There is always a huge need to roll up your sleeves and get the dogs out and moving in the morning and we can count on Staci to be there at least two mornings each week to ensure that the dogs are cared for. She is an asset to our program and her solid dedication and attitude are a pleasure for the dogs and the other volunteers lucky enough to work with her. “I am always excited to volunteer my time and be part of my community so as a Christmas present to myself I signed up to volunteer at Saving Grace. I love meeting new people and making new friends who have the willingness to be part of a solution. After six months, the work is still hard, but the reward is far beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I even brought home a little fella to make our family complete. It truly is the best feeling in the world to see every dog have its day so I will continue to come to Saving Grace and see “that” day.”
Mitch will humbly tell you that he volunteers at Saving Grace only because he loves petting the dogs, but he has done so much more for us. He has his own Saving Grace dog named Molly. Mitch truly takes it upon himself to better the program for both the volunteers and the animals. Mitch does a great job keeping the dogs labeled and organized so that the volunteers can familiarize themselves with each dog and learn him or her by name. This especially helps when administering medications or knowing who likes to play together. Mitch also helps to keep all the fences repaired and the grounds in tip-top shape. Thanks to Mitch, people visiting dogs for adoption, the volunteers and the dogs all have a positive experience when visiting. Mitch volunteers for several shifts each week and consistently does an amazing job. He is patient and kind to all the dogs as well as new volunteers who may need an extra hand or explanation. Mitch is a very special volunteer and we are grateful for his love and dedication.
"When I retired and moved to Raleigh, I found myself with too much time on my hands. Then one day I saw a news report about a puppy mill raid and how Saving Grace was helping. I checked the web site and was immediately impressed. I emailed Molly about volunteer opportunities and have loved every minute I spend at Saving Grace since then.
Poop scooping in the 90* heat or washing dog dishes when it is 20* and the hoses are half frozen, cleaning out crates when a dog just couldn’t make it all night, feeding and feeding and feeding dogs, coaxing a dog out of a crate when it doesn’t really want to leave that warm bed just in case it doesn’t get it back again - it’s not all glamorous work but when you see a dog come from a shelter shy, scared and exhausted and watch the change that takes place after a few days of good food, warm beds and caring people, it makes it all worthwhile.
I have received so much more than I have given at Saving Grace, from all of the things I have learned from Molly and Karen (I have so much more to learn) to the trust and unconditional love you get from the dogs. My grandsons, Zach and Tyler, love to help me whenever they can. They don’t mind the feeding and cleaning but their favorite thing to do is just play with the dogs."
Hannah and Lynn began volunteering with the Saving Grace program in the summer of 2009. They have enjoyed being part of the program and watching so many wonderful dogs find forever homes. "We love watching the transformation that happens with the dogs. New dogs come into the program and are sometimes scared or hesitant. Within a few days, however, they feel safe enough to run, play and interact with all the other dogs and with us. It is magical to watch that happen. It gives us such a good feeling to know that the dogs are so well cared for and loved, and that they are going to good homes." The program also has been a great way for Lynn and Hannah to spend time together doing something they both love.
There's something magical about the way professional photographer Diane Lewis reveals the personality and spirit of every animal she captures on film. Her camera shows the tilt of the head, the soft expression in the eye, the way the light makes those little whiskers on a puppy's chin stand out. When Diane turns her camera on the Saving Grace dogs, she brings their individuality to life for potential adopters, making that special match all the more likely.
Diane's first dog came from a shelter, and photographing wayward dogs to help them find homes has always been important to her. In fact, she left the world of financial analysis to become a full-time photographer specializing in dogs (she also photographs other animals and children). Her amazing talent for getting a squirmy subject to show off their best side is nationally known; her work has been showered with awards and her dog images have been featured in books, on magazine covers and in advertising for major corporate clients.
Each week Diane photographs the Saving Grace dogs with the same care and professionalism she takes with any pet she works with. Her generous gift to Saving Grace in the form of these photos is also a gift to anyone who visits the Saving Grace Web site. You can see some of the magic for yourself on "Our Dogs" page.
Diane is available for private photo sessions; visit her website at www.dianelewisphotography.com.
"The reason I started volunteering at Saving Grace was my daughter’s passion for animals. Particularly dogs. She wanted me to find a place where we could volunteer and help dogs. I saw a commercial for Saving Grace and made an appointment to check it out. My first reaction was ''wow'' this place is awesome! The dogs were running around playing and the set-up they had was like a doggie hotel. I started in September of 2012 and my first shift was on a Saturday and I wanted to come back the next day. I look forward to my weekly shift and the nights I help with putting the doggies to bed. I help out when they need additional help because I just love going there and seeing all the different dogs Molly has brought into the program. It makes my day to see all the wonderful dogs so happy and friendly and I know they will soon be going to their forever homes. Saving Grace is my Saving Grace – it makes me happy!!"
Kevin helps in all different capacities throughout the Saving Grace program. He feeds the farm animals a couple of days a week, helps with general maintenance and dog care. He can always be counted on for a big hello, a joke, and a helping hand if you ever need one. We appreciate how much Kevin has enjoyed learning how to work with different kinds of animals and the bonds they offer.
"It wasn't long after I began volunteering at Saving Grace in 2011 that I learned of the need for foster homes, especially puppies. I took in my first litter of Chihuahua mixes thinking, "I'm a 'big dog' person, so I won't fall in love with these puppies and it will be easy when it comes time to let them go." Needless-to-say, I fell in love with them all. But the sadness I feel when I say goodbye to my foster pups is tiny compared to the satisfaction of knowing that for every one I foster another can be saved from a shelter. I receive so much more from volunteering at Saving Grace than I could ever give. The dogs teach me patience, purpose, presence, and acceptance every time I am there. Furthermore, I am inspired by the tireless dedication of the entire Saving Grace crew. My husband Dave and dog Barkley are no strangers to SG either. Dave will pitch in when a special project needs some extra hands and Barkley can occasionally be seen "conversing" with the barnyard dogs during his days at Happy Dog Fun doggy daycare. I look forward to many more years of foster pups, great people, and muddy paw prints on my pants, signaling a job well done :)"
Lynn Bruce, our excellent volunteer coordinator, invited Sharon to join her for an afternoon at Saving Grace, and Sharon fell in love. She had just lost her dog to cancer, but soon after found a happy companion, Sophie, at SG. She has been giving her time and energy for the past two years. Sharon’s favorite task is to run around with the dogs in the big open spaces that Saving Grace allows. Like many of our volunteers do, Sharon enjoys seeing smiles on the dogs’ faces when they are running around with her. As for what Saving Grace has taught her, “I believe dogs are just like kids. Some days they get along and some days they really don’t.”
“I began taking photographs for Saving Grace back in October of 2012, it was sort of a boot-camp journey into photography for me as the dogs challenged my skills and helped me learn how to control light, shutter speed and aperture, all this and so much more by just by taking their photos and helping them get placed in a forever home. I remember my first visit when I walked through their double gate wall into dog heaven literally speaking! Black dogs, white dogs, small, tall, fluffy, puffy and all else but most of all, there was a balance, a respect and easygoing demeanor for one another not only within the dogs themselves which was amazing, but with all of the volunteers as well. It is truly amazing seeing Saving Grace in action. Their care goes so much beyond medical, shelter, food and water. It hones into each dog's need for trust and balance. These rescues come in with all types of traumas and I see this first hand when I handle each dog individually to take their photograph. They come in scared, sick and mistreated but within days and sometimes weeks, these same dogs look completely different! They walk taller, they strut and basically look happier and calmer. The love I see in these dogs is a strong reminder of what Saving Grace means to me on a personal level. That there are wonderful people out there that care and devote themselves to this great task. That there is hope and it is absolutely inspiring and motivational. And most of all, that ALL life is worthy of love and happiness. Today, I come to Saving Grace and volunteer my time not for the boot-camp experience of photography, but because it fills my heart." http://www.erdasphotography.com
We are so grateful for Dr. Vanderklok and the time she volunteers to help with the medical care of the Saving Grace animals! She comes on a regular basis to help with heartworm treatments and there is always a list of questions and patients needing a little extra TLC. The Saving Grace dogs feel much better after treated by Dr. Vanderklok, and they love her kind touch and kisses! Thank you, Dr. Vanderklok, for donating your time and talent to help provide veterinary care to our animals waiting for a home.
“We adopted a precious little dog from Saving Grace about one year ago. When I walked in, I knew it was a very special place. A place I wanted to visit frequently! Six months later, I decided to volunteer my time once a week, and it was a great decision! Personally, I think loving the dogs is the best part of my job. They need us people so much and come to us starved for human attention. We have adopted two dogs from Saving Grace. Since working with the dogs, I have learned they want our love and attention more than anything else. Dogs enjoy running and playing, especially when we are outside with them, but if we are inside cleaning, they sit at the door waiting for our love. So, while dogs certainly need exercise, what they crave above all is to be loved by a human. Saving Grace is a wonderful place for the dogs to live until they find their forever home. I am so blessed to be a small part of their lives and to be loved unconditionally by so many!”
“I was inspired to volunteer at Saving Grace after we had a summer filled with dog drama last year and I needed to mend a broken heart! Instead of rescuing every dog (which I knew I could not feasibly do) I decided to volunteer. I heard about Saving Grace from my neighbors who had rescued two dogs from here, and they couldn't say enough good things about SG and Molly! So I contacted Molly and have been volunteering for about one year. I just love spending time with the dogs, whether that is during feeding and rotating, medicating or scooping, or filling waters. I love walking through the gates and having 10 to 20 dogs greet me with wagging tails and kisses! I have two pugs that I have rescued from other organizations. My family is currently fostering two pug-mix puppies from Saving Grace and we are having a blast with them! I have learned SO much from my time here! The first thing is that working with all different breeds of dogs has shattered every stereotype I have ever had about certain breeds. It's all about their personality! I also have learned lots about dog behavior and how to approach and handle scared and stressed dogs! I have also met some amazing and crazy dog-people like myself!”
“I just love volunteering at Saving Grace. I've been working out there since October 2011. Last fall, I realized I had a lot of time on my hands and wanted to do something more. I love dogs and had heard of Saving Grace so I just decided to try it out. I know I get a lot more than I give. I love coming home dirty, sweaty and tired. It's a good feeling. I adopted my 9 mo. old dog, Molly, from SG in February. I also have an 11-year-old Jack Russell mix. I love all aspects of volunteering, but the best part is simply hugging a dog. I've also enjoyed meeting a lot of great people. I'm always amazed at how the Saving Grace program can change a dog's life. It's fun to see how they "come around" and all the little behavior changes that occur after they have been in the program.”
Roger truly loves helping all of the animals and can be counted on to consistently work his two shifts each week as well as fill in when there are extra tasks to do. A last minute opportunity to pick up donated supplies or dog food and we know we can count on Roger to step up with his SUV. Roger can also be found helping set up or clean up for one of the many events that support Saving Grace. We consider ourselves very lucky to have Roger around.
“After volunteering at the animal shelter in the city that we had previously lived in, I knew that I wanted to stay involved in animal rescue after my family moved to Raleigh. Luckily, I came across Saving Grace in a web search, liked what I saw, and put in my volunteer application. After my first volunteer shift, I was hooked. It was after one of my shifts that first month that my family decided to start fostering dogs that needed that extra bit of love and attention. One of the fantastic Saving Grace volunteers suggested we take a lovely dog named Heidi home as our first foster. After one week, we knew that Heidi was a perfect match for our family and our beloved dog, Annie. We adopted her and she became ‘Sadie’. I love that Saving Grace has a variety of opportunities in which to help and I feel very lucky to work with such incredibly dedicated (and fun!) volunteers. Plus I have learned so much about dog behavior from Molly, Karen, Meghan and the many knowledgeable shift leaders that I have worked with. Happily, my husband, Paul, and my sons, Ethan and Riley, have made volunteering at Saving Grace a family affair. They are incredibly supportive about the time I spend volunteering, they help with the foster dogs I bring home, and are always willing to pitch in at the ‘Funny Farm’ when they have the chance.”
Is Fairy Dust Really Laundry Detergent?
If you were a dog, wouldn't you want a clean, dry, soft bed to snuggle up in at night? Saving Grace provides the comfort of bedding for each dog in our program. The down side is that we have an awful lot of laundry, and some of it is quite, well, stinky. The only possible way Saving Grace can provide each dog clean bedding is through the help of The Laundry Fairy, also known as Susan Klakoff.
We are not sure exactly how she does it, but the piles of used bedding disappear and then (ta-da!) reappear clean and fresh-smelling. Thanks to the Laundry Fairy, the Saving Grace dogs can stretch out and rest their little chins on their beds, and dream about who may be coming to adopt them. What a wonderful gift. Thank you, Susan!
It sometimes takes the patience of Job to work with rescued dogs, and Karen has that in abundance. She takes on the difficult cases, acting as foster mom to dogs with greater emotional needs. And even more difficult, she helps raise money by collecting donations from her clients. She also takes the dogs for hikes and helps care for them - giving the Chief Executive Angel a much-needed break.
Karen operates a superb pet sitting service, so if you are in need of a home away from home for your pet look no futher than Happy Dog Fun! Check out www.happydogfun.com.
"A few years ago I began volunteering at a 'small' rescue called Saving Grace. Little did I know this small organization that existed only nine miles away from my home could now hold such a BIG place in my heart. As a certified dog trainer I thought I knew most of what you could know about dogs. What I quickly learned is another part of their world. The dogs at Saving Grace have of course given me countless opportunities to advance my skills and confidence as a trainer, but it is what they have taught me beyond this that matters most: unconditional love, trust and affection, compassion, forever friendships, and the importance of second chances. Most of all, Saving Grace has shown me that there is still hope and I am now part of it. Thank you, Molly and Saving Grace, for being just that to so many - especially me!"
“I first volunteered at Saving Grace with a coworker for our company sponsored volunteer day. I really enjoyed the day and was amazed by the beautiful farm that the dogs have to roam around. I let another year go by and again chose Saving Grace as the place I wanted to spend my volunteer day. I had thought about Saving Grace many times over that year, and knew that I needed find out how I could get involved. My shift is now something I look forward to every week (many weeks it's my light at the end of a tunnel). It is so rewarding to see the dogs blossom from one week to the next and know that I have helped to make that happen. There are so many reasons that I love volunteering at Saving Grace, but the best part for me is seeing the list of dogs that are adopted each week. They all deserve a home to call their own, so it makes me so happy when I see they have found their special family. Earlier this year my family fostered a mom and litter of puppies for the first time. It was a great experience and we fell in love with all of their different personalities. My kids fell in love with one puppy in particular and we have now adopted our sweet little Cadbury. She is fitting in great with our other two dogs and is a wonderful addition to our family.”
“We moved to Raleigh and been here just a few months when we decided to get involved in dog rescue again. We previously volunteered at several shelters and found the work so rewarding. Saving Grace stood out to us because when we visited the website we saw the lovely open spaces for dogs to roam. When we had a chance to visit at an open house, we fell in love with the emphasis on de-stressing and nurturing the dogs (some of which have had some very tough lives) in a home-like environment. We have only volunteered at SG since December 2011, but we feel as if we have found our home away from home. We like to perform all of the various jobs because each one affords its own way of providing benefits for and interacting with the dogs. Even walking around poop scooping is fun because you have the dogs coming up for an ear scratch! We fostered two litters of puppies and yes, we have two beautiful dogs we got through SG in addition to the two rescues we had already. What I've learned from working at SG is that given the right care, love and attention, even the shyest dog can work the most amazing turnaround. SG is a fantastic place for dogs, but it is also a great place for the human soul.”
Our very own computer guy! After getting very frustrated by our old Web site, Mario decided to sign his life away (read: volunteer his time) to create and manage the new and improved Saving Grace Web site. Everything you see here was created by him in an effort to provide you with a satisfying Web experience that (hopefully) will help make the adoption process easier. He also comes around to make sure our office machines are in good working order, and the only payment he will receive from us is a nice hot meal.
“I was inspired to volunteer at Saving Grace by my love of dogs and by the desire to help Molly, who generously opened up her home to rescue all of these dogs that are in such need of a safe haven. Since I have been working at Saving Grace, my favorite job is not a job to me at all, but I love trying to let each dog know that they matter and that someone cares for them. We adopted Bonnie, she is the sweetest and cutest addition to our family and we love her already! I have learned that although it is physical work at Saving Grace, the feeling of gratification you receive from helping is well worth the time and effort.”
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