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Former volunteer now directs other helpers
Sarah Moody knows exactly what it’s like to be a volunteer at the Kitsap Humane Society animal shelter in Silverdale.
But today, after having been a volunteer, an animal care technician, a veterinarian technician and medical coordinator, she’s the new volunteer coordinator.
“I grew up in Bremerton and I’ve spent my entire life in Kitsap County,” Moody said. “I’ve done just about every job here, cleaned kennels, been an adoption counselor, done intakes when animals are brought in to be surrendered. But I know that the volunteers are the heart and soul of the shelter. They keep this place going. We couldn’t function without them. That’s why I’m so glad to be working with them.”
Moody, 31, recently completed a bachelor’s degree from Tacoma University, in arts, media and culture. Between working at the shelter, she’s been a student at Central Washington University, at Olympic College in Bremerton, and in Tacoma. When the previous volunteer coordinator at the shelter left earlier this fall, Moody decided it was the job for her.
“I had experience here,” she said. “But now I’m coming back with a whole new set of skills from the classes I’ve had in nonprofit management.”
Her work will include matching volunteers to tasks at the shelter and being a contact between the volunteers and the staff. She’ll also be in charge of volunteer recruitment and retention.
“We have a great core group of really dedicated volunteers,” she said. “They put in a lot of time. But the goal of any volunteer coordinator is to recruit more.”
Currently the shelter has 820 volunteers on their register, but not all are active, said Kelly Michaels, director of marketing.
Last year, volunteers put in 36,000 hours. Volunteers often walk dogs or socialize cats. They help with fundraising and they plan special events. They also take on administrative tasks.
“One of my goals is to create new volunteer positions,” said Moody. “I want to find ways that volunteers can be involved and use their talents to help us, but in ways that don’t have to involve direct contact with the animals.”
Another goal she has is to create more diversity in the humane society’s volunteer base.
“We’re looking to find volunteers with language skills,” she said. “People that English is their second language.”
There have been times, she said, when they’ve had customers come in to adopt animals or to surrender animals and communication has been a issue.
“They didn’t speak English well,” she said. “As the Hispanic population grows in Kitsap County, we’re hoping to get some volunteers who can speak Spanish.”
This is especially important to her because of the shelter’s spay and neuter programs. Moody said there are cultural differences in various populations when it comes to philosophical positions regarding sterilization of cats and dogs. Having a native speaker will help in translating the shelter’s goals to spay and neuter to reduce the number of unwanted animals.
Growing up, Moody had both cats and dogs at home. She now has two cats, Jeremy and Marina, and a dauschund, named Weenie. She also has chickens, geese, ducks and guinea fowl. She and her finance, Bobby, who also works as an animal care coordinator at the shelter, have a small home on half an acre near Port Orchard. They hope to find a place closer to Silverdale where they can have goats.
“We want to milk the goats and try to make our own cheese,” she said. “And we want to have bees and make honey.”
She hopes, too, that she’ll then have room to be able to foster kittens at her house.
As far as animals go, Moody loves them all, but said she has a soft spot for older cats.
“My heart goes out to them,” she said. “Some of them have had owners or families who’ve had to give them up. Others have had owners who have died and there’s no one to take them. They’re used to having a home and then all of the sudden, here they are in the shelter.”
Moody would love to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer. It takes an hour orientation and then a couple of hours in either Feline 101 or Canine 101 where volunteers learn how to handle can care for cats or dogs while at the shelter. The classes focus on safety and the prevention of the spread of illness.
To volunteer, contact Moody at 360-692-6977, ext. 1119, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.