Meet Yuka! RASKC is extremely happy to bestow Exceptional Youth recognition to Yuka Takahashi. She is a 20-year-old Dog Walker, who has achieved “red” status. This status means that she is eligible to work with some of RASKC’s most challenging dogs in adoptions. Since she began with RASKC in 2019, Yuka has contributed almost 50 hours before COVID-19 and has helped to train a new Dog Walker. She currently resides in Federal Way.

“I am a pre-veterinary biology student at Highline College, aiming to become an aquarium veterinarian in the future. I have been accepted by the University of California- Berkeley, so I plan to transfer there this fall to major in molecular environmental biology.

“I had an internship at a big aquarium in Japan, Marine World Umino Nakamichi. The experience made me decide I want to work at an aquarium. I really want to work with dolphins and orcas. I really, really love them, and it is always my dream.

“Currently I volunteer at MaST Center, which is a small aquarium at Highline College, on their Marine Mammal Stranding Team and used to be on their Jerry Fish Breeding Team as well.

“My mom, dad, brother and sister live in Japan, along with my dog Mameta. He is a black Shiba Inu, which I think is rare in the United States. I love him so much. And I always appreciate my family who helps me so much.

“I’m from Gunma, Japan. I really like the Japanese traditional clothes, Kimono. It makes women look elegant, intelligent, and gorgeous. I also think Japanese calligraphy is beautiful and unique. I got second place in Japanese calligraphy competition when I was in high school. Also, I participated in a national swimming competition when I was in junior high school. I enjoy both arts and sports.

“I speak Japanese. I’m happy to help out Japanese visitors or Japanese volunteers as a peer mentor.

“Perseverance is my strength and my motto. Since I came to the United States two years ago, I was able to decide my goal and do everything I want to do without giving up any single small goal. 

“Ed Sheeran said in an interview, ‘If you don’t aim for the top of the mountain, how are you ever going to get halfway?’ This keeps my goal higher and keeps me moving forward. I really like his music and the guitar tone color as well.

“These two years of studying in Seattle were a really important experience to me, and it means a lot. I created my goal and enjoyed the pathway to achieving it. I am really happy that I was able to study in this amazing state surrounded by many kind, warm, and nice people and precious natures.

“Before I started volunteering at RASKC, I thought the animal shelter might be full of darkness and sadness, so I went there with a willingness to see the horrible situation. However, the animals in RASKC were loved and were filled with kindness. I was totally surprised and began to like volunteering at the shelter. 

“I had never before worked with a dog whose foot was amputated, a dog that was deaf, or a dog who was really big. Here I gained the skills to understand their feelings and body expressions. I really enjoyed meeting new dogs and loved to see dogs become socialized. That made me decide to become a veterinarian.

“I like that every single person helped me to gain skills when I first started to volunteer, even though I was not good at speaking English at that time. The people who work there are really nice and always have positive passion or smiles. I really love this place and miss the normal shift before the pandemic situation.

“I might mention that I also volunteer at Jet City Animal Clinic every weekend. I really love the team there too!!”

RASKC is very grateful to Yuka for her service, skill, and positivity.