Michelle started volunteering for PADS in 2016. She has raised 4 dogs (and picked up #5 in May, 2021!) and has adopted 3 PADS released dogs.
In Puppy-Raising, our staff shares that Michele’s dedication always shines through. Her calm and gentle manner and approach to training is inspiring, even with the most spicy of puppies. She also always has a “can do” attitude and approaches challenges with a smile on her face. Her warm and friendly presence always helped put new and experienced raisers at ease.
The nominations that came in from our volunteers told a story of someone who quietly and faithfully has supported those around her. They write “Michelle’s love for the PADS mission and the dogs within her care is inspirational. In the past year, when her school felt dogs should not be in the classroom, she quit and found another teaching job helping kids with special needs. Michelle and her PADS pup-in-training, Yelena, have spent the past stressful year of COVID-19 being there for parents and children with special needs as they navigate this confounding situation. And on top of that, Michelle has given a home to two former PADS pups. One of whom, Taylor, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has since lost the use of his back legs. Michelle has been relentless in ensuring Taylor has all the support he needs to fully experience his remaining time, from getting a more accessible vehicle, to regular hydrotherapy, to pushing him up massive hills in a stroller (while Taylor reclines in comfort).
The dedication Michelle brings to the PADS mission and all the PADS dogs she has helped raise over the years is truly awe-inspiring. And through all the difficulties she has maintained a positive and upbeat attitude towards supporting the dogs in her care, the children in her class, and the other volunteers in her life. Michelle inspires me to keep pursuing my commitment to PADS despite the obstacles that life can throw at us. Michelle has been an incredible support to countless Raisers in the Maple Ridge/Tri-cities region for many years. She has gone out of her way to be there – calmy and confidently providing reassurance, sharing supplies and equipment and work through the challenge of the day to countless volunteers. She regularly plans off leash walks to ensure those around her are cared for. Michelle is a glowing example of the PADS spirit!”
Thank you, Michelle, and congratulations on being the West Coast Region 2020 Volunteer of the Year!