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Seasonal Volunteer Spotlight

As spring approaches, flowers will bloom, kittens will be born, and we will start to host a lot of offsite events! This season’s volunteer spotlight we are highlighting four volunteers who have been critical to the success of our offsite events. From leading events, to helping recruit adoptable dogs and their foster parents or volunteer handlers, these individuals have continued to support the small but mighty events team at LifeLine time and time again. Take some time to learn more about each of these four amazing people!

Pat Bainbridge
Pat Bainbridge

What made you want to get involved with LifeLine?

I wanted to get involved with LifeLine when they first started but was working a lot at the time and had an elderly Mom. Mom and I used to watch the segments about LifeLine on the news. I knew I would volunteer one day. So last Spring, I signed up. It has been the best thing I ever did. I love the dogs, cats, and the wonderful people. LifeLine is family now and forever!

What is your favorite volunteer activity?

My favorite volunteer activity is working the events! But, equally my favorite is spending time with the dogs. I love going to the events, meeting new dogs, and watching the ones I know get adopted/fostered (i.e. Captain Butter Biscuit). I also love working with wonderful people. Brantlee, Liz, Jennifer, and Ellie and many others are all so wonderful, and I have learned lots from them. The events bring the dogs and people together in a happy, fun environment.

How were you able to use your unique set of skills to help LifeLine?

I do not have great dog-handling skills, but I have patience and I try to learn from everyone around me. I love the teamwork with my fellow volunteers and friends. It is SO MUCH FUN! Whether we are walking dogs, cleaning kennels at the shelter, working up front with adoptions, foster and the Community Support teams, doing laundry and dishes, or working the events – LifeLine is the best place!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about volunteering?

I would tell anyone interested in volunteering/fostering to DO IT! It makes your heart happy to help these sweet dogs and cats. It is the BEST thing I have ever done in my life. There are so many things to do at LifeLine. Whatever task you choose will be so helpful. Your heart will be full and you get to work with wonderful people! 

Pat Bainbridge 4
Jennifer McCormick

What made you want to get involved with LifeLine?

I started volunteering with a local rescue about 15 years ago. On my very first shift a staff member asked me to hold a puppy for a minute. He gave me kisses and piddled on my shirt. I was in love! Years later I discovered all that LifeLine does for community animals and I knew it was the right organization to offer my skills and energy.

What is your favorite volunteer activity?

My primary volunteer focus is offsite events. And sometimes we are fortunate to see adoptions happen right then and there. These are my favorite events. The dog knows something wonderful is happening. The humans are full of excitement. Occasionally there are happy tears. It’s a good day.

Jennifer McCormick 3

How were you able to use your unique set of skills to help LifeLine?

Honestly, LifeLine has helped me better develop my skills. I hate public speaking, but my passion for helping animals find forever homes motivates me to talk to people about the joys of pet parenting. My event experience has definitely helped me in my professional career. Thank you, LifeLine!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Don’t overthink it. You may think you’re too busy, but you’ll be amazed at how fun it is to help at LifeLine. And how you’ll want to make the time to get involved. I always look forward to our next event! It makes my week.

Rachel Cronin

What made you get involved with LifeLine?

Prior to volunteering with LifeLine, I became familiar with the organization when I found stray animals in need of care. In two very different cases (a newborn kitten found in my yard, and a terrier found on a busy street), I was confident in placing found animals in LifeLine’s shelters, knowing they would be well cared for. I also adopted my dog, Kimmi, from their Dekalb County shelter about ten years ago. I appreciated everything LifeLine did and wanted to give back somehow. However, I was reluctant to volunteer within shelters, knowing I’d likely leave with a busload of animals after each visit. In 2018, a friend of mine encouraged me to volunteer at LifeLine events with her, and I’m forever grateful! These past years as an events volunteer have been incredibly rewarding and impactful.

What is your favorite volunteer activity?

I’d say that I don’t have a favorite moment or activity, but an ongoing feeling of fulfillment that volunteering here gives me. Through the dedicated efforts of our staff, volunteers, and donors, LifeLine addresses all facets of community animal welfare. From providing resources for housed animals, TNR services for stray animals, to housing and caring for adoptable animals, LifeLine is an incredibly effective organization. I love being a part of this amazing team!

How were you able to use your unique set of skills to help LifeLine?

As a former early childhood teacher and caregiver, I have a knack for adapting myself and my environment to optimize our outcomes. Are we raising awareness at this event? I’ll pass out the freebies. Tabling an adoption event? Let’s learn about our event’s adoptable animals to help make matches! While there are predefined duties that our shelters have, I think adaptability is important, particularly at events where we may get a curveball or two (such as the ever-changing weather of Atlanta).

Rachel Cronin 2

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about volunteering?

If you’re thinking about volunteering, ask yourself this: What personal or career goals do you have? There’s a way to achieve these goals through volunteering at LifeLine. From losing weight (walking our adoptable dogs), starting hobbies (making enrichment toys at home), to adding marketable skills to your résumé (check out all our ways to volunteer), your help here will help you grow, too. Thinking about fostering? We get a lot of big dogs, many of which appear to be pitbulls and mixed breeds. Don’t let their tarnished reputation fool you. What I’ve learned through working with rescues, including the beloved “couch hippo,” is that they thrive with structure, routine, and love. Our biggest need for fostering is large dogs, and when you foster one, you’re not only providing them with an enriching environment to thrive and learn in – you’re also opening a spot within our shelters for more dogs looking for their forever home.

Jan Riddle

What made you get involved with LifeLine?

I became involved with LifeLine and Fulton County through Atlanta Best Friends Animal Society.  When Best Friends went entirely foster-based, I missed the interactions of being around, walking, and hanging out with the dogs. 

What is your favorite volunteer activity?

My favorite moments are having my fosters get adopted or move on to a better situation.  I also enjoy the energy and participation from groups who come in to do “day in the life of staff and dogs.” I love my fellow volunteers and LifeLine staff for all sorts of reasons; helping catch kennel escapees, helping lift heavy pups to second level shorelines, and most of all the good humor.

Jan Riddle 2

How were you able to use your unique set of skills to help LifeLine?

Unique set of skills? Hmm, my second language doesn’t help, my sense of humor is hit or miss, emergency management, airline background? I wanted to volunteer with dogs and have been fortunate that it happened. What I didn’t know is that it would become a passion.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Do it because it resonates with you.  There are so many volunteer/foster opportunities. The good news is the choice on what to do is up to the individual and you will have a community of staff and volunteers as support. And you are helping the dogs and cats every time.

Jan Riddle

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