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Featured Volunteer: Eileen Hertwig
Fourteen years ago, Eileen Hertwig adopted a German Shepherd mix puppy from North Shore Animal League America and named the handsome ball of fur, Rex. The unconditional love that Rex brought in to her life was so comforting that she decided to adopt another puppy three years later. This time she opened her heart and her home to an adorable lab mix named Cece. The two pups, now 14 and 11 years old, flooded Eileen’s life with so much happiness that she decided to give back to the organization that paired her with the pooches.
“Those two dogs are the loves of my life,” said Eileen grinning ear to ear. “North Shore Animal League America has been so good to me and so good to so many animals. I wanted to give back in any way that I could and becoming a volunteer was the best way for me to do that.”
Eileen became a volunteer in November of 2014, and donates at least six hours each Saturday night to helping improve the lives of the hundreds of homeless animals at our Port Washington, N.Y. campus. When she’s not walking dogs, helping to carefully unload the Mobile Rescue Units when rescues arrive, or simply assisting the kennel managers with anything they need, she can be found helping new volunteers become acclimated to their new roles. She recently became a volunteer mentor, which means she helps prep new volunteers with everything they need to know in order to seamlessly and successfully contribute to the cause. Before volunteering here, Eileen was a volunteer for Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance, so leading by example in an active, sometimes hectic situation, is something she welcomes wholeheartedly.
“I don’t consider coming here and doing what I do to be work. It’s more a labor of love. All of us, the volunteers, the staff, the managers, we all work together for the same reason – the animals,” she said. “I walk between six and 10 miles during each shift, I get to help people find the perfect pet, I work alongside some great people – what more could I want? I could be home Saturday night sitting on the couch eating potato chips and watching television, but instead I’m here being active doing something I love.”
When Eileen isn’t at Animal League America she’s working at her full-time job as a Collateral Analyst at Wells Fargo Trade Capital, Inc., but that doesn’t mean she’s not thinking about what she can do to further improve the lives of our Mutt-i-grees. Actually, because of her dedicated work as a volunteer, the Bayside resident said Wells Fargo has donated more than $5,000 to Animal League America as a sign of appreciation. There’s no question Eileen’s passion for our organization is ever growing, but what she cares about most is helping homeless animals find responsible, loving homes just like her two rescue dogs did.
“For me, hooking people up with the right pet is the ultimate part of being a volunteer. Whether it be a puppy, a dog, or a senior cat who has been here a while, it’s special to be able to make an impact on their lives,” she said. “I tell people all the time, adopting a pet from North Shore Animal League America is like going to the hospital and coming home with a new baby; you may spend a little time here waiting for the adoption to be processed, but once you get that animal in your arms you’ll be the happiest person alive.”
If you're interested in learning more about volunteering at North Shore Animal League America, visit animalleague.org/volunteer