Paula Eckes, Volunteer of the Month
Tell us a little about yourself- My passion in life revolves around animals. Growing up I had polio and when I was young I faced a lot of sad times when kids did not want to play with me because of my disability. BUT the dogs were always there, they never judged me and always gave me such happiness. Anytime I saw a lost dog I would bring it home, but sadly many times I could not keep them. When I would come home in full body casts once a week my dad would let our outside dog come in the house and jump on the bed that was the highlight of my week!
Fast speed to today. At first I wanted to take all of the dog’s home when I would deck hand and it made me sad that I couldn’t. Now I realize the best thing I can do is work with the dogs so they will be adoptable. I pretty much can do anything at the shelter. I am very proud to say that both me and my husband are part of Rover done Over, we are deck hands and dog walkers, just to name a few things we are part of and more recently, shelter gardeners.
My love for dogs even goes overseas. Last year we went to Germany and I just had to visit one of their dog shelters before I left. What I liked about it was the fact that the dogs were all or mostly all outside. Each dog had their own dog house and run. People were supposed to stay back from the run, but not many people read the signs.
How long have you been a volunteer? My husband Paul and I volunteer together most of the time, I think it has been about 8 years.
Do you have any pets? We currently have two dogs, Marley a golden service dog and Travis a lab/boxer mix who is a medical support dog. He actually did this without any specialized training from me. Just like people, I believe every dog has a gift and his is to watch over me.
Do you have a favorite FVHA program? I really enjoy Rover done over and deck handing, I think they actually go hand in hand, one getting the dog ready to go home and the other helping people to find the dog of their dreams.
What about volunteering do you enjoy? Being able to work with the different breeds of dog is very interesting to me, because there are some differences, but the end result is the same, their unconditional love!
What motivates you to volunteer? The dogs and cats, the volunteers and the staff are almost like family. Helping the dogs that helped me when I was younger and growing up, watching the children when they get their first dog ever