April 19, 2021

2021 HSPPR Volunteer Superstars

This week, we are celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week! We don’t have a “Volunteer of the Year” award here- it’s just too hard to choose ONE volunteer who has gone above and beyond! Instead, 30 volunteers are nominated by the staff who have proven themselves to be Superstars. Meet our 30 paw-some volunteers!

Theresa Adams

One of our longest termed volunteers in Pueblo, Theresa Adams is one of just a few Platinum Paw Volunteers for our Pueblo location, having donated over 1,800 hours of her time since her start in 2013. While her volunteer hours are impressive, they don’t come anywhere close to showing what a fantastic person she is and the impact she has made within the organization.

Bunnie Andrews

Bunnie Andrews is a Sewing and Special Projects volunteer who started volunteering with HSPPR in October 2019. It didn’t even take Bunnie a year to hit Platinum Paw status, meaning she’s spent over 1,000 hours sewing materials for shelter pets and shelter needs! As of March 2021, she has donated over 1,800 hours to the shelter!

Jean Alfieri

Since joining us in 2017, Jean dipped her toes into Adoption Matchmaking but soon found that her niche was as a Rescue Ranger, transporting animals from communities with fewer resources to HSPPR where they can receive the lifesaving opportunities they deserve.

Elizabeth Bettenhausen

Since joining in January 2020, Elizabeth has volunteered over 75 hours despite all the closures related to COVID-19. She has been a fantastic addition to the team, starting as a Dog Walker and quickly advancing to our Behavior Support Team.

Tonya Bjurstrom

Anytime you see Tonya walk into the shelter, you won’t be surprised to see a smile on her face. Tonya’s can-do attitude and infectiously positive demeanor are what make her a Superstar volunteer. If you ask our staff what comes to mind when it comes to Tonya, they will be happy to boast about how reliable and upbeat she is during her times here at the shelter.

Bonnie Bowman

When we think of our Community Cat volunteers, Bonnie is often the first to come to mind. She has been a volunteer since 2015 and has solely focused on assisting with our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) and Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) programs. She can often be found releasing SNR cats or helping during mass spay/neuter days.

Jackie Browne

Jackie has been a volunteer since 2013, and in that time she has donated over 2,600 volunteer hours. She often volunteers four days a week and helps keep us afloat when we’re drowning in laundry. It’s incredible to see what a difference it makes when she’s here, and if she is ever out for a vacation, her absence is truly felt!

Jeff Cleaver

If you’re looking for someone that enjoys walking dogs and does it well, Jeff is your man. He is one of our most seasoned Dog Walking Volunteers, having been a volunteer since 2017 and putting in nearly 300 hours – time that he has loved every minute of. arly 300 hours – time that he has loved every minute of.

Annie Collins

A seasoned veteran of fostering nursing and pregnant cats, Annie has donated over 3,700 hours since becoming a volunteer in 2015. During her time, she has also become a lead foster volunteer trained to administer vaccinations and perform health checks on her own fosters.

Shaunda Comminey

Shaunda Comminey started with HSPPR as a foster volunteer in 2019 and has since contributed over 1000 hours, thus joining our elite group of Platinum Paws volunteers! However, it is not just fostering that makes Shaunda a shining star, but also her willingness to help when needed.
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Patrick Conroy

When you look up “Cat Dad” in the dictionary, you get this definition: “Someone who works hard so his cats have a good life. Like a normal father but much cooler. Always has room for one more. See also: Best Cat Dad Ever”. You will also invariably find Patrick’s picture next to it as he is the epitome of the best Cat Dad ever!

Rosa Duenas-Rios

When your job requires you to move every few years and have lived all over the world, having pets of your own can be a challenge. What do you do when you need that animal fix? Why foster, of course! Rosa started fostering with HSPPR in 2020 and has since donated over 700 volunteer hours! Her vibrant personality livens up any room; it is always a great time chatting and getting caught up on new life developments or exchanging funny life stories from abroad.

Cody Festerling

To what lengths would someone go to get to their volunteer shift? Well, let us tell you if it’s Cody, then it doesn’t matter if it’s rain, shine, sleet, snow or even the 16-mile roundtrip walk from his home, nothing will stop him from coming to care for the dogs. This is the type of dedication that could put the rest of us to shame!

Jody Fontaine

When thinking of highly dedicated cat volunteers, it’s no surprise that Jody Fontaine comes to mind. Jody has put in well over 600 volunteer hours, mostly spent directly on the cats in our care, along with assisting with laundry and dishes. When laundry has gotten out of control, Jody comes to the rescue and helps to get it to a manageable amount. ​

Juliana & Craig Gross

Having started fostering in 2017, Juliana and Craig earned over 300 hours fostering and are frequent participants of our Adoption Ambassador program, where foster animals are adopted from the foster home instead of coming back to the shelter when they’re ready. ​

Jim Hendricks

Jim Hendricks, the closest person we have to Superman on our volunteer team. Since starting in 2014, Jim has given more than 430 hours and has been one of our most reliable and consistent dog volunteers over the years. He initially served as a dog walker and was quickly promoted to a Behavior Support volunteer, a position that he has been dedicated to each week for the past few years.

June Kim

Rain, shine, or snow, you can find June in and out of the shelter, working with the pups! June started volunteering back in the fall of 2018 with her son as Dog Walkers and quickly transitioned to the role of Advanced Dog Walker, even offering to come in in the wee hours of the morning to volunteer as a Dogercise volunteer to ensure that all of our housebroken dogs would get outside bright and early for a bathroom break.

Chelsea Lawson ​& Family

Fostering and raising kittens is a family affair for Chelsea, Amara, and Eric Lawson. Combined they have contributed over 1,400 volunteer hours! However, it is not just raising bottle babies that makes this family rockstars; we quickly learned we could count on them for help with any kitten-related emergencies. It is with good reason Chelsea is known as the “Mother of Kittens”!

Michelle Lidh

An all-around HSPPR supporter, you can also find Michelle assisting with special events, volunteering in the shelter, and serving as a Pet Detective to try and help reunite lost animals with their people. On top of that, she often seeks out education opportunities on her own time to grow and expand her knowledge about animal welfare. This, in turn, allows for her to be a solid advocate for HSPPR in the community.

Louise Lyle & Carol Ryce

What makes Carol and Louise Superstars is their attention to detail and willingness to go above and beyond for the cats. This team is meticulous in staging the kennel area correctly for cats to move up to the adoption floor. They’ve also brought increased awareness and procedures to the cleaning process by creating a daily checklist to avoid double work and ensure all cleaning and feeding is complete.

Priscilla Moreland

With nearly 1,400 hours under her belt, Priscilla has proven her weight in gold. Priscilla is a devoted CART member who has deployed nationally with the ASCPA a half-dozen times and assisted with several HSPPR hoarding cases. She’s also helped with Fur Ball and Pawtoberfest. However, the role she truly shines in is as a highly dedicated Rescue Ranger, a position she takes great pride in.

Nari Park

Nari found her niche in the Veterinary Clinic as a Vet Clinic Assistant straight out the gate and has not looked back. Since onboarding with us in 2017, Nari has been a model for what a dependable and consistent volunteer looks like, accumulating over 650 hours exclusively in the Vet Clinic.
A woman wearing her HSPPR volunteer uniform smiles and pets a brown and white dog

Tracey Randant

2020 hit the shelter hard with waves of uncertainty, especially in our Adoptions Area. One thing we could be sure of is that Tracy would be here every Thursday morning to help adoptable dogs find a loving home that they would thrive in! Tracey even went as far as coming in multiple days in a row to assist as a Dog Matchmaker when we were in a time of need, all while scouting for a dog for a family member (and yes, she found the perfect match!).

Lyn Reinhart

Starring as one of our most reliable and committed Veterinary Clinic Assistants, Lyn Reinhart really shines! She has been a tremendous light in our Veterinary Clinic, always willing to help with whatever is needed. Whether she’s cleaning kennels, making surgery packs, or doing laundry, Lyn always does it with a cheerful attitude. Our Vet Clinic Staff is so appreciative to have her as part of their team.
An older woman takes a selfie of her and a small, brown dog

Nancy Rose

Nancy has been a foster since 2015 and has put in over 2,300 volunteer hours. Her flexibility and openness to any animal in need makes her a well-rounded foster, making the life of the Foster Care Team so much easier. She can handle nursing mama dogs to young kittens and everything in between. Like many foster volunteers, she definitely has a favorite type of foster: small dogs with an attitude problem. ​

Shirley Rouse

If it meows, uses a litter box, and needs foster placement, Shirley is ready to swoop in and help! From the tiniest bottle baby needing round-the-clock care or an adult cat needing time to medically recover, she takes them all and does it with joy! Since becoming a volunteer in 2009, Shirley has stuck around through staffing changes and organization growth, donating over a whopping 11,000 hours of volunteer service to HSPPR in that time.
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A father and daughter duo wearing masks and gloves hold a bunny and guinea pig

Sydney & Wes Sumner

Our Foster Staff knows that if they have a rabbit in need of fostering, the Sumner team will jump at the chance, even to the point of dedicating Wes’s home office as a foster space! Wes and Sydney collectively have cumulated over 1,260 hours to supporting HSPPR through their time volunteering as Critter Care Assistants, Foster Volunteers, and Wes as a CART volunteer.

Lori St. Arnault

​“Lori is not just a volunteer; she is part of our team. She does an amazing job keeping up with all surgical packs and is always willing to lend a helping hand to others. She always shows up for her shifts; even when she went through an injury, she didn’t let that interfere with her volunteer work. She is respectful, professional, and her positive attitude is contagious. We would not be able to finish our tasks if it weren’t for her hard work.” -Vet Clinic Staff
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Molly Stevens

Molly’s ability to work with scared dogs and different medical cases is inspiring, and Molly has become a go-to when we have a dog who needs extra-special placement. She is always a joy to work with, never without a smile on her face; she has continued to prove that she is a Superstar through and through!

Dennie Sorwell

Dennie has been a foster since 2014, and in that time she has earned nearly 2,800 volunteer hours, saving more lives than could be counted. She’s been one of HSPPR’s biggest supporters, even during some of the most challenging times, such as the loss of the contract, and we are truly grateful to have her as part of our HSPPR family.
An older woman with short, gray hair holds a black and brown cat

Participation Trophy Recipients

It is our way to honor spouses and family members of staff who often are ineligible for nominations and other cool stuff but still make extraordinary contributions to the animals and to HSPPR.
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Rob Cromer

When your wife, Fiona, is the Foster Care Program Manager at HSPPR, you literally never know what will show up at your door…. or more like in your bathroom, in this case. There are not enough paws and whiskers to count the number of surprise foster animals that Rob has endured and the best part of it all? He is a fantastic sport about it!

Bridget Kirby

Volunteering with your adult daughter can be a great way to increase the bond with one another while enjoying shared interests and passions.The pair took different paths in their volunteer roles – Bridget as a Critter Care Assistant (CCA) and Sam as an Adoption Matchmaker. It wasn’t long before Sam was hired as a staff member and became the Assistant Shelter Manager. From there, Bridget was roped into more than she bargained for.
A woman on a hike with her large brown dog smiling at the camera
An older man smiles holding a small black and white dog

Tim Knutson

Having a daughter that is the Transfer Program Manager at HSPPR, Cassie, it’s only a matter of time before you end up becoming a volunteer. Tim Knutson joined us in early 2019, starting as an Admissions Reception volunteer, bu it wasn’t long before he signed up to be a Rescue Ranger assisting with transporting animals from other shelters and rescues that do not have the same resources for companions as HSPPR does.

Will Spreter

It takes some serious patience and a special type of human to willingly foster 8-12 puppies at a time for almost 2 months; it takes even more dedication to convert an unused shed into a temperature-controlled puppy palace complete with a fenced-in dog run! Since becoming a foster volunteer at the end of 2019 — thanks to his wife, Lucy (former Foster Care Coordinator) — Will and his family have given over 3,000 hours of volunteer service.
A man with a beard wearing sunglasses looks down at a small, gray puppy
A smiling man with black hair and a beard holds two small kittens in his hands

Joshua Waldvogel

While he may have gotten his start fostering and volunteering at the shelter through his wife, Allison (Associate Director of Volunteer Services), there is no doubt that Josh is as invested in HSPPR as anyone. It’s not unusual to find him saying yes to “just one more” kitten, set of puppies, or grouchy chihuahua; additionally, he’s always willing to help those most in need.