Tag Archives: volunteer

Meet CHR Volunteer Susan

The sudden passing of her Golden Retriever, Max, in October 2010, was the impetus for Coming Home Rescue volunteer, Susan, to want to honor his memory by volunteering.

“I wanted another dog right away – not that it would take Max’s place – I just wanted to have a dog close to me. My husband did not want another dog ever again since he was in so much pain over Max’s death. I decided to volunteer to do something with and for dogs,” she said. “The Christmas that Max died I watched a video of a pit who had a bad case of mange and was left outside at a shelter. It was so sad. I cried and cried. I needed to help at least one dog to make up for the injustices done to him.”  

She started volunteering at Noah’s Ark but, due to hip issues, was unable to walk any of the dogs. So she sat with female dogs that had been rescued from puppy mills and had never made human contact. 

“I held them every chance I got. I loved the dogs but came away feeling sad and unfulfilled.    There had to be more,” she said. “I saw an ad in a neighborhood newspaper for Coming Home Rescue. They needed help with various tasks. I met with [Founding Member] Charlene over coffee at Panera Bread and started right away.”

She began volunteering in June 2011 and decided to give it a year to get to know the organization, the volunteers and see if it was a good fit for her.

“I love the dogs. And there are few other places where I have met friends with whom I have an immediate bond,” Susan said. “I am very proud to be associated with Coming Home Rescue.  The volunteers are selfless and the more I get to know them, the more I like them.”

Susan began transporting dogs as she owns a Subaru wagon and can carry one large dog, two medium dogs or three small dogs.

“It is very rewarding when a dog I transport to an adoption event gets adopted at that event.” 

She also works at adoption events, conducts meet and greet with potential adopters and enjoys helping with the fundraisers. And she has also fostered six dogs for as long as four weeks and as short as overnight.

“My husband and I have been lucky enough to be able to feed and exercise litters of puppies!”

Susan and her husband have written a love letter to each other, every day, for the past sixteen years.

“It’s twenty uninterrupted minutes a day to share our lives with each other.  It might sound hokey but it is very meaningful to us.”

So it’s no wonder that two people that take the time to sit down and share their thoughts with one another have also opened their home to dogs in need. And she would encourage anyone to give it a try.

“If you want to foster but cannot take a dog long term, we always need someone to house a dog overnight at different times for various reasons. But you don’t have to be hands-on. There are many tasks within the rescue that require skills not involving handling the pups. We always need help with fundraising and so much more.”

Susan says that the group’s mission statement pretty much sums up why she volunteers. “Saving just one dog will not change the world but surely it will change the world of that one dog”. 

Her first adoption event with Coming Home Rescue she describes as both educational and poignant. The group had recently rescued eight of twenty-three dogs from an unhealthy living situation.

“We had one of these dogs at the event. She was painfully shy and huddled in a back corner of the run. Marci [another CHR volunteer] sat with me in the run until the dog let us near her without shivering and trying to crawl away. I petted her and coaxed her out of her crate.”

After a bathroom break, Susan put her back in her run. “She went back into her corner. But when I approached her a little later, her tail wagged ever so slightly. Oh My God — that felt rewarding.”

Do you have a skill set that you would like to share? Interested in helping dogs find their forever homes? Fill out a volunteer application online or contact us at info@cominghomerescue.org or 1-888-405-7221.

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Filed under Culture, Dog Rescue, Life, Pets, Volunteering

Meet CHR Volunteer Winnie

It’s knowing that she can give a homeless dog a second chance in life that drives Coming Home Rescue volunteer, Winnie, to be an active member of the group. 

“It is such an accomplishment helping dogs find a better life than whey they had before,” she said.

Winnie had previously worked with a hand full of the volunteers for this Rockaway, NJ based non-profit group.

“I think they are wonderful people,” she said. “Also the organization is not as large as others where you feel lost and have no connection with other volunteers in the group.”

Winnie worked with fellow volunteer, Jennifer S., on spear-heading the efforts of this year’s Pub Crawl which raised money to help provide shelter, food and medical attention to the dogs while they wait to find their forever homes.

She also helps at adoption events, updates the group’s listings on their Pet Finder page, as well as adding and releasing dog information on the organization’s website.

“I love spending time with dogs and getting to know their personalities.”

Winnie’s rescue dogs Angie and Yukon

In addition to the two dogs that Winnie’s family has adopted, they have also opened their doors and their hearts to fostering for Coming Home Rescue which provides a home environment for the dogs while they wait to be adopted by their forever families.

“The group helped save a dog from Liberty Humane Society that had demodectic mange. He was in pretty bad shape. The poor dog was mostly raw, swollen and oozed of stink. The group did everything to make sure he was going to be on the correct path to recovery and I ended up fostering him,” Winnie said. “Boy is he a different dog now that he has fully recovered. What a handsome boy and such a great dog! I’m happy to say that he has been adopted and is living the good life.”

And at the end of the day, that’s what it is all about. Taking one dog at a time, no matter what their former life might have entailed, and providing them with an opportunity to move into the next positive phase of their life.

“It gives me great pleasure to interact with the rescue dogs and to know that they will not be euthanized.”


Filed under Culture, Dog Rescue, Fundraising Events, Life, Pets, Volunteering

Meet CHR Volunteer Jennifer S.

Coming Home Rescue in Rockaway, NJ, is celebrating its third birthday and volunteer, Jennifer S., has been there since the beginning. 

When she began volunteering for the dog rescue organization, she processed applications and helped at the adoption events including transport dogs to and from the locations.

“Currently, I intake and release the dogs from all the Internet sites we use (our website, Petfinder, Adopt a Pet), process applications, and have been busy assisting with fundraising,” Jennifer said. “This year alone I had a big part in the Calendar Raffle as well as the Pub Crawl. I also submit a picture and bio of a dog each week to local newspapers and press releases as needed.”

Jennifer said the amount of time she puts into volunteering depends upon the needs of the group but noted that Coming Home Rescue “understands that you can only do what you can do and never pushes you to do more than you can handle.”

She considers her volunteer efforts as a bit of “me” time, escaping her everyday life to help others. “Everyone needs a little “me” time, I just share my “me” time with helpless dogs who need a little love and attention.”

Jennifer finds the whole experience very rewarding when the organization transforms a sick, scared or older dog that was going to be put sleep back to good health and then adopts them out to a family that adores them.

Although there have been many moments that have impacted her while volunteering for the group, there are two that have stood out.

“We saved one dog named Bones. He was in terrible shape as there was no meat to him at all and he needed surgery, which was not cheap. Most shelters or rescues just looked right over him. He was sick, a pit, and they had no need for him. We on the other hand saw more to him. We were able to get him the proper health care, give him attention and show him what love was all about. He was adopted by a wonderful family who thinks the world of him.”

Coming Home Rescue also saved a handicapped pup named Maddie who was slated for euthanasia because of her disability. She, too, was adopted and comes back often to visit the volunteers. 

“Volunteering is not what most people think. Many think that it is so sad to see the dogs, and that if they volunteered, they would have to adopt all the dogs so they choose to stay away,” Jennifer said. “That’s not the case. It is a happy experience all the way around. There are many aspects of volunteering whether it be, pulling the dogs from euthanasia, vetting them, walking, brushing, driving them to events, training, fostering, listing information about them on websites, processing applications, publicizing, fundraising and so much more. What people need to know is it is because of the things that you are doing that help save the dogs and get them the home that they deserve.” 

Jennifer’s furry family members include a 6-year-old female Lab/Golden retriever mix named Bella and a three-year-old Spaniel/Lab mix named Freckles who her family adopted from Coming Home Rescue in February 2011. “I look at Freckles all the time and think to myself, how could anyone want to give you up? If it was not for Coming Home Rescue, she may not be alive today!”

Some of her family members have followed her example with an aunt adopting a senior Bichon Frisé and a cousin adopting a Pit Bull mix. 

And at the end of the day, it’s the closeness of the rescue group that Jennifer loves best.

“The volunteers at Coming Home Rescue all share a common mission–to help homeless dogs in shelters throughout NJ. Many rescues help save dogs in the south, but I want to do something for my community and my state, and this is it. In addition, the volunteers at Coming Home are amazing. I do not just consider them people that I volunteer with. They are more like family to me.”

Interested in volunteering for the organization? Visit the website, call 1-888-405-7221 or email info@cominghomerescue.org.

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Filed under Culture, Dog Rescue, Life, Volunteering