Volunteer

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Lonely GSD in the shelter

For only 75¢ a day you can help us pay for one month of food for a rescued German Shepherd.

Volunteer of the Month

Here are the Golden State German Shepherd Rescue Volunteers of the Month! We appreciate all of them for their tireless work.

Volunteer of the Month for November 2012 is Yamin Bilal!

Yamin Bilal

My efforts in rescuing German Shepherd dogs began with German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California (GSRNC) in the summer of 2010. At that time, it was a way for me to spend time with and learn more about the German Shepherd breed, with which I had absolutely no experience at the time, but which is one of several very near and dear to my heart. I originally joined as a dog handler, and as time passed and my skills grew, I began to integrate my skills and experience as a wildlife photographer into my rescue efforts, with the hope that the photos would help boost interest in the dogs. In March 2011, I began conducting combined photo shoots and rural outings for GSDs awaiting their forever homes.

My continued passion to help these majestic animals find homes via photography soon led me to Golden State German Shepherd Rescue, which I joined in July 2012. These days, I can sometimes be found with a camera at adoption days; occasionally walking GSGSR dogs at the beautiful Briones Regional Park in Martinez or the lovely Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley; or scouting for dogs at the Pinole or Martinez Animal Shelter. Because not much is known about the dogs when I pick them up from the kennel, I also provide my first-impression observations to the adoption counsellors to help them match dogs with potential adopters.

I currently own a high energy, all-black, male German Shepherd named Holt, whom I rescued from the Martinez Animal Shelter in August 2012.  I also volunteer with Northern California Sled Dog Rescue (NorSled) and can sometimes be found at the same parks with a camera and one of the beautiful Huskies, Malamutes, or occasional Samoyeds that are available for adoption.

Volunteer of the Month for October 2012 is Sonja Peterson!

Sonja Peterson

You might have heard the inspiring story of the child walking along a beach picking up starfish at low tide and throwing them back into the sea.  The child was told he could never save all the starfish, but as he held one in his hands he said, “But I can save this one.”

This story reminds me so much of how we at GSGSR think about rescuing German Shepherds. When I first entered the UC Davis Vet School, I considered adopting a German Shepherd but realized I could do so much more fostering dogs and finding healthy homes. My role is to teach basic house manners and boundaries.  I have now started to try my skills as an adoption counselor which I’m finding very rewarding. Connecting the families with the right dog is definitely an art.

I’ve fostered several dogs but the one dog that I couldn’t let go of was a handsome boy named Thunder. Thunder has been with me for almost a year now.  This beautiful shepherd had been adopted twice, but was not a good match for these owners.  I kept taking him back and was thrilled when GSGSR was able to send him to a professional trainer. He did great but when I took him to his next adoption event I realized I couldn’t let him go. I formally adopted him and he now serves as a companion for new foster dogs. Just goes to show how a troubled, hard to handle, thrown away dog can turn into a wonderful friend.

Volunteer of the Month for September 2012 is Debbie Bellamy-Reyes!

Debbie Bellamy-Reyes

I first became involved with German shepherd rescue 12 years ago when I was taking our first German shepherd to training classes, and a rescue volunteer brough a different foster dog to the class every Saturday morning.  I watched this parade of wonderful shepherds, and when she brought a puppy named Sunshine to the class, I was hooked.  I asked how my husband and I could get involved, so we joined the group and started fostering.  We failed fostering 101 by adopting our first foster dog, Little Sheba, who was skin and bones, had recently had a litter of puppies, and had a raging infection around her neck from being chained.  She blossomed before our eyes both physically and emotionally, developed an adorable personality and attitude, and started slapping around our big male shepherd, Buddy, who loved her.  So we renamed her Chivita (loosly translated means "little pest") and kept her.  We were on a roll for awhile taking in and adopting out a string of foster dogs until Sarge came to us for behavior modification.  He had been kept in a 4'x4' pen 24 hours a day, had became a spinner, and had chewed off his tail.  We found the right keys to calm him down and stop his self-destructive behaviors, and we had to adopt this once extremely distressed dog who became one big, goofy, happy male.  And we continue to foster.  I'm also on the resource committee helping to plan our one huge annual gala, this year at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Concord on Saturday, October 20, 2012--it's so much fun you all have to come!  And I've started to do some adoption counseling and home visits for potential adopters, and I've dipped my toes into going to the shelter to evaluate and pull adoptable dogs.  I've only done that twice by myself, but both dogs have been adopted to wonderful families who love them, so so far so good.  My favorite quote from a rescue site is, "A foster home is the bridge from what was to what can be."  I feel so honored to be a small part of such a wonderful group of volunteers who unselfishly donate their time in so many different capacities to help save the lives of so many wonderful German shepherds.  It really does take a village just to save one dog.
Shown is a picture of Debbie with one of her foster dogs, Kyra, at the 2012 Golden State German Shepherd Rescue picnic.      

Volunteer of the Month for August 2012 is Tanya Fairbanks!

Tanya Fairbanks

When we bought our 1st home about 5 years ago, the first thing I wanted to add to our family was a dog. We didn't know what kind of dog we wanted, we weren't too sure. I wanted a BIG DOG and my husband Josh, he always had dogs. He had a GS when he was young. I too had a GS/Saint Bernard mix. His name was Lobo ("wolf" in Spanish). I have very little memory of him. No matter what dogs we looked up, it always came back to a GS. We found a breeder in Los Angeles and fell in-love with all the pups, but one stood out the most, "pup #2". Ball of fur and big bones we knew he was for us. We named him "Odin" and he's the love of our life. He grew up with 2 cats and 3 kids. With time, I have wanted so much to have another amazing GS, but we figured that the breeder had raised the price and it would be a while before we could buy a pup.  I searched the web and came across, "Golden State German Shepherd Rescue".  I fell in love with all the pictures and knew that I wanted to get a puppy. It just never was the right time for our family. So I saved the web address and thought I would visit it once in awhile.  Being a stay-at home I had time to play with a puppy so I visited the site again. I immediately applied to volunteer. I was taking a risk like Josh had said. "You can't keep it. You'll have to give it up and You can't do that". he'd say. I was nervous and he was right, but I knew that I already had Odin and even though I would fall in love with a puppy, I knew that I would have to let him go. A few days after emailing the volunteer application I was contacted by Dez Murray and that's all it took.
Dez met with me and gave me my first "rescue pup, Poppy". I fell in-love with her and felt I wasn't going to be able to give her up. I worked closely with her and told myself that regardless how I felt, I would let her go. These pups were coming to me to help them get a good start to becoming someone's forever dog. I would do my best to love the dog and let it know that people still could love animals and that's what I had to focus on. After seeing Poppy get adopted, I knew that I had to keep going. From seeing the intelligence that these dogs have and how they want love and respect, I knew that this is what I am supposed to be doing.
Being a "Foster" is great for me. I get my "puppy fix" and I train the pups as best as I can. Odin gets a temporary playmate and the family gets to enjoy the pup. I would have to say my husband, Josh, is my inspiration to volunteer with GS. Its a way for me to enjoy the animals and know that their going to homes that want them and have the room for them. I have met amazing people and amazing dogs, all by volunteering. I believe that "You can teach an old dog new tricks". Although I have yet to have an old dog, I can teach all the new pups some new tricks.

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