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.
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.
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.
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.