Meet Julie! RASKC is overjoyed to present Julie Nolasco with Outstanding New Volunteer recognition this month. Since she started last December, Julie has contributed so much to the well-being of the dogs, cats, and rabbits. She typically works three shifts each week, sometimes more – two shifts on Tuesdays as an elite “red” Dog Walker and a three-hour shift on Fridays for the Early Morning Cat/Rabbit Crew. A resident of Des Moines, Julie is terrific working with staff and other volunteers. In fact, she was recently promoted to be a Dog Team training mentor.

“Dog walking is fun and challenging. I try to get to know the dogs beyond the little information available about their past. I walk them on a grassy area and give them love. My favorite dog right now is Stryker. He came to RASKC last February. I remember the first time I walked him was on March 15. He is one of the sweetest dogs! He will just lay down on the grass, chill, and lean on me. If only I could adopt him.

“I have a four-year-old rescue tuxedo cat. I smother him with kisses. He is a daddy’s boy, and they love taking naps together. Boogie is a goofball and loves making ‘sin biscuits.’

“When I was 28 years old and just married, my spouse and I adopted my first pet – a Shih Tzu named Lucky. My passion for dogs grew from there. At one point, I had four adult dogs and five puppies!

“Here are a few facts about me:

  • I worked in the hospitality industry for 35 years. I was awarded Manager of the Year recognition in 2011 which came with a five-day trip to Hawaii. We had a blast on that trip.
  • I love to travel and explore natural wonders. One of the best times in my life were the four years I spent in Switzerland while I worked on my hotel management diploma.
  • I speak Tagalog (Filipino), three Chinese dialects (fluent enough to get by), and a little French.
  • My grandfather migrated to the Philippines from China when my dad was just a teenager. He later opened a restaurant where I worked at the cash register on weekends when I was in high school. I found out about 15 years ago that my grandfather was known as the ‘Dumpling King.’ Had I known, I would have asked for his recipe!
  • When I was in the Philippines, I was on their version of the Dating Game show. I was not supposed to be on the show. I replaced one of the searchees that couldn’t make it. And I won! My then boyfriend – now husband – was in the audience when the show was being taped.

“There are a few RASKC cats and dogs who I have really connected with and who have touched my heart. I always look forward to seeing them. I check the webpage to see if they are still there. It is bittersweet when they get adopted.

“I love volunteering at RASKC, because I can help the animals here and meet other volunteers who are also passionate about the animals. Cheri Tjoelker, who trains most of the Dog Walkers, is awesome! I learn a lot from her on our shifts. She is very patient and continuously shares tips on how to handle dogs. She is a true gem for RASKC.

“When it comes up in conversations with strangers, I’ll mention that I volunteer for an animal shelter. I receive real appreciation from them. They thank me with sincerity, which feels great.”

To Julie: Please feel the love from RASKC. We deeply appreciate your wonderful dedication, tremendous skills, and best spirit.