Group Painting Agility Equipment

Maxine Weber, volunteer and guest blogger, shares her thoughtful and often humorous observations from inside the WDC.

Recently the American Heart Association started a campaign called, “Know Your Numbers”. According to the AHA, knowing a few key numbers will help us figure out if we are developing risk factors that are associated with diseases like type 2 diabetes and some cardiovascular diseases. A few of those key numbers include blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight. A simple concept – know your numbers, know your health. The Working Dog Center wanted to know our numbers to assess our health but we weren’t taking a blood test. We were measuring something else equally important – the amount of support we get from volunteers. For a non-profit organization, volunteer support is a key indicator of health. Of course, unlike blood pressure and body weight, where lower is better, volunteer support needs to be high. After pouring through sign in sheets and spreadsheet trackers, we were astounded to learn our number… our volunteers have put in over 18,700 hours!

We would not be able to run our Center without the support of volunteers. This year, volunteers have done everything from taking our dogs on potty walks to escorting the dogs on their first helicopter ride. Everywhere we go – Home Depot, SEPTA subway, Pet Hotel Pool, Lithicum rubble pile and trips to the farm, we always need multiple volunteers to assist the training staff. Volunteers pass out lunches, sweep the floor, hide in barrels and paint agility equipment. They open their homes to the dogs as backup fosters for our foster parents when they have to go out of town. It is a constant source of inspiration to our staff that we have such dedicated volunteers, who will go anywhere and do anything to support the mission of the Working Dog Center. So we really have to say – we have the best volunteers ever!

Yes, 18,700 is our number. It’s a good one and we know it.