Alyssa and Brandon - dogsIt was more than 56 years ago that the Arizona Humane Society was founded by a compassionate group of volunteers. To this day, AHS has more than 1,800 volunteer and foster families who put in more than 282,000 volunteer hours last year – the equivalent of 136 full-time employees! We are so thankful for, and could not be more proud of, each and every one of them and would like to introduce you to a few:   Meet Alyssa and Brandon Dawson   24-year-old Alyssa Dawson was just 3 years old when she got her first puppy – a Toy Poodle she named Amanda (full name - Alyssa’s Amanda Louise). For the next 16 years, they were the best of friends and it was not too surprising that, as a teenager, Amanda fell in love with AHS after a visit with her Nana. Nana took home a “Young at Heart” (over 5 years of age) dog that day and that memory with her Nana, along with news of a shelter volunteer program, nearly sealed her fate.   But, it wasn’t until a few years later that Alyssa and her 27-year-old husband, Brandon Dawson, would embark on a volunteer mission together at AHS. For Brandon, volunteer work was nothing new as he spent two years on a church mission in Russia and Belarus where he volunteered at orphanages, hospitals and schools. Yet, for both, there is just something about seeing homeless animals find their forever homes. Alyssa says, “Each time I volunteer I’m greeted by wagging tails and sweet smiles, these animals just want to show their love and be loved in return. Typically, by the end of my shift my cheeks seem to be sore from smiling, I just can’t seem to stop smiling when I’m there.”   Meet Steve Holt   For 34 years, Steve Holt pracsteve 004 (2)ticed medicine as a physician specializing in interventional radiology. He thought retirement to Scottsdale, Arizona with golf clubs in hand would be all that he needed, but he soon found out differently and in 2007 he ended up at AHS. While he began volunteering in the Admissions Department where heartbroken people surrender their pets, his passion for medicine soon led him to a more hands-on volunteer role in AHS’ Sunnyslope Public Clinic.   Steve can now be found every Friday from 8 a.m. until noon assisting at AHS’ low-cost vaccination clinic. He says the thing that amazes him the most about volunteering in the public clinic is how much people love their pets and although many of them have very limited incomes they try to take the very best care that they can of their pets. It is Steve’s love of his own dog, a 6-year-old shelter dog named Parker, and volunteering that help keep him young. In addition to AHS, Steve also began volunteering as a steward for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy in Scottsdale and takes part in the hike and bike patrol. What energy!   The Arizona Humane Society would like to thank the 1,883 volunteers and foster parents who make our mission possible. We could not do it without you!  
April 24, 2013