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Susan Brown Matsumoto, Volunteer Photographer

My journey into volunteering with The Ark of San Juan Companion Animal Rescue came about after the loss of my beloved cat of 17 years last July. Fortunately a friend suggested taking my grief and doing something positive to help others. She said take your love for animals and photography and help out a pet rescue by photographing pets that need homes. I am so thankful I listened because volunteering with The Ark has helped my heart to start healing. It has brought joy into my life again as I witness these precious cats and dogs receive a second chance at forever loving homes. Through The Ark I have met some of the most caring, loving and dedicated people and it warms my heart to know I am part of such a special organization. I see how they go the extra mile and always put the needs of the pets first. So for now I volunteer my photographic services capturing the personalities and uniqueness of each cat and dog. I hope in some way my images help to shine a light on how special they all are. My next step is to become a cat foster mom. This will be new to me just like volunteering for the pet rescue, yet I realized all of us working together can make such a big difference in saving innocent lives. There are so many ways and opportunities to help out The Ark by volunteering. I started on this journey to help save pets, yet in so many ways they have saved me. It is so true when you give to others you really do get so much more back in return. 

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Lisa Jameson, Board Member & Dog Committee

After volunteering for a city-run animal shelter for over 10 years, it has been a real pleasure to work with a non-profit animal rescue group. You can give as much time as you want or your schedule allows and it is all appreciated. I love the wide variety of opportunities that are available. There is literally something for everyone. I have enjoyed organizing and attending the dog adoption events, answering our phone line, walking dogs, coordinating the spay/neuter surgeries for our kittens, and transporting dogs to events. I am a board member as well as a member of our dog committee. There are a host of other needs including fundraising, fostering and volunteer organization. Most importantly, I have met so many wonderful like-minded people who have become my friends.


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Mary Marko, Volunteer

My name is Mary Marko. I started volunteering at The ArK of San Juan Companion Animal Rescue in February of 2016. I volunteer at the Dog Adoptions and other events that the ArK puts on in the community. I continue to volunteer for The Ark of San Juan because of the team that volunteers for the dogs, they are selfless and compassionate & the priority of their team is the safety, care and well being of the dogs. They have welcomed me into the organization with open arms.

I volunteer at The Ark because of my love for dogs, and it is very clear and obvious that all the volunteers are very committed and have great pride in all the wonderful accomplishments they have made, for all the dogs they have rescued and found homes for.

I love being a volunteer and appreciate them all.

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Ghis Longton, Volunteer

We came to this area just over a year ago with our three cats and two dogs and knew not a soul! As we became established, I realized that I was becoming rather reclusive and a bit bored! One day at PetSmart I got chatting with the charming lady who told me all about The Ark and the wonderful work they do and I signed up there and then as a volunteer! Not only do they work tirelessly in rescuing and homing animals who need a second chance in this world or a good ‘first chance’, but also they are the most friendly and sociable group of people I have come across! We are truly indebted to the Ark of San Juan in more ways than one and long may our success continue. Thank you!

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Justine Shaw, Volunteer Coordinator

I began volunteering for animal rescue in San Juan about a dozen years ago. A neighbor asked if my dog and I would walk in the Swallow’s Day Parade to bring awareness to the need for animal rescue. After that I was asked to help walk rescue dogs that were being boarded. From that day on, I was hooked. The boarded dogs were so thrilled to get out for a walk. I then began volunteering for adoption events and at the Petsmart cattery. The greatest reward for volunteering is when someone offers their loving home for one of our animals. It is truly a joy to see an ARK dog or cat get adopted into their forever home. An added bonus to volunteering has been the dear Ark friends I have developed over the years.

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Diane Dokos, Volunteer & Dog Sense Program Coordinator

I became involved with the first organized animal rescue efforts in San Juan Capistrano in 1999. Then in 2008 a few of us from this town organized the Ark of San Juan. Without the Ark the “forgotten animals” of this town would have no chance. Last year my husband (Bill) and I became Foster Failures to Pixie and Poppy. We feel very blessed that they are now a part of our family. Why do I volunteer? When you help in the rescue of an animal you find that you have also rescued yourself. Through the efforts of helping animals I have also made good “life time friends” of the other volunteers. My hope is that everyone who cares about animals volunteers, for the animals of this world need all of us to help.

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