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Behind the scenes: Q & A with volunteer from Newark Humane Society

(Featured image above is of Sherri Powell and my rescue, Shadow, at an adoption event moments before we took him home :))

Are you passionate about animals? Do you have the strong hopes that one day the thousands of animals in shelters will find their forever homes? If you do, you will find yourself in the same boat as one of the most dedicated, kind, and animal craze person I have been fortunate enough to meet, Sherri Powell.

 

Talking from personal experience, I have had the honor of rescuing the most sweetest, most gentle dog I could ask for, Shadow. I was searching for months and months in hopes that I would find the “perfect” addition to our family. Without the help of Sherri Powell, I am unsure if this would have been possible. She is a volunteer at the Newark Humane Society. Please check out the interview I did with her via email! You don’t want to miss it!

 

When did you begin volunteering? 

January 2014

 

What made you want to volunteer?

I ran into an Animal lover like myself while at PetSmart shopping for cat and dog food…and she suggested I help volunteer with her at the JAC in So. Orange (they closed shortly after, which is why I started volunteering at the Newark shelter)

 

How long have you been volunteering for?

3 years (I’m fairly new, and have accomplished quite a bit. I now run Adoption Events and Pack Hikes on the weekends).

 

How many hours a week do you put in volunteering?

Many, but that’s because I have extended myself through social media…so many people contact me about animals via texts and private messages. (But actual shelter time hours are, 15 to 20 hours per week)

 

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

(How do you get out of bed on your days off to do this?) The perpetual drive of trying to get animals (both dogs and cats) out of the shelter! It’s easy to get out of bed when you know if you are helping get animals adopted, you have saved their lives!!!

 

How would your friends describe you?

They often have very kind words! I don’t & never will view myself as “heroic” or “angelic”…. I only do what comes natural to me! I LOVE animals, I love being around them, & I love when I and ALL the other volunteers can save them!!

 

How many animals have you adopted because of volunteering?

I have only technically adopted 2, but I have many in my house that I have taken off the streets. I battle with my husband because I want to save them all, but he is the realistic one that has to keep me in check, because if he wasn’t there to tell me no – I would have more then what I can handle.

 

How many animals do you have?

I have 2 dogs and 10 cats and I take care of my 5 feral cats that live outside.

 

Tell me a story about one of your most difficult adoptions or moments while volunteering.

There are SO MANY difficult times, ESPECIALLY when the Senior animals get dropped off by their family and thrown into a noisy, overcrowded kill shelter! To watch these animals curl up in a fetal position and shake themselves so bad that it looks like they are seizing and to watch them literally cry tears, is one of the hardest things ever for me to witness!!! But the MOST DIFFICULT time I’ve had to deal with and still haunts me until this day – and never leaves my mind, not for a minute or second of any day, is the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25, 2016) when I went to bring my boy Ike leftovers from TG dinner (I am a Vegetarian and I was bringing him all the meat I don’t eat and other table scraps) and the evaluators brought me outside across from the shelter and told me the shelter had euthanized my boy Ike! I cried for two hours straight while there, then at home and now as I’m typing this.

He was the BEST dog EVER! HE was EXTREMELY HIGHLY ADOPTABLE, HE HAD NO ISSUES what so ever!!! When I asked why, they said he was there too long and had no interest…..which was not true – there were other dogs there longer and my boy Ike did get an application at one of my adoption events. When I brought this to admin’s attention…it fell on Deaf ears.

But I call Ike my Martyr – because of his death and my pain, my co-adoption event coordinators had a meeting with the director and they are now trying to work with us and not euthanize event dogs and cats. (but unfortunately nothing is ever a guarantee there and each and every time I step foot through those shelter doors, I have to take a deep breath and hope and pray my precious babies are still there for me to try and help save them!!!!!)

 

Final question, how do you select the dogs you take to the adoption events?

If I feel they will make a good family member, I bring them on my adoption events. The dogs I Bring on my hikes are also dogs that can be good family members but they are usually dogs that are not appropriate for adoption events because the majority of the time they do not get along with other dogs. Now, this doesn’t go for all of them but it goes for a good portion of them… Even for my adoption events I have many times brought dogs that don’t get along with other dogs but they have such unique stand out personalities and really show true love for a human and that is why I will select them for an adoption event.

 

 

If you are interested in helping and volunteering for the AHS, please get all the information here!

If you are interested in attending an adoption event, please visit the PetSmart in Kearny, NJ and talk to Sherri Powell! She is also be reached via social media.

 

A very special thanks goes out to all of you volunteers who spend hours upon hours for free just to see these animals get another chance at a future home. Sherri Powell, I will forever be thankful for everything you do and have done for me, personally. You are truly a special person and WE all thank you!

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