Meet Susan! RASKC is super happy to honor Susan Coffman as Volunteer of the Month. Having begun as a volunteer in 2011, Susan is incredibly dedicated, extremely reliable, and very skilled— both on the Cat Meet & Greet team and in her role as Shelter Tour Lead Volunteer. Susan is exceptionally conscientious—the volunteer who raises the most number of excellent questions. She is wonderful about alerting the team leaders about anomalies and unusual situations. As a mentor, Susan has trained so many new volunteers. She has coordinated so many shelter tours too!
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
A: I had adopted my two previous cats from RASKC/ King County Animal Care & Control- in 1980 and another in 2002, so I knew from experience.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?
A: My daughter is an animal lover, as am I. She is the one that asked about volunteering with cats. As a mom, you want to support and be involved with your kids about the things they are passionate about. So when she was 11 years old, we started the process of being a mother/daughter team at RASKC.
Q: What do you do and like to do when you aren’t volunteering for RASKC?
A: I love the beach, though I don’t go as often as I would like. I do, however, take an annual trip to Seaside every September. I also like to do scrapbooking, but I have not done that in a VERY LONG time. I enjoy spending time with family and friends and trying new restaurants and foods. I also volunteer with the local Girl Scout service unit in our area now that my daughter and troop have graduated to adults.
Q: What have you gained and hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC? And as a former Girl Scout leader?
A: I have been able to maintain so many social skills with this volunteer outlet, since working from home limits my ability to be social at work or meet other people. It has been great for me to arrive at RASKC each week, meet new people, and spend time with wonderful staff and volunteers. I love knowing that I am making a difference- one adoption at a time, helping find the perfect fit for a family who comes in looking to adopt. As a former Girl Scout leader, I also gained skills of patience and understanding, knowing when to step back and when to lead. I enjoyed watching the girls grow, mature, learn, develop, teach, interact, and become fabulous adults who are doing things they love and enjoy. It was a true blessing to know them and their families and share the experiences Girl Scouts bring to the table. I hope I can continue to grow, learn, improve, and make a difference by educating people on what a fabulous shelter we have right here in our backyard.
Q: What is your life motto?
A: Things that are important to me are family, friends, and pets. Qualities that are important to me are being honest, respectful, responsible, trustworthy, friendly, and taking care of your animals as family.
Q: Tell us a little more about yourself.
A: I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, near where my grandparents had a farm. I lived in Pittsburgh until I was seven years old. We then moved to California for about a year and a half, and then to Washington when I was nine. I grew up in Auburn. I loved going back to my grandparents’ farm for vacations. Fast forward to my time as an adult, I won a Best in Customer Service award at a previous job where I worked as an assistant center director. I also received the Golden Acorn award three times in my years involved in PTSA in my kids’ school for outstanding volunteer recognition.
Q: Tell us about your dog.
A: My dog Pepper loves her people, but doesn’t really like to interact much with other dogs. She is fine around them but just doesn’t really know how to “play.” She is very needy and wants to be with you or on you, even though Pepper is 60 pounds! She likes to run and have some playtime in our backyard on nice days. Now that she is nine years old, Pepper plays for less than five minutes if we are lucky, then she is tired out and done for the time being, though she may want to play later again. Pepper will bark at just about anything, so that can be quite annoying, but, of course, we love her.
Q: Tell us about the other pets in your home.
A: My cat passed away in late 2018 when she was over 16 years old. My daughter, however, has cats. It is so cute to watch these brothers wrestle, roll, and play with each other and then five minutes later they are laying with each other snuggled up in a ball, one on top of the other, just passed out. They are not the most graceful jumpers, so it is cute to watch them figure out how they are going to get from one place to another, especially when they sometimes miss! Chubbs loves to cause trouble at times and is a leader. Simon is more laid back, timid, shy, and a follower. If he knows, however, that something shouldn’t be done, he tends to back off and not follow. They are very snuggly with my daughter, and they are warming up to me. I do miss the kitty snuggles that I used to get from my cat who would curl up on my lap for hours. Every once in a while Chubbs or Simon will come lay with me, and I am in total heaven when that happens.
Q: What are some notable moments from your nine years so far as a RASKC volunteer?
A: I’ll often form a bond with long-term resident cats at RASKC. Some of my most gratifying moments are when they get adopted. It is good to know they found their forever home and are not in the shelter setting anymore. It warms my heart and makes me so happy to volunteer for such a wonderful organization that helps so many animals in need.
Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering for RASKC?
A: I have loved my experience volunteering at RASKC. I tell everyone that it is a great place to volunteer. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, the volunteers are amazing, and the potential adopters are very open and ask questions and allow us to share information with them about adoptions and the fabulous programs available in our community through RASKC.
For more information, visit us at http://www.kingcounty.gov/pets