Photos courtesy of Debby Herold Photography
AARCS Featured Volunteer:
A word from Vicki:
I have grown up with and loved animals my entire life. We always had a dog in the house and at one point we had budgies, a hamster and so many fish. I always wanted a cat but my dad wasn’t a fan (funny thing is now his best buddy is a cat), so when I moved out of the house the first thing I did was went out and adopted a cat.
I wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember, unfortunately, my grades did not cooperate with this dream. But I always knew I was meant to do something with animals. Fast forward a few years, and in early 2014 we heard about the Milk River dogs. My boss sent an email to all of the staff saying that anyone that wanted to donate to AARCS to help these poor animals, that she would match their donations. She knew at the time that I couldn’t afford to help financially and suggested I look into volunteering, so I did! I filled out the volunteer application that day and heard back in a couple of days. I had my Dog Orientation at the end of February followed close behind by my Cat Orientation at the beginning of March, and that was it. I was hooked! My mom jokes it’s my own little cult, but I’m ok with that. If this is what a cult is then I guess I’m a very active member.
I have now been with AARCS for almost 4 years in all sorts of capacities including but I’m sure not limited to; Dog Caregiver/Shift Leader, Cat Caregiver/Shift Leader, Events, Education, Training, Transport/SNAP, Pet Store laundry etc. Last year I took on the roll of Cat Shelter Coordinator and am loving the interaction that I have with staff and volunteers in this position. Although technically I’m not supposed to have any more pets in my apartment I also started fostering cats last year. I seem to have a soft spot for the cats I affectionately call the defective kitties. Not that they are in anyway defective, but I seem to take the guys with heart conditions, maybe I can relate having grown up with a heart murmur or maybe it’s just because these guys need the extra love that I have to give them. This has of course proven extremely emotional but so worth every second I get to spend with them.
I have a lot of people tell me they don’t know how I do it, how I can go in and see all the animals in the different states that they come to us. But I just tell them and myself that although it’s very emotional I know that we’re here to get them from the terrible situations they were in to the new loving homes they deserved from day 1. It doesn’t mean you don’t go home some days thinking how I can keep doing this, but you just remind yourself of what they came from and where they’re going to. To help them overcome their fears and injuries and go to a loving furever home IS WHY I CONTINUE DOING THIS!!
I like to think that I do this to save the animals because AARCS saved me in a very down time in my life.
So although AARCS says thank you to me for everything I do for the organization, I want to thank AARCS for coming to my rescue when I needed it the most.
A word from our Volunteer Manager:
This coming January, Vicki will be celebrating four years with AARCS. In those four years we have come to know Vicki and she has become a large part of our team, especially part of our ever growing Cat Team! At some point or another, Vicki has been involved with everything from animal care (both cats and dogs), to events and fundraising, to administrative activities and was instrumental in helping us get our new space set up in 2017. She showed up weekend in and weekend out to help out with whatever we were doing. She painted, she helped move furniture and she did it all while sharing that infectious laugh!
Over the years, I’ve watched Vicki and can honestly say she is one of the most hardworking and dedicated people I know. I can’t imagine AARCS without her and we are incredibly fortunate to have her as part of the AARCS family every day! There really are no words to describe what Vicki means to us, and how much we adore her.
Vicki, we truly can not thank you enough for all you do! Thank you for being you, and for saving so many animals over the years!