by Mike Rueb, Associate Director of Adoptions at the shelter. Some of the animals have had difficult lives but it is very rewarding to be a small part of their rehabilitation and placement into loving homes. Choosing a favorite cat or dog is impossible because they get adopted so quickly, but that is one of the best rewards for the work that I do at Bideawee. I would recommend volunteering at Bideawee to anyone who loves animals and wants to spend their time doing truly rewarding work.

    Become a part of the Bideawee Volunteer family today and learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of pets and the people who love them.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Sean Bauer

    I have been a Bideawee volunteer for almost 2 years. I found out about Bideawee's Volunteer Program by visiting my local library, and asking the librarian about local organizations that have programs for teens.

    I am a High School senior, and initially started donating my time because I wanted to buff up my college resume. I continued with Bideawee because I fell in love with their mission and objective. As a teen volunteer, I'm given lots of responsibility, and really enjoy any job. I work with one of the adult volunteers, that supervise the teen groups, Lenore. Lenore has become such a good friend. She is so nurturing, and we really enjoy each other's company, telling stories, and learning from each other.

    I was inspired by Lenore's welcoming nature, and one of my favorite assignments is to train new volunteers when they begin, and make sure they feel comfortable and happy on their first day. I also don't hesitate from tackling any "gross" jobs like dumping mop buckets, cleaning dirty kennels, and even cleaning the drains. I know that all of my hard work helps the animals stay happy and healthy and find loving homes.

    I love all animals and have worked at many animal-oriented organizations. I plan to go to college to become a Zoologist. Bideawee is helping me advance my career, by giving me experience working in the Adoption Center, as well as Bideawee's Animal Hospital. I help with laundry and anything needed at the Animal Hospital, and in return I get to shadow appointments, and learn new things from the technicians and doctors at the Westhampton Hospital. I have learned so much, and volunteer at the Animal Hospital every Monday with Lorie and Dr. DiPaola, and at the Adoption Center every Sunday with Teen Group Leader, Lenore.

    I would recommend volunteering at Bideawee to everyone. I have fallen in love with countless animals (my favorite is Matilda, she has a neurological condition, but is probably the sweetest cat I have ever met). I've learned a lot, and enjoyed my time. I'd recommend volunteering to any adult, but especially if you're a young teen like me. If you plan to pursue an animal-oriented career, it's an amazing experience!

    Make a difference in the life of an animal today by signing up to become a member of the Bideawee Volunteer Family become a Bideawee volunteer today.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Kariene Aghabekian

    I have always been involved with animals on some level, not only sharing my life with my own dogs and cats, but volunteering with them from the time I was a child. I have also studied animal behavior and have trained many dogs in basic obedience and agility. Over the years, I have found many strays and taken them in and found them homes. Recently, I had decided that I wanted to volunteer again and give back what has been so freely given to me by my animals and the many strays I have found - unconditional Love. I live in East Meadow and had been to Bideawee many years prior, so I filled out an application to volunteer at their Wantagh facility.

    At Bideawee’s Wantagh location, the new transports of dogs and cats are medically assessed, medically treated if necessary, and when cleared, they are put up for adoption at either the Manhattan or Westhampton facility. The Wantagh location where I began volunteering is called the PAWS Unit. I am constantly impressed by the staff and their genuine love and concern for every single dog, puppy, cat or kitten that is in the Bideawee facility! Their level of care is truly inspiring.

    The staff goes above and beyond, and I continue to volunteer because I am inspired by their knowledge, unwavering love, and commitment to the animals in their care. I go to PAWS not only to help care for and socialize these amazing animals, but to help out the staff, so they can do the important tasks that keep these animals healthy. Some of the activities I have participated in include adoption events, cleaning, laundry (lots of pups make lots of mess), taking dogs for walks, and anything I can to assist both the animals, and staff. I also take part in the workshops, which are highly informative, and cover topics such as animal behavior, signs and symptoms of possible medical issues, and helpful training tips! The reward for me is the honor of being able to make a tiny difference in the precious lives I come to know.

    If you can spare an hour or so a week, please consider volunteering at Bideawee’s PAWS Unit. You will receive the greatest gifts: smooches, love, and gratitude!

    Make a difference in the life of an animal today by signing up to become a member of the Bideawee Volunteer Family become a Bideawee volunteer today.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Jim and Maura Frankman

    Jim and I began volunteering in May of 2014. Both of us had recently retired, and we always intended to do some volunteer work. We both love animals, especially dogs, and we both had time to donate. When we were looking for an organization to choose, Bideawee was an easy choice. Though there are many great animal rescue organizations in the area, our previous experience with the organization made Bideawee a natural fit. My family had adopted a dog from the Wantagh location when I was a child and later my brother and sister-in-law adopted a pup from the Westhampton location.

    Every Monday morning we come to the Westhampton Adoption Center bright and early to volunteer for as long as needed. The most help is needed in the early mornings, and we don’t mind waking up early to help out. Every Monday we help clean kennels, do laundry, and best of all, walk the dogs who are awaiting adoption. We love helping out, and have made many special bonds with the animals. Although we like all of the dogs, Daisy is Jim's current favorite and I'm partial to an adorable pooch named Black Jack. Black Jack takes a little time to warm up to new people, but once he does, he is an absolute sweetheart. He is also the best cuddler!

    We currently have four dogs of our own. Angel is an eleven-year-old Golden Retriever; Pogo is a seven year old Bichon Frise; Sunny is a three year old Toy Fox Terrier mix; and Blitzen is a seven month old Siberian Husky Mix from Bideawee. We adore them all and know that we are making them proud when we help other animals in need. We have to say that the staff makes a big difference in our volunteer experience, which is why we wanted to include them in our photo. All of the staff members at Bideawee do a great job. They are always friendly and helpful to the volunteers and they really make us look forward to coming in for our volunteer shift.

    We find volunteering to be an incredibly rewarding experience, and each week we look forward to seeing our favorites, and meeting the new arrivals. We miss our favorites when they find their forever homes but are happy for them and their new families. The hardest part is that you want to take all of them home, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

    Make a difference in the life of an animal today by signing up to become a member of the Bideawee Volunteer Family.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Debbie Buonnano

    I began volunteering at Bideawee’s Westhampton Adoption Center exactly a year ago, in August of 2014. I found myself with some extra time on my hands and wanted to donate my extra hours to a worthy cause. When I was considering what organization to volunteer with, I immediately thought of Bideawee because I had adopted my dog Eva from Bideawee. It was four years ago now, but I still remember walking into Bideawee’s kennels for the first time. They were playing Zen meditation music for the dogs, and the fact that they took those extra steps to make the dogs more comfortable, really stuck out to me. The staff also allowed me to bring a blanket from home for Eva to sleep with while she remained at Bideawee. I brought the blanket in so that I could adapt Eva to the scent of her future home. When I went to pick her up and bring her home, I expected that they might have lost the blanket in the shuffle, but it was right there next to her. They remembered that I had brought the blanket for Eva, and had it ready for us. That thoughtfulness made an impression on me that have lasted throughout the years.

    Now, four years later, I volunteer at Bideawee twice a week. I walk the dogs, help with the laundry, clean food bowls, clean toys, sweep, and mop, clean the cattery, provide fresh water, and play and socialize with all of the dogs and cats. Getting the cats moving by playing with cat teasers is one of my favorite things to do. It keeps them active, and you can see how much they enjoy the stimulation. I’ve been volunteering for a while now, and a lot of my favorites have come and gone. It can be tough to say goodbye, but it’s always so nice to see your favorite dog or cat go home to a loving family. After every adoption of my favorites, the hunt for a new favorite begins. I have recently been bonding with Keira, a sweet and active female kitty. She is shy at first, so getting her to bond with me means a lot. In September of 2014, I adopted one of my favorites, Paulie. He is a Dorkie “dachshund-yorkie” mix, and he gets along beautifully with Eva!

    From the first day I began volunteering, the staff, and existing volunteers have been so incredibly welcoming. I enjoy volunteering because I know that I’m not only helping and enriching the lives of homeless animals, but also helping and bonding with other volunteers, and staff. Each staff member has been great, and I’ve enjoyed working with them. They provide tips to make working with the dogs easier, and even provide housekeeping tips to make life easier when I’m cleaning in the early morning hours. I find everyone to be encouraging, appreciative, and quick to lend a hand.

    I also love the workshops that Bideawee provides to their volunteers. I really enjoyed Dr. DiPaola’s most recent workshop. I walked away with new knowledge that applied to my own dogs at home. I didn’t realize that my dogs should receive the Bordetella vaccine every 6 months. My dogs go to the dog park, and I want to be sure that I am protecting them from kennel cough. The workshop also helped me discover why my dog Paulie was vomiting. Sometimes dogs get a buildup of acid in their stomachs, if their stomach is empty for a long period. Paulie would get sick in the morning, at 7am, like clockwork. Breakfast was at 8, and he would vomit while awaiting his next meal. I switched breakfast to 7am, and it resolved the problem. Thank you Dr. DiPaola!

    I really love volunteering. It’s a no-pressure environment, and any help is appreciated. If I’m unable to come in, everyone shows their concern as to why I wasn’t in, yet no one hounds you. They just appreciate and value the time that you can give. As a volunteer we receive updates on events, transports of new dogs and cats and upcoming workshops. This helps me pick and choose the dates I’ll be coming in, and sign up for the programs I can attend. There is a flexible schedule, so anyone can get involved, no matter how busy your schedule.

    Make a difference in the life of an animal today by signing up to become a Bideawee volunteer today.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Cynthia Brenner

    This month is a special edition of Tales from a Volunteer. For National Volunteer Appreciation Month, we’d like to highlight one of Bideawee’s extraordinary volunteers, Cynthia Brenner, who has been with Bideawee for 20 years! Cynthia has been an engaged and active volunteer ever since she started at Bideawee in 1995, beginning with giving tours to incoming groups and those visiting Bideawee’s Adoption Center. Every time a person would step foot into Bideawee, Cynthia would make them feel welcome immediately, like they were already a part of the Bideawee family. Later on, Cynthia expanded her role, taking part in the organization’s Pet Therapy program with all of her dogs, and also coming in weekly to help with administrative efforts at the organization’s Wantagh office building. Cynthia has always loved animals and wanted to give back in any way she could, so she knew Bideawee was the right place for her when she retired. She wanted to keep busy, and busy she has kept! She volunteers every week in every capacity she can, whether it’s making phone calls to interested volunteers, giving talks to kids about the importance of animal care, or visiting local schools and libraries with her Labrador retriever, Johan, to help children improve their reading skills.

    Every week, she brings a smile to our faces, and is inspiring to everyone she meets. She acts as a mentor to all new volunteers, and always works hard to make sure everyone feels included and important. We wanted to highlight Cynthia this month not only to thank her for all she’s done, but hopefully to inspire others just as she does. She’s always saying one of the best things you can do for yourself is to stay active, to connect with people, and to make those connections worth something. “Using animals as that medium, whether it’s through our adoption center or our pet therapy program, is a great way to make a difference,” she says. Bideawee’s mission is why she decided we were the place for her, because “Bideawee cares about people, about animals, and their relationships.” Cynthia’s favorite thing about volunteering with Bideawee is seeing the impact her work has on others. Cynthia has helped children who couldn’t read a word become A+ students through her work in the Reading to Dogs Program, she’s found homes for countless animals in need, and has helped everyone in our office in a time crunch! Everywhere she goes, she’s always handing out Bideawee business cards, telling everyone about our programs, and urging them to get involved. “I do it to help; I just want to see some good in the world.” We couldn’t agree with Cynthia more! Congratulations to her for sticking with what she loves for 20 years!

    We wanted to share Cynthia’s story to honor her grand achievements, and show everyone how much of an impact they can have on others’ lives by volunteering.

    And this April, as Bideawee celebrates National Volunteer Appreciation Month we want you to know that volunteers are essential to the organization’s success, having donated more than 37,000 hours of service last year. Join the celebration and become a Bideawee volunteer today.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Eliana London

    I first heard about Bideawee from my friend Jillian Roberts, who is on the Young Professionals Committee at Bideawee. I attended the first YPC event and signed up to volunteer shortly after learning about the opportunities offered. I’ve always loved animal and used to work with them full time so I welcomed the opportunity to work with them again in some capacity. I knew that I wanted to dedicate time to working with animals that were less fortunate than my two adopted cats. I had been looking into no-kill shelters where I could volunteer, but hadn't visited any yet. When I attended the YPC event, I was able to chat with a few volunteers who were already donating their time and I was immediately sold on Bideawee’s Volunteer Program!

    My first impression of the shelter was that the staff at Bideawee really cared about the animals, and was committed to finding them good homes. When I saw the “weight watchers” room for overweight cats, I knew the staff took good care of the animals and cared about their health first and foremost! Many shelters keep their animals in very small cages with not much time outside of them but Bideawee’s staff and volunteers are constantly caring for and interacting with the animals. Bideawee also has behaviorists that work with the animals to help them reach their full potential and find them the best homes possible.

    I have been volunteering at Bideawee for 6 months now, and the time seems to have flown by! I usually participate in mentoring new volunteers on how to handle the animals. When I’m not teaching new volunteers the ropes, I’m typically playing with the cats that are out in the cat resorts or have specific socialization needs. I have also helped out with filing, cleaning, and offsite adoption events. At the events, volunteers take care of the animals attending donning their “Adopt Me” vests, and talk to the public about each animal’s personality and all that Bideawee offers.

    I’m so proud to boast that one of my favorite cats at the shelter, named Lucy, was adopted recently! My new favorite kitty in the adoption resort is a petite orange tabby named Jasmine. She is so sweet and loves people. Every time I enter the room I hear her meowing for attention. She loves to play and even has her own low “play growl” that makes her so unique and hilarious!

    I’m always very excited to participate in the volunteer workshops that Bideawee offers throughout the year to help volunteers learn new skills and stay up to date on animal information.

    Melissa Meade, the Volunteer & Event Manager at Bideawee’s NYC location, is informative, easy to work with and always takes the time to answer any questions I may have. I have had such a pleasant volunteering experience that I always tell my friends and coworkers to come and volunteer. I even brought a coworker to the shelter who ended up falling in love and adopting a dog! I look forward to each weekly volunteer shift and can’t wait to get more people involved with Bideawee’s Volunteer Program.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Marilyn Matysuk

    I am recently retired, and because I love animals, I knew I really wanted to spend my new free time helping animals in whatever way I could. I adopted my first dog, a Chihuahua, from Bideawee in the 70’s and he was a wonderful companion for 14 years. Because of that, when I started researching shelters, Bideawee is where I looked first. When I came across their website, I was so happy to see their mission and all the great things they do for animals and I knew I wanted to be involved. I called up Alicia, the Volunteer and Events Manager at Bideawee’s Wantagh location, set up an appointment, and here I am! I have been volunteering for 8 months and I see no end in sight.

    I love being a volunteer and doing whatever I can to help the animals in need. There are so many things to do around Bideawee to help. Even if you’re not working directly with the animals, you are still helping them. I volunteer at PAWS on Sundays by walking dogs, playing with them, cleaning their kennels and helping with the laundry. It’s all so important to make sure they are happy and healthy and ready to be adopted. I volunteer at the Mobile Adoption events by talking to the public about Bideawee, telling them about our volunteer opportunities, and giving them information on how to adopt from us. I also help with administrative efforts every week by doing research, making calls, and assisting with any office work that needs tending to. There are so many things to do – they always keep me busy! And I enjoy being able to help animals in all of these special ways. My favorite part of volunteering is EVERYTHING (even picking up poop is not so bad!). I am happy to help in any way I can.

    If you are considering volunteering, stop considering and start calling! You are going to love volunteering, interacting with the animals, and doing any other projects Bideawee has in store. Everything we do is to help animals and see them find their forever homes. It’s a cause you can feel great about supporting.

    I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone who is interested in improving the lives of animals in need. My advice would be to never be afraid to ask questions, and always try to make sure to schedule enough time for each animal. To learn more about volunteering, call 866-262-8133 or fill out a volunteer application. There’s something for everyone!

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Gail Saraf

    I began volunteering at Bideawee seven years ago, after hearing about the organization from a friend. One of the first things that immediately struck me about Bideawee was how clean the facility was. Some people have a hard time with the thought of spending time at an animal shelter, but I was encouraged by the environment at Bideawee. I looked at a few other animal shelters but none of them impressed me the way Bideawee did. I found the shelter welcoming and warm and the staff helpful and friendly. I enjoyed the orientation, and the mentorship training for the cats was simple, straightforward and informative giving me the knowledge and tools I needed as a new volunteer to be successful volunteering with the animals.

    I’m now in my seventh year of volunteering with the organization. I spend most of my time with the cats in the resorts on the main floor. I try to dedicate chunks of time to as many cats as I can because I believe they benefit from the human interaction and personalized attention. I play with the cats that have a lot of energy and cuddle those who need extra TLC. My favorite animals at the shelter are those who are struggling with medical issues. I love watching them recover, seeing them begin to thrive, and knowing that I have played a small part in that journey. The animals know they are loved by the staff and volunteers; you can see it in how they look back at you.

    I especially enjoy the volunteer appreciation and holiday parties that bring the staff and volunteers together. I always look forward to attending future volunteer/staff get-togethers it gives everyone and opportunity to meet new people that share a love of animals. I enjoy the company of two staff members in particular--Jon and Kerrie—since they are so knowledgeable about the cats and everyone can tell they really love the animals they care for at Bideawee.

    I adopted my cat from Bideawee two years ago. “Prince”, is the sweetest, most affectionate and gentle four year-old boy and I’m so grateful to Bideawee for bringing Prince and I together.

    I would definitely recommend volunteering to anyone who is interested in improving the lives of animals in need. My advice would be to never be afraid to ask questions, and always try to make sure to schedule enough time for each animal. To join the Bideawee volunteer family submit a volunteer application and make a difference in the life of animals today.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Sternkopf

    I knew from the time that I adopted my beloved, Mr. Noodles in 2003, that Bideawee would always be a part of my life. Little did I know how much a part of my life it would become. After I finished earning all of my teaching degrees, secured a teaching position, and finally settled in to my new life, I wanted to do something meaningful with my free time. I was so grateful that Bideawee brought my cat, Mr. Noodles, into my life, that when it came time to give back, I decided to become a volunteer at Bideawee’s Adoption Center.

    I started off volunteering my time with both the dogs and cats, but slowly the lure of the cats took over, and I now devote all of my time to the cats and kittens waiting for their forever homes. Some of Bideawee’s cats wait many months, sometimes years to find forever homes, but regardless of how long it takes once they arrive at Bideawee they stay in the committed care of the Adoption Centers at Bideawee until they find a loving home. I feel that the time I spend with them, whether it's sprucing up the catteries, cleaning litter boxes, brushing, feeding, giving fresh water, playing with them, or just giving them a nice lap to sit on, makes all the difference in their lives. I truly love each one of the cats and kittens that I have encountered over the years. It is so rewarding when you see cats that were once shy or standoffish, come running when I walk into their rooms.

    I have even brought Bideawee into my classroom. Being a reading teacher to struggling readers, I am always looking for ways to make reading easier for students. Bideawee has helped me tremendously in this area, while also helping my students become stronger readers. Bideawee’s Reading to Dogs Program has brought so much positive energy to my school, and the two therapy dogs that come each week have become super stars to every student in the building. Bideawee has truly helped me make reading cool!

    I absolutely love everything about volunteering at Bideawee. I have been able to volunteer in a variety of areas, and love knowing that all of my efforts help a wonderful organization that brings so much to the community in which it resides. During my time at Bideawee, I have taken care of the cats and dogs, helped with gardening and grounds care, assisted with on and off site events, become a teen mentor, and I am always putting the good word out to just about anyone who will listen about what a fabulous, caring, fun, and rewarding place Bideawee is to volunteer. Since my husband has put a limit to the amount of cats we can have (4 is his max and we have hit it!) Bideawee has provided me countless kitties to give love to, and to make a positive difference in their lives. I will always be grateful to Bideawee. If you’re an animal lover and are thinking about volunteering your time, I can’t recommend Bideawee highly enough. You can fill out an online application and attend an orientation session, and you’ll be on your way to making a profound difference in the lives of animals.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Dawn Lind

    I have lived on Long Island for nearly 20 years, but have been an animal lover my entire life. I recently retired and now have the time to do what I've really wanted to do for a very long time - help animals and work with people that want to help animals. I have always supported animal rescue organizations through donations (money, towels, blankets, food), but wanted to do something more hands on. I knew that Bideawee operated out of Wantagh even after the adoption facility closed, so I went to www.bideawee.org and looked up volunteer opportunities. While at the volunteer orientation, the Volunteer and Events Manager went over the volunteer opportunities at Bideawee, and I was so impressed to hear that not only can volunteers work directly with the animals, but are welcomed into the surrounding business areas to help like a staff member. When I learned there were opportunities in the Customer Development area, I knew I found the perfect fit for me. I had spent many years in sales and customer service prior to retiring. I thought that I would be able to help and I was hooked!

    I volunteer in the Customer Development/Customer Service area on a regular basis, and also help out when the group needs additional help during peak periods. I am a resource for people that call Bideawee that need to speak to someone or get information regarding specific areas (i.e. adoption requirements, locations and hours and veterinary clinic hours and locations). I often help callers determine exactly what and who they need to speak with. I have done research and have compiled a binder of information for commonly asked questions (i.e. low cost spay/neuter and animal medical care facilities and wildlife rehabilitators), and I help with proof reading and fulfillment of mailings. My favorite part about volunteering, though, is the feeling that I am helping animals, their owners and the other people that work at Bideawee. All the work that goes on at Bideawee ultimately leads to the support and eventual loving homes for animals, so doing my part in the Call Center really does aid in Bideawee’s goals and missions to save dogs and cats. As advice to those who love animals and have skills that could help Bideawee not only in the direct handling of animals, but in their administrative areas as well, fill out a volunteer application and attend one of the orientation sessions. You'll learn a lot more about what Bideawee does and how you can help. You'll be glad you did!

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Tricia Paisley

    My dog Stella, who was a cherished member of the family, passed away at the beginning of 2013. After some research, I came across Bideawee's Pet Loss Support group, and called to get more information. The Volunteer and Events Manager called me back, and because I was intrigued about her title, I asked her additional questions about Bideawee's Volunteer Program. After I heard about the volunteer program at Bideawee’s Wantagh facility, I decided that volunteering would be a wonderful way of honoring the life of my dog, Stella.

    Before volunteering, I was helping to promote homeless animals via social media, so helping animals has always been dear to my heart. When I attended the volunteer orientation, I was very impressed with PAWS, Bideawee's Prevention and Wellness Satellite program. I love what this unit is about - the animals that come here are new to Bideawee and are about to embark on a brand new life they probably never dreamed of. Becoming a volunteer at PAWS gave me the opportunity to be hands on with homeless animals that are rescued from all over the country.

    My favorite part about volunteering is caring for homeless animals and working with a caring, knowledgeable staff. I enjoy working in the kennels with the dogs and I always bring them outside for some fresh air & sunshine. When I return them to their kennel, after it is clean, I make a cozy environment for them to rest in. I always chat with them and let them know they are safe now and that the Bideawee adoption staff is going to find them a wonderful family. Just being there and helping to keep the animals clean and happy is something that makes a huge difference in their lives, and helps bring them one step closer to finding forever homes.

    What I did not realize prior to volunteering is that Bideawee in Wantagh has many different volunteer opportunities. Along with the PAWS program, I've volunteered in the administrative offices, participated in mobile adoption and special events, planted flowers at the memorial park. I am also a Volunteer Mentor, which means that I help to train new volunteers. Volunteering at Bideawee has been a very rewarding experience and a wonderful way for me to honor my angel dog, Stella. Visit the Bideawee volunteer section of the organization’s website to learn more about the Bideawee volunteer program and about how you can volunteer to help pets in need.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Danielle Paul

    I’m a new addition to the Bideawee Volunteer team. I learned about Bideawee through a friend who had recently adopted their dog from Bideawee’s Westhampton location. I had thought about volunteering in the past, but decided to visit the Adoption Center at Bideawee myself and see if it would be a place that I would feel comfortable. When I first visited the Westhampton location I was impressed with the overall appearance of the Adoption Center. There is a tremendous amount of effort from the employees and volunteers to insure the animals are happy and healthy. From that first visit I knew I wanted to donate my time to Bideawee.

    My favorite part of volunteering is knowing that after each visit, I helped make a difference in the life of a homeless animal. I highly recommend all animal lovers think about volunteering their time to help homeless animals at Bideawee. Donating my time has been a truly rewarding experience, and I’m so glad I chose to get involved with this organization.

    To learn more about becoming a volunteer at Bideawee, click here.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Giovanna Ianiro

    I've been volunteering with Bideawee since April of 2013. Dogs have always been a part of my family and I knew that when time permitted, I would care for dogs who were less fortunate than my own. Being a part of good cause is important to me, but being involved with a cause that I am so passionate about means everything to me.

    I first learned about Bideawee when my childhood dog passed away. My family looked for a way to adequately mourn our best friend, and fortunately, we found our way to the Pet Memorial Park at Bideawee. The staff at the Pet Memorial Park helped us to pay tribute to our loving companion and the experience was one I never forgot.

    After that encounter with Bideawee, I was compelled to help them in any way I could. Bideawee is my favorite organization of its kind because of all it offers: from caring for sick animals, finding animals new homes, and respectfully honoring them once they have passed. I have yet to come across another organization that provides the same spectrum of care.

    When I volunteer at Bideawee, I get to witness the animals’ transformation, from scared, sometimes sickly beings, to healthy, happy, loved family pets. It’s a tremendous honor to know that I’ve played a part in that transformation. It's also amazing to see the everyday dedication of the people who work there. I spend a lot of time with the animals at Prevention And Wellness Satellite (PAWS) in Wantagh and also help out at mobile adoption events in Nassau County – I enjoy working in both areas because I get to see the impact I’m having with the animals in very different ways. I can honestly say that volunteering at Bideawee is the highlight of my week. When my family gets together for dinners on Sunday, they know there's going to be another story about an adorable creature whose life is being turned around because of the people who care at Bideawee. I am honored to be one of those people. To learn more about how you can the Bideawee Volunteer family visit Bideawee’s Volunteer department.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Daniella Rossi

    I had been seeking a shelter to volunteer my time helping cats after my husband and I moved to NYC from Britain with our two cats. Cats have always held a special place in my heart and I wanted to give back to the community by donating my time. I had been researching animal shelters to volunteer with cats in NYC online and came across a few different shelters in the city, but Bideawee's mission and clean facility stood out to me so I decided to apply. I started my volunteer training in March of 2013 and after meeting the wonderful animals, staff and volunteers that make up the Bideawee family, I knew it was the right place for me.

    I have been volunteering for about 9 months now and mainly brush the cats, play with them, and help socialize them. My favorite part of volunteering is being able to spend time with such amazing pets and help the matchmakers make the pets’ lives happy and healthy. My favorite cat at Bideawee is named Stephen. Poor Stephen was abandoned when his owner moved away. He was horribly depressed and had stopped eating during his first days at the adoption center, but the staff and volunteers worked together to sit with him, hand feed him, and give him all the attention and affection he could want. Now he’s a happy, loving lap cat, and I can’t wait for him to find his forever home. As a volunteer, it is hard not to take each animal home with you.

    My husband and I already had two cats when I started volunteering at Bideawee, but after spending a few months with the wonderful and kooky Bideawee cats, I decided I wanted to give one of them a home. One day I walked into the cat adoption room and saw toothless Toby sitting in front of me--grunting the cutest little grunts. I knew immediately that he had to come home with me. A week later, he was snuggling with my husband and me in our home and now enjoys sitting on his cat post, munching on treats, and grunting "hello" to everyone who walks by.

    Bideawee has truly made a difference in my life and I'm so happy to be able to help make a difference in the lives of the animals awaiting their forever home. I always look forward to visiting Bideawee since volunteering at the adoption center is the most rewarding part of my week.

    To learn more about becoming a volunteer at Bideawee, visit http://www.bideawee.org/Volunteer-Now

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Sally Pope

    Bideawee in Westhampton is just up the road from my home, and I pass it often. Many years ago, I went inside and came home with a special cat that lived with us for more than fifteen years. Unfortunately, I’m not in a place to adopt another cat right now so instead I volunteer at Bideawee. Being a member of the Bideawee volunteer family provides me with the opportunity to enjoy the organization’s many cats and dogs, as they wait for adoption.

    Being a volunteer at Bideawee makes me happy because I believe that one of the rewards of life is experiencing a cat’s purr, and it happens often with the Bideawee cats as they enjoy your attention. It is also rewarding to see the development of shy cats that slowly but surely come out of their shell as I work with them. I don’t forget the dogs who jump with joy as you take them out for a walk. Those walks around Bideawee’s beautiful Westhampton campus are both good for them, and good for me.

    Bideawee is also about people: the capable and caring people who work there, the other volunteers who share in your commitment to the animals, and the members of the public who look to the organization to provide the care and expertise needed to match pets with the people who love them. The training of volunteers is full of encouragement, as well as information about the organization and procedures. Animals are trained, evaluated and cared for in a process that builds confidence in the animals, and also in the volunteers. As a volunteer, I always feel like I’ve joined a winning team.

    My Bideawee volunteer experience provides me with the best of all worlds. My efforts have a profound impact on the lives of animals, and ultimately, on the adopters who come to share their lives with them. I know that many people feel like it would be hard to spend their days in the presence of homeless animals, but I am grateful to be a part of their temporary home, and every day, I know they are one step closer to the lives they deserve. To learn more about becoming a volunteer at Bideawee, visit http://www.bideawee.org/Volunteer-Now

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Hannah Weinberg

    I have been volunteering with Bideawee since March, when I learned about the opportunity from my mother’s friend, who is on the Board of Directors at Bideawee.

    I applied to volunteer because I’ve always loved animals and I’m looking to learn as much as I can so that I can pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian in the future. Dogs and cats provide me with an escape from stress and help me relax when I’m not in school. I generally come in on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 3-5pm since that’s the most convenient time for me, but during the summer I’ve put in extra hours because I’m off from school.

    When I come into the Adoption Center I usually say hello to Melissa, the Volunteer & Events Manager in Bideawee NYC, and her office kitty named Beonin, before setting off to work with the other kitties. I make sure to spend time in each room: playing with the kittens in the kitten room, cuddling with the ‘large marge’ kitties in the ‘Weight Watchers’ room, helping groom the cats in cat adoptions, and of course, I never forget to say hello to the office cats on the 3rd and 4th Floors.” It’s important for me to give each and every cat the attention they deserve. My family has two dogs, but because my mother is allergic to cats, I try to make my most of the time with the cats when I’m at Bideawee. My favorite kitties are Honey, Zoe, and Ebony.

    Volunteering at Bideawee has shown me how each animal can be affectionate in a unique way. I’d highly recommend volunteering at Bideawee because you get to meet so many kinds of wonderful animals and people. The staff and volunteers are very helpful and supportive so you really feel like you are part of a family when you walk through the doors. It is a real pleasure to volunteer at Bideawee and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do so. To learn more about becoming a volunteer at Bideawee, visit http://www.bideawee.org/Volunteer-Now

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Michael McCutcheon

    From the time I was a child, I've always had a strong connection to animals and they have always been a part of my life. Unfortunately, four years ago, my rescue greyhound and min-pin passed away within months of each other. After we came to terms with the loss of our 4-legged best friends we began discussing getting another pet. As luck would have it, the building that we lived in wasn’t dog friendly so we decided to adopt a cat from Bideawee.

    Our Bideawee cat is named Bowie. He had a broken jaw when he arrived at Bideawee and the care he received there was amazing. Different staff members took him home when he was at a critical point in his healing. Bowie had the spirit to open his big eyes and lick me when I put my hand up to let him smell me. It was then that I knew he was the right cat for me.

    As we were going through the adoption process at Bideawee I was taken by how much the staff and volunteers genuinely cared for the animals. The camaraderie between the staff and volunteers was apparent and I thought that Bideawee was a place that would truly appreciate my lifelong love of animals and give me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of animals in need.

    I’ve been a Bideawee Volunteer for approximately 6 months and I get the opportunity to care for the cats and the dogs. One of the great things about volunteering at Bideawee is that you have a chance to work across the organization in a variety of capacities so I get to help out with anything else that might be needed.

    I have a routine that I follow when I volunteer. The first thing that I do when I get to the shelter is say hi to Midge the older kitty, then I spend time with the cats - making sure they have fresh water, food and litter, as well as getting them a little play time and exercise. Then, I check in with the dogs and walk them after their feeding. I'm currently able to walk the majority of dogs at Bideawee and I’m participating in a variety of training classes so I learn the skills necessary that enable me work with a few of the dogs that need additional behavior training.

    Since the first day that I walked into Bideawee when we adopted our cat, I've felt a connection to the organization and their mission. The compassion and dedication that they provide in all aspects of their operation is palpable and I'm really grateful to be a part of the Bideawee family. Every week I look forward to spending time at Bideawee, and I'm sure it will always be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences in my life.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Helene Flor

    As I entered into the next phase of my life, I began to think about how I wanted to spend my new-found time. I always said that when I retired, I wanted to work with animals. One day when I was having a garage sale, a woman stopped by to pick up a pup tent, and began talking about her experience volunteering at Bideawee. She told me a little about the program, and said that she loved the people and environment. In the days that followed, I began to do some research of my own. Bideawee was a household name when I was growing up on the South Shore of Long Island, but I wasn’t even aware that they were still in business. I am very grateful to today to know that they are!

    I have met the most amazing people and I truly admire the staff at PAWS - Bideawee’s Prevention and Wellness Satellite program dedicated to caring for animals before they are ready to be adopted. Their compassion and care for all the animals is outstanding. After riding the railroad and working in the city for almost 32 years, joining the volunteer program has made me feel fulfilled. I love walking in to see all of the new arrivals, as well as those with whom I’ve established a relationship. Giving my time to Bideawee has been one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had.

    Among so many other gifts, my experience with Bideawee has brought my beloved dog into my life. He is the most loveable dog and has fit into the family like he was always here. Sammy (aka Sancho) is a special needs dog that has issues with his front paws. We have nicknamed him “Crocadilly” since that is the way he looks when he walks. I often think back to that chance encounter with the Bideawee volunteer at my garage sale, and I know that she was placed in my path for an important reason. Volunteering my time at Bideawee makes me feel like I really am making a difference in the lives of these animals and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. For more information about how you can join me and the entire Bideawee volunteer family help animals in need visit http://www.bideawee.org/Volunteer-Now .

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Fanny Siow

    I chose to volunteer at Bideawee because I wanted to help animals waiting to find their forever home when I wasn’t busy in school or working as a nanny. I didn’t have pets growing up because my father was allergic to them and now my apartment doesn’t allow pets, so volunteering gives me the interaction with animals I have always craved.

    I love spending my time socializing and playing with the cats, especially the kittens. My favorite Bideawee cat is Checkers and I always make sure he gets playtime with his favorite bird toy whenever I am volunteering. I have learned so much about cat behavior since joining the Bideawee family. I’ve recently helped out at a few events, including the May 2nd book signing event featuring author, Gwen Cooper.

    My experience volunteering at Bideawee has been so positive that I’ve even taken it upon myself to act as a de facto brand ambassador for Bideawee, telling all my friends in college about Bideawee’s mission and how they can get involved. I’ve volunteered more than 100 hours in the past 5 months and I’m hopeful this is only the beginning of my Bideawee volunteer journey. Whether I’m handing out raffle tickets and free Litter Genies at events or cuddled up in the kitten room, I always feel like I am making a difference and supporting a mission I am passionate about, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

    I encourage you to join the Bideawee volunteer family.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Shanice Lewis

    My name is Shanice Lewis and I've been a volunteer at Bideawee Manhattan for five months. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve already contributed more than 100 hours of service. I love volunteering at Bideawee because it helps me gain valuable experience working with animals so I have the necessary background to pursue a career working with animals. I'm currently taking classes to become a Pet Care Technician and I aspire to become a Veterinary Technician.

    When I’m volunteering at Bideawee, I help clean cat and dog cages, take dogs for walks, socialize the animals, and even assist the staff with routine tasks such as doing laundry. My favorite cat at the shelter is Checkers so I can usually be found in the cat room snuggling up with him. I’m grateful to the Bideawee staff for taking me under their wing and showing me the ropes of animal welfare. They have welcomed me into the Bideawee family and taught me so much about the cats and dogs at the shelter. They’ve also taken the time to give me tips that help me with my own pets.

    I have completed training sessions with the Bideawee behaviorist and have participated in the weekly staff training sessions to expand my skill set and further assist the animals at the Adoption Center. I chose to volunteer at Bideawee after hearing a lot of great feedback from classmates who had also volunteered at Bideawee’s Manhattan location.

    When I began high school, I've known that I wanted to help animals and am grateful to Bideawee for helping me on the road to accomplish my dream. I have learned a tremendous amount form the staff and other volunteers during my time at Bideawee and plan to continue volunteering at the shelter for many years to come! You definitely feel like part of the Bideawee family when you become a volunteer! For more information on how you can become a volunteer at Bideawee, visit us here.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Jill Erickson

    For the past six months Wednesday has been the happiest day of my week. That's when I do my volunteer work at Bideawee, an organization I've long admired, and now I have the privilege of working for. When I tell people that I am volunteering for this wonderful organization they'll undoubtedly say "bless you" for giving your time, but I know I am the one who is blessed. The majority of my time is spent with the many kittens and cats that Bideawee affords safe haven to, and there is nothing more satisfying then having a cat like Midge, a senior cat with special needs, stand up in her bed to acknowledge you. The benefits of spending time at Bideawee are innumerable. Although the focus of my volunteer work is spending time with all the wonderful cats and dogs, which I do on site and at the many adoption events Bideawee participates in monthly, I have found a community of wonderful and dedicated individuals in both my co-volunteers and the staff members who tend to the needs of these wonderful creatures around the clock. I've been told by friends and family that they haven't seen me this happy since I left my old job which I loved and had been at for many years. I know it's been said before but, I get so much more out of doing this work than anyone can imagine. I am grateful fo Bideawee for the work that they do and a proud member of their growing community.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Jonathan Mannhaupt

    In 2010 my dog became sick and had to be put to sleep. Unfortunately, when I was finally ready for a new dog my living arrangements wouldn't permit it. I had looked into volunteering at Bideawee a few times after my dog passed, but the timing wasn’t right and I couldn't bring myself to do it. I simply wasn't ready. I finally felt ready in May of 2012 and sent in my volunteer application.

    I had been to Bideawee a few times for veterinary services, but had never spent any time at the Adoption Center at Bideawee. Like many new experiences, my first trip was intimidating, but the staff made it one of their goals to make me feel welcome. The staff and volunteers at Bideawee never ceased to make me feel appreciated and comfortable--from the day of my volunteer orientation, through my early days volunteering in the Adoption Center--to the present time.

    I love coming to Bideawee and try to make a point of volunteering once a week. I enjoy walking the dogs and feel like I play an important part in their development. Despite bonding with the dogs, I never feel anything but joy and gratitude when they are adopted. I'm so excited for them. I take a lot of pride in my contribution to their socialization and there is nothing like the gift of watching them find their forever homes.

    I often say that whatever I am giving Bideawee, I am getting back tenfold. No matter how my week has been or how I may be feeling, volunteering never fails to bring a smile to my face and heart. The response from the animals and appreciation from the staff make it all worthwhile. I am happy to help Bideawee whenever I can and I feel today that instead of having one dog, I have many... and that's a great feeling.

    I encourage you to join me and become a member of the Bideawee volunteer family and give your time and love to animals in need. It's easy to join our family, just fill out a volunteer application online at bideawee.org or contact the Volunteer & Event Manager at the Bideawee location nearest you.

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Mari Fetzer

    When I tell people that I volunteer at an animal adoption center, they often say, "I couldn't volunteer, it'd be too hard to see all those homeless animals." But at Bideawee, just the opposite is true - all the lucky animals who wind up here to "stay a while" are giving unlimited love from all of the staff and volunteers, and it is a joy to be a volunteer at this great organization.

    I've been a volunteer since 2008 and a member of the Paw'd Squad for the past two years, conducting off-site adoptions at events all around the city. It was a honor to be invited to be on the team. I trained for three months by shadowing the Bideawee matchmakers at the adoption center as they evaluated potential adopters. I learned how to navigate the adoption software and set up our systems off site. We created "event kits" that allow us to set up an event site quickly and efficiently. I learned in depth about all the services that Bideawee offers, and the rich history of the organization.

    I currently volunteer for outreach events once or twice a month all over Manhattan. I've been to the Blessing of the Animals, Adoptapalooza, and Whiskers in Wonderland, to name a few. Sometimes we adopt out 2 or 3 animals at an event, and sometimes none at all; every time, we connect with animal lovers from every walk of life. The best conversations I have are with people who have pre-conceived notions that "rescue animals" inherently have behavioral or physical problems and then being able to turn that viewpoint around. And of course, seeing an animal find his or her forever home is priceless.

    Aside from cuddling puppies, the best thing about volunteering at Bideawee is that that the volunteer program is robust and well-run. The volunteers are an integral part of the organization and I always know that my work at Bideawee is making a difference.

     

     

     

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