By Bette Yozell, Chair of the Visual Arts/Fine Arts Department
I have the distinction of being the longest continually active volunteer at the Shelter. (This is not to be confused with being the oldest volunteer, as I am often erroneously called.) I have been to every Barkin’ Ball since its inception, experienced various directors and locations, and held a variety of volunteer positions. As chair of the art department at Santa Fe Preparatory School and part of its community service program, I have brought students to the Shelter for the past 25 years. OK, so maybe I am kind of old.
I am grateful to Santa Fe Prep for giving me the opportunity to pursue my interest in animal welfare while holding a faculty position. Kids and companion animals: now there’s a winning combo! Put them together and it’s hard to determine which is more enthusiastic. It has been a joy to see my students care for, learn to train, socialize, and nurture these loving beings. They, in turn, go out to their communities as companion-animal advocates.
Looking back over my years with the Shelter, it is difficult to say which volunteer position I most enjoyed. I was an adoption counselor for many years. I assisted in the clinic, worked in the spay/neuter van, fostered litters of puppies and kittens, created graphics for various Shelter events, worked the front desk, washed countless loads of laundry, bathed and groomed animals, worked during adoption events at PetSmart and did my share of the less glorified tasks.
I have witnessed the amazing resilience of neglected and abused animals who dare to trust and love again. Making this animals as comfortable as possible while at the Shelter and facilitating their placement in a forever home is a privilege.
I will retire at the end of this school year, after 27 years at Santa Fe Prep. Another faculty member will bring the students in the future. I do, however, plan on continuing to be of service to the Shelter in whatever capacity needed. My work there has been such a blessing. I encourage everyone to do what they can, with whatever resources they have, to continue improving the lives of animals in Northern New Mexico.