Volunteer Amanda has been working with PAWS NY since January 2019, mostly walking guide dog Valla for her guardian Dawn.
“Growing up with pets, I’ve always been aware of the love, companionship, and support they provide in good times and bad,” Amanda says.
“I believe no one should have to lose a pet due to indigence or disability, especially when other members of the community are ready and able to help out.”
Read Amanda’s full Volunteer Spotlight Q&A below to learn about what she and Valla like to do on their walks, how she’s helped out during the pandemic, and her sweet childhood job!
How did you hear about PAWS NY?
I was looking to do some volunteer work in the city and had been exploring various shelter and rescue programs. When I learned about PAWS NY, which would enable me to give back to the community while combining my love of animals, I was sold.
Why are you passionate about PAWS and our mission of helping people by helping pets?
Growing up with pets, I’ve always been aware of the love, companionship, and support they provide in good times and bad. I believe no one should have to lose a pet due to indigence or disability, especially when other members of the community are ready and able to help out.
Do you have pets of your own? Or have you in the past? Tell us about them!
I do not have a pet of my own at the moment, but have had family dogs since I was born. My parents’ current dog, Andy, is a rescue from Puerto Rico!
What do you do during your volunteer shift? Which clients & pets do you help? What do you do with the pets during your shift?
I support PAWS client Dawn, who is blind, and her lab mix Valla. I visit once a week to walk Valla, helping her to get some exercise and fresh air. On hot days, or when she’s particularly tired, Valla also likes to sit on her stoop and people watch. Over the years, we have met many people (and their pets!) from around the neighborhood.
Did you stay connected to PAWS NY and our clients during the COVID-19 pandemic? What did you do?
First and foremost, I wanted to make sure Dawn and Valla were safe and healthy as the pandemic unfolded. We kept in communication via text, and I checked in periodically to make sure all was okay and to see if they needed anything. Later, as vaccines became available, I also spoke with Dawn about the process of getting an appointment and offered to help if needed.
What is your favorite part about volunteering? Do you have any favorite memories?
I have many favorite parts about volunteering. Obviously I love dogs, and Valla gives me my “fix” while I am unable to have a dog of my own. No matter what’s going on in my life, she is happy to see me, and our walks always brighten my day.
On a personal level, I’ve also greatly enjoyed getting to know Dawn. Despite the fact that she lives in my neighborhood, our paths would likely not have crossed but for PAWS NY bringing us together.
Where are you from? Where in the city do you live now?
I grew up in Connecticut, but currently live in Chelsea.
What do you like to do in your spare time (besides volunteer with PAWS NY)?
I love to read, watch movies, and go for bike rides around the city.
Share some fun facts about yourself!
I appeared on several cereal boxes as a kid! I can also complete a Rubik’s cube.
Thank you for supporting PAWS NY and our community, Amanda! Read more Volunteer Spotlights here.