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Featured Volunteer: Patricia Rome
When her second daughter went away to college in 2013, Patricia Rome was feeling the effects of a condition all too many parents experience when their children venture away from home for the first time; empty nest syndrome. Though not a clinical condition, Patricia knew she needed something to lift her spirits and take her mind off missing her kids.
“I came across the North Shore Animal League America website one day while I was home and I sort of took that as a sign. I was missing my daughters and feeling like I needed something to fill that void, so I went down to the volunteer open house,” Patricia said. “The rest is history.”
In October of 2013, Patricia, a life-long animal lover and pet parent, officially joined the Animal League America team as a volunteer. At first, every Thursday afternoon she would check in for her shift and make her way to the Puppy Room, where she would watch over our tiniest of new Mutt-i-grees and help adopters find their perfect four-legged match. Two and a half years later, not only does Patricia continue to help out in the Adoption Center and in the kennel, she added a second day to her schedule and has focused a lot of her energy to walking the adult dogs, who for one reason or another, have been overlooked by adopters. Some of her favorites are Duke, Samson, and Oskar, although she admits it’s very difficult to choose because each of the dogs are unique in their own way.
“I’d say I walk at least 12 to 15 dogs each shift. I take them out to the park, play ball with them, let them run around and get their exercise. I try to give them each a good 15-20 minutes so they’re nice and tired when I bring them back,” she said. “You can just see it in their eyes how appreciative the dogs are when they’re out there playing, enjoying the fresh air. They absolutely love it and so do I.”
When Patricia isn’t at Animal League America’s Port Washington, N.Y. campus caring for all of the homeless dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens housed there, she has plenty of reminders of the place she calls her home away from home. Her husband David, whose family adopted several dogs from Animal League America through the years, signed up to be a volunteer this past January. If that’s not a big enough reminder for Patricia, two of the couple’s three dogs were adopted from the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization. Gracie, a Fox Terrier/Papillion mix, and Sheena, a Jack Russell mix, were adopted as adults and added to the pack with Cosmo, a senior Schnoodle, to make one big happy Animal League America family.
“This place is like my second home and everyone here and all of the animals are like my second family,” Patricia said. “I hope I stay healthy enough to continue to do this for a long time because I truly enjoy it and I know the animals really need us. It’s a win-win.”
If you're interested in learning more about volunteering at North Shore Animal League America, visit animalleague.org/volunteer