Volunteer Spotlights

Volunteer Spotlights

Laurie and Nathan


Laurie and Nathan

Laurie and Nathan have been volunteering for NAS for over a year now fostering kittens in their home. They heard about our volunteer opportunities at a Fred Meyer outreach event. Laurie had done fostering before and knew how much fun it was and took Nathan along for the ride. He was happy to come along. They both think it is a lot of fun and a bit of work. And it involves lots of poop.

Their favorite part of fostering is watching a runt kitten becoming the largest one. Laurie loves the Mama kitties when there is one and Nathan loves to play with the kittens. They’d like to let others know that there are more kittens, enough to go around. They enjoy seeing the milestones as they grow. Their neighbors and coworkers really enjoy visiting with the kittens too.

One thing about them that people would never know… Laurie has lived in every state touching the Pacific Ocean and Nathan used to work at a funeral home as a body retriever.

Their next adventure in life is to build a house on land between Newberg and Salem with a huge garden and fruit trees. And of course extra space for fostering kittens!

Kandice Zinter

Volunteer Spotlight-Kandice Zinter

Kandice Zinter began volunteering for Newberg Animal Shelter in October after finding us on Google.  She is a nurse living here short-term.  Kandice’s partner travels for work.  She travels with him and works if she can obtain her nursing license in the state they are in.  She is an animal lover at heart, so she decided to volunteer at Newberg Animal Shelter while she is in Oregon.

Kandice has fun while she volunteers.  She enjoys being around all the sweet babies, and finds the staff and other volunteers kind and accommodating.  Also, she says it feels good to be helping.

On one of her first days volunteering, Kandice enjoyed sitting in with the adult cats.  They hovered and loved all over her.  They are all so sweet, it is hard not to want to take them all home.

Kandice has met a lot of wonderful people volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter.  She sees the dedicated volunteers working efficiently and wanting what is best for the animals.  Whether the need is big or small, everyone is committed to the animals.

Kandice would like potential volunteers to know that it is a lot of hard work to volunteer at the shelter.  It is not just playing with the animals, but it also takes a lot of effort that people don’t think about.  All of the animals need individual care every day.

Kandice, a born caregiver, grew up in Port St. Lucie, Florida with two older brothers.  She received her nursing degree at Indian River State College.  When she is not volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter, she is cooking and cleaning at home.  She likes to craft and refinish furniture.  She enjoys trying new food, travel, and going out dancing.  She looks forward to eventually moving back to Florida, buying a home, and having kids.

Shari Hanson

Shari with Kiwi

Shari Hanson with Kiwi

Shari Hanson grew up in Aloha, attending Aloha HS and Portland Community College.  For the past 7 years, she has owned and operated Shari’s Pet Sitting in Sherwood.  Animals are her passion and purpose in life.

Shari Hanson has been volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter for 2 years.  She has been following the shelter since it was at the old location.  Once construction began on the new shelter, she knew the shelter  would need volunteers and that the new facility would be more equipped to handle volunteers.  She volunteers at NAS because she wants to give the dogs some exercise and love.  It makes her feel better mentally and physically.  If she is feeling down, she forgets all about it when she is with the dogs.  She loves the cats just as much as the dogs, but enjoys being able to get outside with the dogs for some fresh air.

Shari enjoys volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter because it is a relaxed atmosphere.  Since it is a smaller shelter, she gets to know the animals, other volunteers, and staff.  Also, since it is a no-kill shelter, the atmosphere feels hopeful.

One of Shari’s favorite experiences was working with a pit-mix who was stressed and reactive while she was in her kennel.  She turned out to be a bit lovey mush-ball when they were out in the backyard.  She loved lounging on her back while she got her belly rubbed.  She was adopted into a loving home.  Her new family sent pictures of her lounging between their kids, belly up, enjoying all of the affection.

Shari also enjoys taking dogs off-site to walk around the golf course or go through the drive-thru at Burgerville for an ice-cream treat.  She loves to see them so excited!

Shari likes everyone she has met at the shelter.  She is impressed by the volunteers who have been so dedicated to the shelter for years.  Recently, a newer volunteer paid the adoption fee of a dog we could no longer keep at the shelter due to behavior issues.  She paid his adoption fee anyway saying “He wasn’t leaving this shelter without being adopted.”  The other volunteer’s loving gesture inspired Shari to look at things a little differently.

When Shari is not volunteering at the shelter, she spends her time pet sitting, walking her dog Kiwi (whom she adopted from NAS), doing yard work, or working on an art project.  Shari is an accomplished artist.  She says portrait drawing always seems like a magic trick.  You will often find one of Shari’s beautiful pieces of art available for sale in the shelter store.

Someday, Shari would like to do some traveling.  She is obsessed with India.  She loves the bright colors and the cuisine.  She would also like to go on a few road trips through the Southwest and Midwest.  She is not so much interested in landmarks or tourist attractions.  Rather, she likes to people watch and to visit areas where the locals are to experience their culture.

August 2017 – Patrick Thomas

Patrick Thomas

Patrick Thomas with his dogs Stig, left, and Stella. He also has three cats and ducks. Photo by Michelle Alaimo

Patrick Thomas has been volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter for the past year.  Patrick was new to Newberg and wanted to find a way to contribute to the community and meet new people.  He loved working in a shelter previously, so he came to Newberg Animal Shelter to continue his work with animals.

Patrick’s time at NAS is rewarding.  The other volunteers and staff make him feel good about being here.  Everyone is friendly.  The facility is comfortable, clean, and safe, and it continues to get even better as we continue to make improvements to the shelter.

Patrick especially enjoys the times when we have rooms filled with kittens.  He likes to sit on the floor and have kittens climbing all over him.  He also enjoys sitting with new, frightened Chihuahuas.  He finds it rewarding when he can win their trust and help them come out of their shells.

Patrick enjoys the company of all of the volunteers he works with.  He finds that everyone is friendly and here for all the right reasons.  He is inspired by the frequent, dedicated volunteers who give so much of their personal time and money to support the goals of the shelter.  Of all of the amazing volunteers he gets to work with, he is especially inspired by Jan Floren, dedicated Lead Volunteer and Vice President of Newberg Animal Shelter Friends.  He thinks she is incredible for everything she does for the shelter.

Patrick grew up in a small California town called Middletown.  He had a string of bad jobs before being hired on at the SPCA. At first he wasn’t sure he would be able to handle the stress of the job.  However, after a couple of weeks on the job, he realized that he enjoyed working with animals, was good at it, and it was something he cared deeply about.  This was a turning point for him.  Now, when he is not volunteering at the shelter, Patrick works as a Veterinary Assistant at Newberg Veterinary Hospital.

Outside of work and volunteering, Patrick enjoys gardening, hiking, driving, working on his car, playing guitar, and eating good food.  Patrick’s motivation in life is to keep his wife and their fur children happy and healthy.  He is also motivated to be a good person.  He wants to help people and make a positive impact each day.

For seven years, while working a retail job in California, Patrick drove past a sign for Ocean City, Maryland every day.  Inspired by this sign, Patrick and his mother took a 26-day road trip, covering 12,000 miles.  The goal of the trip was to not plan anything.  Patrick has been to 40 states and plans on taking a month-long vacation in Europe in a couple of years.  However, he knows that his biggest adventure will be when he and his wife have kids, but he doesn’t know when that adventure will begin.

June 2017 –  Alyssa Todd

Alyssa Todd

Alyssa Todd has been volunteering with Newberg Animal Shelter for about a year and a half.  Volunteering gives Alyssa time to escape from her normal daily life and to help the animals that she loves.  She appreciates that Newberg Animal Shelter is a no-kill shelter.  She describes her volunteer time as “messy and rewarding.”  She loves to “watch idiot kittens mess around.”

One of Alyssa’s favorite experiences while volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter was when a particularly challenging dog was adopted.  Everyone knew it was going to be a difficult adoption, but we stuck it out and found the right home for her.

Alyssa has met a wide range of people at Newberg Animal Shelter.  The volunteers are all different ages and backgrounds, but are all connected by the mission of animal welfare.  She would like potential volunteers to know that there are also a wide variety of ways that they can join the volunteer team.

Alyssa grew up in Bothel, north of Seattle, as the youngest of 4 children.  She received her undergraduate at Central Washington University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.  She has a passion for watching groups develop, learn, and experience through education and training.  She strives to give people the opportunity to maximize their potential and help them to grow and change.

When she is not volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter, Alyssa works at Columbia Sportswear.  She spends her time caring for her own pets, doing homework, painting, cooking, hiking, camping, gardening, and traveling.  She has traveled to Italy, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Costa Rica, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and all over the US.  She is curious and enjoys learning about other cultures and likes to see other parts of the world first-hand.  All of the different and fascinating experiences she has while traveling keep her traveling more, seeking new experiences.

Alyssa and her fiancé are also exploring purchasing land to have a small farm.  Her fiancé is into beekeeping, and she would like to raise goats.

May 2017 – Crystal Case

Volunteer Spotlight Crystal Case

Crystal has been a volunteer for Newberg Animal Shelter since 2008 when she moved to Newberg. She volunteered at the old shelter building, cleaning on weekends and started fostering kittens because the old shelter had no space for kittens. She started the shelter website, Facebook page and taking photos of the animals for Petfinder. She was one of the handful of volunteers that kept the shelter running during the transition of the city giving Newberg Animal Shelter Friends (NASF) operations of the shelter until NASF was able to hire staff.

She currently wears many hats at Newberg Animal Shelter.  She is a member of the Board of Directors; volunteers for shifts at the shelter; is on the Operations Team; is on the Events Committee; continues to maintain the shelter website, Facebook page and social media accounts; fosters special needs kittens; is the pet photographer for the shelter.  Just to name a few things that keep her busy.
She has a full time job as software developer for an insurance company. She is married and has two children, 6 & 8. They have 3 cats, 2 dogs and 6 chickens. When she is not with her family, working, or doing something for the shelter she likes going on outdoor adventures in Oregon.
Her experiences at the shelter have changed a lot in the last five years with moving into the new shelter building and losing the city dog control program. She is continually amazed at the dedication of the volunteers in working together to care for all the homeless animals that come through the shelter.
She would like to let anyone know who thinks that it’s too sad and difficult to volunteer at an animal shelter, that it’s really not like that. We do fall in love with some of the pets and are invested in their future, but the excitement the volunteers feel when hearing about their favorite dog or cat in its new home gives more happiness and no sadness. It feels pretty amazing to walk away from the shelter empty handed after a shift knowing that the animals in our care are getting the best care they can while waiting for their new homes.

April 2017 – Letha Clark

Letha Clark

Letha at home with Jack, one of her family’s three dogs. Photo by volunteer Michelle Alaimo

Letha has been volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter for about 3 months.  She has always loved animals, so helping with animals is nice, and it is something she can do with her mom.

Letha says that volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter is like having a second family with the volunteers and the animals that she can help each day.  She likes that she can be herself at NAS . . . and she gets to pet cute puppies.

One of Letha’s favorite experiences volunteering is fostering Spicy, a pregnant German Wirehair Pointer, and watching her adjust to living with them.  She has especially enjoyed watching her dog fall in love with Spicy.  Letha has also seen her mom become closer with the staff at NAS, and she enjoys spending time with them.

Letha would like other people to know that volunteering at NAS is fun.  It is hard work, but it pays off.  When she is working hard, she knows that what she is doing has a good purpose.

Letha grew up in Clackamas with her grandparents until she moved to Newberg with her aunt and uncle.  She moved in with the Graeber’s last summer and has since been adopted by them.  Being adopted by the Graeber’s has been a defining moment in Letha’s life.  Now she and her new mom volunteer together at Newberg Animal Shelter.

When Letha is not volunteering she goes to school, does homework, takes care of her dogs at home, is involved with plays at Newberg High School, and enjoys Bouldering (indoor rock climbing) with her friends.  Her hobbies include Bouldering, acting, music, and photography.  One of her favorite experiences Bouldering was going with her friends for a Superhero themed Bouldering day.

Letha is spontaneous and fun, but is also constantly observing and thinking.  She has a passion for life in general that motivates her every day.  A passion for the life of friends, animals, and even strangers.  She is acutely aware that everyone has something they are dealing with.  She does her best every day to be as kind as she can be in life.  It is what motivates her to do good.

Letha will be graduating from Newberg High School soon.  In a perfect world, she would love to travel, experience different cultures, try new things, and take photographs of her experiences.  She would like to live and have fun while she is still young.  However, realistically, she sees herself moving out on her own and continuing her education towards becoming a veterinarian.

March 2017 – Patty


Patti Baker at home with Cheyenne, one of her four cats, and Aria, one of her two dogs. Photo by volunteer Michelle Alaimo

Drawn by her deep love for animals, Patti Baker has been volunteering at Newberg Animal Shelter for about a year, making a positive difference in the lives of homeless pets in her community.  At home she has four cats and two dogs. Volunteering gives her a sense of making a change and feeling needed.  It has been good therapy for her. She finds the most joy in playing ball and walking the dogs.

When asked about Newberg Animal Shelter by other community members, Patti makes sure to let them know that we are a no-kill shelter.  She also wants the public to know that the animals are treated well and find homes quickly.  The shelter is not a scary place.  Pets here receive good care and lots of affection.

Patti grew up in Missoula Montana, where she graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Music Education.  After graduation, Patti made a pivotal change in her life and moved to Portland to experience something new.  While in Portland, Patti received a Master’s in Music Education from Portland State University.  She then moved on to teach music to K-6 within the Hillsboro School District for 21 years, during which time she was passionate about teaching Beginning Band.

Patti moved from Hillsboro to Newberg in 1998 in search of affordable housing.  Now Patti spends her days enjoying life by exercising, walking her dogs, visiting friends, playing games, and occasionally making greeting cards.

Patti is now passionate about making a difference, passionate about her dogs, and passionate about exercising and staying in shape.  Patti is also a nature lover and wants to be out in nature as much as possible.  In fact, she would like to go to Batswana on a World Wildlife Federation trip to spend time on a wildlife preserve.  Here’s to adventure, Patti!  We hope you make it there soon!

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication at Newberg Animal Shelter!