2018 August Volunteer of the Month: Pam Gibbons
Meet Pam! She contributes her leadership, communication skills and problem-solving skills to RASKC is so many ways. Pam works on one of the busiest Meet and Greet shifts each week. Affable and “cool as a cucumber,” Pam provides tremendous customer service and is one of RASKC’s best trainers of new volunteers. Pam also leads shelter tours, facilitates new pet photographs onto RASKC’s website, staffs community events, and she transports animals. Several years ago Pam served as RASKC’s inaugural Lead Volunteer for our Tukwila Cat-Care Team. She set up several systems that continue to be in use today. Pam has also served as Scheduler for the Early Morning Cat Crew. RASKC staff very much appreciate her strategic insights and suggestions on how we can continually improve. Thank you, Pam!
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
A: As a local girl, I’ve been aware of RASKC for a long time. I can remember donating towels back in the day when everything was housed in the main building. It was crowded!
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially work with animals?
A: When I stepped back from my career after turning 50, I was able to try volunteering with several different causes that interested me. Of those RASKC “stuck,” primarily because of the variety of roles available, from hands-on with animals to behind-the-scenes support. RASKC has been a wonderful introduction to the larger world of animal welfare. I frequently think how fortunate we RASKC volunteers are to get to do what we do!
Q: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering at RASKC?
A: I am active in my local Human Resources volunteer community, where I have met other animal enthusiasts! I also advocate for other animal welfare causes, such as banning both breed-specific legislation and puppy (and kitten!) mills..
Q: What have you gained, or hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer at RASKC?
A: I have gained an enormous respect for the animal control staff who work tirelessly to improve the lives of animals they encounter while simultaneously juggling the demands and quirks of the public, volunteers, and regulations in our environment. As a volunteer, I have also become more patient and empathetic working with the public. And I continue to be inspired by the amazing animal outcomes we achieve at RASKC under Dr. Gene’s leadership. If you haven’t volunteered at other shelters, you don’t know how fortunate we are!
Q: What is your life motto?
A: I’m not known for mottos, but if I had to choose, I’d say “Be Kind.”
Q: What was your favorite park to take your dog for a walk? What was a favorite activity that you liked to do with Dixie?
A: Dixie, my late Treeing Walker Coonhound, never met a blade of grass she didn’t want to sniff or a squirrel she didn’t want to chase, so living in the Lakes area of Kent where we could walk next to the Green River and explore open green fields was perfect for her. Despite spending six years as a research animal before I adopted her, Dixie embodied gentleness and was a great doggie ambassador to children we met everywhere.
Q: What is the best thing about your cats?
A: I love learning their individual purrsonalities and how I can adapt my environment to meet their needs. And while none are lap cats, I do love just hearing them breathe next to me on the bed at night. It’s very relaxing, almost like meditation!
Q: How would you describe your pets’ personalities?
A: Spunky was named well! I adopted him when he was 13 years old, and now at 17 he still has tons of energy! I just wish he didn’t feel the need to be energetic every morning before 5am. Clark (Gable) is more like me – some adventure mixed in with a lot of couch potato, while his late brother Christopher (Robin) was always quite shy.
Q: What is the best advice you would give people who want pets?
A: Understand the responsibility, not just now but for a lifetime. Pets will give us everything, but they are dependent upon us for everything as well – not just food and shelter, but time, affection, enrichment, patience. And especially for dog adopters, make sure you match the dog’s energy level to yours!
Q: Describe a memorable moment you’ve had with an animal.
A: One of my favorite memories is of Sherman, a cat at RASKC about 4 years ago. He was big and mean – or so we thought! It was discovered he had lots of bad teeth that were causing him pain. Thanks to the Angel Fund, Sherman got all of his teeth pulled (yes, all!) and he became an affectionate teddy bear. He even became harness trained thanks to Volunteer Jennifer French.
Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering for RASKC?
A: I wish I had started earlier! I really admire the dedication of the other volunteers and all I have learned from them. I truly look forward to helping out and seeing volunteers each week like fellow Meet & Greet Dawn D. and Shelter Helper Michael R, as well as staff like Emily and Adryan. They really make a difference!
Interested in volunteering? We’d love to have you! To learn more, visit us at: