Volunteer of the Month: Dawn Vagstad
November 21, 2018
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Meet Salt Lake County Animal Services December Volunteer of the Month: Dawn Vagstad. Interested in volunteering? Find out more on our volunteer page.
What brought you to SLCoAS?
My husband and I came to Salt Lake Animal Services about 2 years ago to adopt a dog. We were so impressed! The people at the front desk were friendly and wanted to help. They answered a lot of our questions about the dogs that we were interested in. When we decided to take Raleigh out to get to know him, our adoption counselors were kind and knowledgeable. They helped us introduce our current dog Breeze to Raleigh. We adopted Raleigh that day. It was one of those great days you never forget.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering?
I can’t imagine what it would be like for a dog to be waiting for a home at any shelter. If there is any kindness I can show to a dog to just make him or her feel special and loved, that is worth everything. It feels great to get a dog outside. Each dog loves to be touched and talked to. Some dogs love to play with a ball. My favorite part is walking the sidewalk with them, talking to them and being in the sunshine. Love it.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to run with Raleigh and Breeze. My husband and I like to hike with the dogs too. I retired about 2 years ago and really didn’t spend much time on hobbies while I was working. Now I am getting a little better at drawing, skiing, (downhill and cross country) and cooking. I went to a plant-based diet symposium at the Salt Palace recently and have been trying out new recipes to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. We can’t change overnight, but so far, slowly, this new vegetarian diet is pretty good!
Tell us about your family and fur kiddos:
We feel so grateful to have found Raleigh at SLCoAS. We have had Breeze for about 10 years and we think Raleigh keeps Breeze young. They play a lot and are best buddies. Most of our family is in the Midwest, but we have a cousin and family in Sandy, thankfully! My 89 year old dad celebrated his 8th anniversary with his wife this year. They got married when he was 80 and she was 78. They are doing well thank God and we will be visiting them soon. Let me tell you it is never too late!
What advice do you have for new SLCoAS volunteers?
First, I feel grateful to be part of an organization where miracles happen every day. When you think of all the animals brought in from the street who could have been hit by a car, or been injured or became sick out there, the people at SLCoAS make a huge difference. Animals see a veterinarian when they get here and they are taken care of. SLCoAS has humane education, dog training, cruelty investigators and they find new homes for homeless animals. Nice to help out, you know?
The other thing is that when I take a dog outside, I look for the special qualities in each dog. Dogs are a lot like people, each one is interesting and special. I try to see if a dog knows commands like “sit” or “stay”. Some are pretty scared and just want to be held. Some can catch a ball in mid air, and some float like a cloud on a leash. I try to take a minute and write a comment about a dog on our volunteer dog feedback forms. Any information the staff can pass on to potential adopters can help!
Tell us something unique about you:
I like to set single people up. I have been a pretty good matchmaker in the past!
Where is your favorite place to travel?
Door County, Wisconsin. It’s the little peninsula that goes into Lake Michigan. They have beaches, bike riding, cows, and old fashioned Wisconsin supper clubs. It is so beautiful.
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