As a kid, Helen always seemed to find stray or injured critters, and had a strong desire to help less-fortunate animals, which she attributes to her father and mother, who both had a soft heart for pets in need. “As far back as I can remember there have always been loved pets in my life including cats, dogs, ferrets, fish, birds, ducks, rabbits, and even rescue turkeys. Life is so much better with animals around.”
The volunteer “bug” bit her while living in Arizona in her ’40s, so she signed up to volunteer at a local animal shelter, realizing that she had truly found her passion in life. During this time of volunteering she saw “a tiny old man of a dog” in a cage that was at high risk of not being adopted since he was black and labeled as 12 years old. A quick phone call to her husband and explaining her concerns led to them adopting their first senior, Rex, the Pomeranian–opening their eyes to the joy of adopting seniors and a realization that fosters for such dogs could save lives. Avid volunteering led to becoming a member of a small team which worked directly with the shelter to get second in-depth evaluations for dogs at imminent risk for euthanization due to issues such as fear, aggression, or poor health. Feeling a desire to do even more, Helen also was a member of the board of directors for a local rescue, educating the public about pet care and overpopulation.
After a move to the Nashville area, she was fortunate enough to be referred to a member of Agape who needed volunteers for an event, and an instant connection was made. After loving fostering other dogs, Helen and her family opened their home to fostering dogs for Agape, specializing in the most difficult behavior cases such as puppy mill dogs or seniors; as well as volunteering at events throughout the year. When the opportunity to be the Volunteer Coordinator for Agape presented itself, Helen became a full member of the Agape Team, believing that great volunteers are the backbone and heart of any successful rescue.
“There’s never a dull moment at our house with our menagerie of rescue dogs, a cat, and fish. It is the most fulfilling feeling in the world to save these little lives and every day they thank me. I should be thanking them, really.”