Ivonne Attard, Volunteer Since 2015
Helping Our Dogs Make Their Way Home
Ivonne’s love for animals started at an early age, in an unlikely environment. “Even though I grew up in the Bronx, we always had animals around,” Ivonne recalls. “We had dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, you name it. I was famous for taking in stray dogs, giving them baths, feeding them and letting them back out outside.”
So when Ivonne’s daughter began volunteering at North Shore Animal League America, Ivonne started coming to the Adoption Center regularly. As the months went by, her family adopted two dogs, and from then on Ivonne was hooked. “When you adopt a rescue, you bring home a dog who really needs a home,” Ivonne noted. “It’s that much more rewarding when you take this dog who’s had a bad start and now has this wonderful life. I wanted to make sure other dogs going forward have the same opportunity.”
Ivonne began volunteering as a dog walker, and since then continues to expand her knowledge about pet behavior and training. “As volunteers, we are the closest thing to family that these dogs will get until they get a home. I feel like it’s like our obligation to help them understand that humans are good people.” Ivonne takes time to learn about each dog’s personality in order to figure out how to best care for them. “It’s like meeting new friends,” she says. “Each one of them has their own special identity and that’s what makes you love them as much as you do.”
Volunteers like Ivonne are vital to the success of our mission. We are tremendously grateful for the passion and dedication they bring each day to ensure every animal gets a chance to have a loving home. Says Rachael Rudman, Animal League America Kennel Manager, “Ivonne is an exceptionally trusted and dependable volunteer who I can count on to give each dog the exercise and enrichment they need. I always know when Ivonne is there, our dogs are going to get ample time to run and play, and socialize with each other.”
Ivonne can’t imagine Animal League America not being a part of her life: “Just like how your children grow up and move on, our dogs get ready for their new home. I feel accomplished when someone adopts a dog, and I know that the bond I developed with that animal was part of their success. It’s what keeps me coming back.”
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month
At North Shore Animal League America, we could not perform all of the hands-on work that we do without the help of our incredible team of dedicated volunteers!
If you’d like to learn more about the Volunteer Program and available opportunities visit animalleague.org/volunteer.