5. VolunteroftheMonth_May2017_VoMpageMeet Pia! Pia provides outstanding volunteer service as the Co-Lead of RASKC’s Kirkland Team. Since October 2015 she has juggled the schedules of more than 175 volunteers. During 2016-17 she has been the initial point of contact for about 76 new volunteers. Last year RASKC volunteers at Kirkland donated more than 5, 5657 hours with Pia’s assistance and leadership. With great cheer and extraordinary diplomacy, Pia has very effectively addressed a great range of issues from assisting volunteers with using Volgistics to helping customers adopt a new furry member of their family. Since 2015, Pia and her daughter Freja have worked a regular weekly shift at Kirkland. Thank you, Pia!

Q: How did you hear about RASKC?

A: I moved to Kirkland with my family 2 years ago. At that time a kind mom, of my youngest daughter’s classmates, told me about this great volunteer opportunity that she and her daughter just joined and truly enjoyed.

Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?

A: Freja, my oldest daughter, has always wanted to get a dog and work with animals. I thought this would be a great opportunity for her to learn, experience and care about cats and dogs – as well as something I can do together with my teenage daughter. Growing up I was influenced by my mom, who feared dogs and we would always, without exception, cross the street whenever we passed a dog to avoid it!! With that in mind I decided when I got kids, that I would make sure they at least would feel comfortable with pets – now I have two girls who loves animals in general.

Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?

A: My passion is travelling and I am so privileged of working in the travel industry with both corporate and leisure travel. These past 2½ years in Kirkland I had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom for the first time in my life. I enjoy spending a lot of time with our daughters (11 and 13 years), travelling around the States, studying again (digital media and marketing) and I am enjoying a lot of awesome hikes here in the Northwest.

Q: What have you gained and hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC?

A: Volunteering at RASKC has been one of the highlights in my U.S. adventure. The concept of volunteering is still in the early start-up in Denmark, so it had been a great experience to get an insight into how RASKC is managing being this successful. I am amazed to see how dedicated and committed both staff and volunteers are in caring for our little fur babies and how RASCK are being innovative in increasing the number of adopted animals.

Q: What is your life motto?

A: ”What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

Q: What is the best advice you would give people who want pets?

A: Do your research and be realistic. We are renting our house here in Kirkland and are not allowed to have any animals. Though this gave us the opportunity to look after friends’ dogs for longer periods, while they were abroad. Our whole family got to understand how much time caring and training a dog takes, as well as setting realistic expectations. Babysitting friends’ dogs during vacations is highly recommended and the outcome is that we have decided that we are getting a Labrador, when we return to Denmark this summer.

Q: Describe a memorable moment you’ve had with an animal.

A: In 2009 our family lived in Northern Vietnam for 1 year, managing a Lodge with 40 staff mainly from the local hill tribes. One day our electrician came to work with the cutest puppy and told my daughters that was a gift to them. We accepted and exchanged with a swiss army knife. We loved our dog, though we had to get used to that he was running free and we never knew exactly where he was sleeping at night.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about the Kirkland Team?

A: I am so proud to be part of this great Team. Our volunteers are very dedicated and committed to being there for our little furs. Though most of us have never met we have a joint purpose, which I believe is what make us feel like a team.

Q: You are one of many RASKC volunteers who grew up in another country. What would you like to share about Denmark?

Many people have asked me “Why Danes are considered the happiest people in the world, according to United Nations Happiness Report in 2013, 2014 and 2016”? I believe it is highly considered that the welfare system in Denmark provides a sense of security that makes people feel at ease and confident that if they get unemployed or ill, the system will support you and help you back on your feet. It could be rewritten for the Danes to be the less worried people which translates into happiness. Taxes are high in Denmark, which makes up for a fully free governmental healthcare system for everybody, with gradually self-financed dentist based on income. Schools and universities are free and under- and graduate students get monthly student grants making education available for everyone. Unemployment benefits and schemes to help you find a job are generous to secure flexibility in the job market. Trust is another key factor in the Dane’s prescription of happiness. Trusting the government taking good care of your tax money for the interest of the society, trusting the work place, the kindergarten and schools who takes care of your children, trusting you are safe, with low crime and government corruption. Mothers leave their babies unattended in strollers outside cafés and people might leave their doors unlocked in the countryside. Of course, we see downsides of the Danish Model with less risk taking to be an entrepreneur, less motivation moving, working hard and climbing the ladder.