2015 December Volunteer of the Month: Valli Johansen
Valli has been one of the most prolific foster volunteers for several years, serving over 1,000 hours in each of the past three years. Valli serves on the Tukwila Team, is incredibly reliable and has spearheaded a great number of cat-blanket making parties! Read our Q&A with her below:
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
A: I was looking for an opportunity to make a difference for homeless animals and stopped by the shelter to see if they needed volunteers.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?
A: I grew up with animals of all kinds as I lived on a farm when I was a child. As I grew older I became very interested and concerned about lost, surrendered and abandon animals. Before I began working with RASKC I had volunteered at a horse rescue facility. It was a lot of work, but worth every moment in working with both the animals and teaching other volunteers to care for the horses. I had also taken in a number of strays and injured animals, but needed the support of a structured environment to be more effective. RASKC does an amazing job with the programs and opportunities they have to offer for volunteers.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?
A: My career is as a manager in Systems Engineering. In my personal time I love working with animals, gardening, sewing, skiing, diving and sailing.
Q: What do you hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC?
A: To help as many animals as possible find a loving home and in doing so to provide information / education to those I meet who are interested in doing the same.
Q: What is your life motto?
A: Life is the greatest blessing, share the joy, have compassion and make a difference.
Q: What’s the best thing about your cat(s)?
A: I currently care for 3 cats. Jules who I adopted from the shelter after caring for her with chronic medical issues. She is now healthy and a wonderful addition to my home. She is also my partner in fostering as she has a very calming effect on the fosters I bring in. I also have 2 foster cats looking for a loving forever home – a petite black short hair senior female, about 19 years young, named Miss pearl who is adorable, feisty and playful. And Elsa, a beautiful dove gray short hair female 5 years young, who is affectionate, energetic and extremely smart.
Q: What is the best advice you would give people who want pets?
A: Be sure you are ready for the commitment. They need unconditional love, a safe environment, stability and at times medical care. Ask lots of questions as different breeds have different personality traits – both dogs and cats. Be proactive with collar/tag identification, flea control and proper, food, clean water, clean litter boxes and adequate room to get exercise. Above all is love.
Q: What is your most memorable moment with an animal?
A: Ah . . . so many wonderful animals, but my proudest memory is providing medical help and recovery for a beautiful black cat I named Shadow. He was a true Curious George, always getting in and out of trouble. He had gotten trapped in something, managed to break free crawl to my house late at night with a back leg fractured in 5 places. So off to an all night vet to pump him full of fluids and make the difficult decision of amputation or surgery which included a large steel pin on the outside of his hip and leg and was not a guarantee of success. I chose surgery for him. Then back to my house for a long, but loving recovery. He made a full restoration to health and it gave me joy to see him run and play with my other cats.
Interested in volunteering? Visit us on our homepage to learn about the program and various opportunities available on site or at home! http://www.kingcounty.gov/RASKCvolunteer