Teamwork, communication and friendship are the three words that nearly every member of the Monday night 7 – 9pm kennel crew uses to describe their shift.
Getting to play with our lovable dogs is a favorite part of all their volunteer duties, Tara Palmer, who started with WSHS in January 2012 says there’s “nothing like playing with a friendly pooch to melt Monday stress away.” But it’s not just playing that this team enjoys. It’s learning, too – from each other and from the dogs. Kelsey Steinbach, who has been volunteering at WSHS for 15 years says she has learned “an immense amount, including how to work comfortably and efficiently with others, how to truthfully but positively interact with ‘customers’ and how to communicate with dogs.” Jackie Dornback, who started on the shift about four years ago, says she has learned that WSHS “is a place where animals are loved and given a second chance. Coming here on Monday nights reminds me that we can make a difference.”
Unsurprisingly, all of the members of this kennel crew have dogs at home, as well. Jackie has three rescue English bulldogs (Mona, Mimi, and Olive) and a one-eyed rescue pug named Bullseye. Lisa Jo has two English bulldogs and an English setter. Tara has Lucy, a black lab mix who loves to play fetch. Linda adopted her golden retriever/sheltie/dachshund mix 6 months after starting to volunteer and then became a foster failure after doing weekend temp-care for her yorkie-poo. Kelsey is mom to cattle dog mix Annie, border collie Maxwell, and a rescue mouse named George. Pam Kevil, whose brother Sean (SP?)has recently joined the shift, has WSHS alum Gem and is fostering Remi, formerly Admiral who had heart surgery at U of I as a puppy.
This crew has (literally) weathered some storms to care for the animals. Lisa Jo recalls one stormy Monday night: “Several years ago there was a power outage on a very hot summer night. We had to get generators up and running to power fans in the cattery and kennel. We stayed through the night to keep gas in the generators to keep fans running. It wasn’t the most comfortable sleepover ever, but we made the best of it and had fun anyway.”