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Featured Volunteer: Patricia Newill

At North Shore Animal League America, actions speak louder than words.

Since our inception in 1944, we’ve saved the lives of more than 1 million homeless animals. From our humble beginnings as a tiny animal shelter in Port Washington, NY, we’ve steadily grown into the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. The life-saving work done at the Animal League America on a daily basis is in large part thanks to the men and women who have chosen to dedicate their lives to our mission to Rescue, Nurture, Adopt every animal in need. It’s because of the hard work and magnanimous nature of each and every one of our team members, as well as our invaluable Volunteers that we have been able to continue to save lives for more than 70 years!

One of those Volunteers, Patricia Newill, may not be one to boast about the more than 435 volunteer hours for the past year that she has spent caring for the animals and giving educational tours at Animal League America, but according to Senior Volunteer Manager Lauraine Merlini, she’s been a major asset nonetheless.

“Patricia does a lot around here. She contributes in a lot of areas, especially in the Cat Room and giving tours to the elementary school students and Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops who come in to learn about our animals and the organization,” Lauraine said. “She’s very quiet and reserved, so you’d never hear from her how much she does, but I’m happy to highlight all of her hard work.”

The Bayside, Queens resident and Pittsburgh, PA native has been an exemplary Volunteer since October of 2011. After retiring from 20 years as an officer in the United States Navy, and another 20 years working in social services, Patricia said she needed something productive to do that would get her out of the house a few days a week. She said one day, a neighbor told her that he was spending some of his free time volunteering at Animal League America, and it all clicked. Since that day, Patricia spends two days a week in Port Washington continuing to live a life of service that she began more than 40 years ago.

“Volunteering at North Shore has been better than I ever thought it would be. Each day I basically get the chance to do things that really suit my strengths, so it’s terrific,” said Patricia. “Most of my life I’ve worked with people and built relationships, and I get to do that here, especially when I do tours and work with potential adopters in the puppy and cat rooms.”

Just like many of us who work and volunteer here at Animal League America, Patricia would wind up falling in love with a Mutt-i-gree of her own. Two years ago, while she and her husband were at Pet Adoptathon, the largest cooperative worldwide pet adoption event, they came across a puppy that they just couldn’t manage to leave behind. The puppy was an adorable miniature Schnauzer/American Eskimo mix, and Patricia said she knew the puppy was theirs from the moment the she leaped in her husband’s arms and licked his nose, signing the adoption papers was just a formality.

“Sasha is so loving, she loves to play, and is a great walker. We fell in love with her from the moment we saw her,” she said. “Not only is she a beautiful dog, she’s so sweet and has become part of the family.”