Artitudes Design takes pride in supporting local, non-profit organizations, but did you know that many of our employees volunteer for non-profits in their personal time? It has been a well-known fact that Artitudes is a dog-friendly workplace; some of our employees bring their dogs to work. But beyond that, some of us also volunteer our time to help local shelter animals in need.
Carrie Searing, our Executive Assistant, has volunteered as a foster parent for Ginger’s Pet Rescue for five years. So far, she has fostered about fifteen dogs, helped with adoption counseling, and participated in numerous weekly adoption events all over Seattle and the Eastside.
One of Carrie’s favorite fostering experiences involved a dog named “Mama Rico.” Mama had been found by a veterinary student on a pile of hay near a resort in Puerto Rico, having recently given birth to a litter of puppies. The student was kind enough to cover air travel costs, allowing Mama to fly to Washington State and find refuge with Ginger’s Pet Rescue. Carrie began to foster Mama soon after the dog had tested positive for heartworm, a deadly parasitic disease that is difficult to treat. Veterinarians warned Carrie that too much activity during heartworm treatment could dislodge deceased worms from Mama’s heart and block arteries. As a result, Carrie would not even let Mama walk down the stairs from her apartment to the car! Once Mama was free from heartworm, she became a happy and playful dog. Carrie fostered her for about five months, until she had found herself a loving forever home with a woman in Renton, WA. Mama Rico is now named “Ruby,” which is derived from “Rubia,” meaning “blonde girl” in Spanish.
Carrie says fostering animals is a great way to save lives when you aren’t ready or able to be a pet parent yourself. “If you want a dog someday, but aren’t yet ready for the responsibilities of dog ownership,” she says, “fostering is a great way to learn about breeds and what kind of dog would work well with you and your family in the future.” She notes how it’s also a great way to teach your kids the importance of giving back to the community.
Last June, our Project Manager, Anna, and her then-fiancé Patrick attended one of Ginger’s Pet Rescue’s adoption events to greet Carrie while she was working there. By the time they arrived, Carrie’s foster dog had been adopted and she had gone home. Anna and Patrick already had two dogs at home; they were not planning on adopting, but they decided to visit the dogs anyway. Many of the available puppies and dogs had been brought over from Taiwan – where 70% of shelter dogs are euthanized after just twelve days. During the event, Anna and Patrick met “Lulu” and fell in love. “At only four months, Lulu was all ears and legs and full of energy,” Anna says. “Her personality had us smitten.” Right away they knew they had to make room in their home for one more.
Katherine Crim, our new Social Media Intern, has volunteered at the Seattle Humane Society of Bellevue, WA for nearly a year and a half. While there, she has helped with cat kennel cleaning, administrative tasks, and has just started in the dog training and socialization program.
As a cat lover and owner of many rescue kitties over the years, her first shift at Seattle Humane was working in the cat kennels first thing in the morning, cleaning last night’s messes and delivering breakfasts. When she had extra time, she would spend a few minutes playing, petting and otherwise showing love to the lonely and restless cats in their care. Most of the cats, she says, are just scared. They don’t understand what is happening. A lot of them just miss the company of a human being, and will stop at nothing to get attention. “They are sweet cats,” she says. “They just want some love.”
Katherine enjoys working with the many different cats in the shelter, and finds she has learned a lot about cat behavior and communication, which has strengthened her bond with cats she encounters away from the shelter. She says that volunteering at an animal shelter is a great way to learn about animals, animal behavior, and what people are doing – and can do – to help improve the lives of homeless pets. “It’s a job I feel good about,” she says, “knowing I did something to make their lives better.”
For more information about these local animal shelters and how you can help, take a look at the websites for Ginger’s Pet Rescue and the Seattle Humane Society:
Service PTO is an unusual benefit that Artitudes and Visual Quill offer to their staff. Employees are given fully-paid time off for volunteer service at a non-profit organization of their choice. Volunteering is not only a great way to do good in your community, but also a way to enrich your own life. Have you rescued, fostered or volunteered at an animal shelter? If so, how has it enriched your life? If not, would you like to someday?