Pets Alive Volunteer Heals and Help Others During Off Time

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Multimedia specialist Isabelle Burke volunteers on the facility for SAPA at Paul Jolly Adoption Center. Burke walks dogs Like this one named "Bit Oven" in her spare time.  Photo by V.L. Roberson

Multimedia specialist Isabelle Burke volunteers on the facility for SAPA at Paul Jolly Adoption Center. Burke walks dogs Like this one named “Bit Oven” in her spare time. Photo by V.L. Roberson

Deana a 45 pound Akita mix pants to cool off after her walk with Isabelle Burke at the Paul Jolly Adoption Center.  Photo by V.L. Roberson

Deana a 45 pound Akita mix pants to cool off after her walk with Isabelle Burke at the Paul Jolly Adoption Center. Photo by V.L. Roberson

By V.L. Roberson

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Multimedia specialist Isabelle Burke is doing her part to help San Antonio become a “no-kill city.”

For more than a year, she has volunteered seven to eight hours a week at Paul Jolly Adoption Center, 210 Tuleta Drive across from the zoo.

Becoming a no-kill city means no animals are being euthanized which happens three to five days after a dog or cat is taken in by animal care services and not claimed.

San Antonio Pets Alive began in January 2012 and was selected by city council to operate the center in 2013.

SAPA pulls animals straight from the euthanasia list at Animal Care Services and is the last chance for the pets on that list, according to their website.

“Anytime that I am off, I volunteer three to four hours,” Burke said. “I usually spend time with seven to eight dogs around 30 minutes a dog.”

“About 1 ½ years ago, I saw an ad for volunteers and I believed it would be a wonderful way to combine everything: love for dogs, exercise, convenient location,” Burke said.

She attended an orientation and training provided by SAPA to help volunteers recognize signs and moods in dogs.

“When I was married, we did not have children, we had a dog named Jolie,” she said.

“The dog was a given to us by a neighbor,” she said. “We had a strong bond.”

“When I got divorced, I left her behind. I wasn’t sure of my own future, my ability to provide for myself, feed myself, or take care of the dog,” she said.

Burke misses having a dog and enjoys the time she spends with all the dogs at the center.

“I would always see different groups coming in to volunteer, and I thought why not SAC,” she said.

Burke worked with student success Coordinator Mary-Elise Ferrer to invite students at this college to get involved on Saturday.

“I believe it can be beneficial to students; they can learn responsibility,” Burke said. “Maybe a student may live in a situation that they can’t have pets because of a lease agreement or roommate.”

To volunteer April 11, you can go through a brief orientation when you arrive and sign a waiver. Volunteers younger than age 16 must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

To be a regular volunteer, go to sanantoniopetsalive.org and submit an application to begin the process.

The SAPA adoption application process is much more thorough than for volunteers.

Prospective adoptive owners must be at least 18 years of age, fill out the application and meet with an adoption counselor.

They must show a picture ID with current address. If this isn’t available, the organization will accept a picture ID with a current utility bill.

If you are considering a dog or puppy that might have visual characteristics of a pit bull terrier, you must show proof of landlord approval or home ownership

Prospective owners must spend at least 30 minutes with the pet they want to adopt.

A SAPA conducted “meet and greet” with current household dogs is generally required for all adult dogs, according to the SAPA website sanantoniopetsalive.org.

“It really has made a difference. It’s brought me a wonderful happiness,” she said.

For more information, go to the website @sanantoniopetsalive.org.

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