Monday, April 19, 2010

Angels in action: BR volunteers

It's National Volunteer Appreciation week. If you're someone who gives your time to make the world a better place - we salute you. Throughout this week we want to introduce you to some of the folks who work behind the scenes to help us help the dogs in need. These people have been super loyal to the pit bulls, and work tirelessly to keep the mission of securing the future for this breed in front and center. They're truly warriors of the heart and we would be lost without them.
I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives. ~Tracy Chapman

Napa County native Deassa Binstock has been with BR from way back, starting when she became a foster failure for little Fiona (shown, with her CGC certificate). She also owns BR alum Albert, a newly knighted therapy dog. This busy lady is a natural dog handler and has been instrumental in helping the pit bulls of Napa Humane become more adoptable. She travels long-distance on many a Saturday to bring shelter dogs to Pit Ed, and she also assists Linda Chwistek with training classes. She recently took a Napa pit into her home as a BR dog (Pyper!) and is writing her adventures in this Blog.

Deassa works as a vet tech and keeps us grounded with her sage advice and technical support. When little Maude was sicker than sick, she and the staff at Silverado Veterinary Hospital went out of their way to comfort both her and her devastated foster mom. It's hard to imagine what we, or Napa County, would do without Deassa around to advocate for the dogs.

SF native Kim Ramirez is called the 'Bully Momma' of the group for good reason. She's a nurturer by nature, and is the one we turn to when we have a shy or troubled dog that needs her special brand of TLC. Kim took former Vick dog Frodo on as a foster, but from the start, it was clear that they were meant to be family. She's also one of the key people who provide compassion holds. It takes a special gift to be able to provide love and comfort to needy dogs before letting go.

Kim is also the architect behind our Shots Fairs. She knows how to nose out a good location and whip up a first class education event with her eyes closed. While she might be sweet on the dogs, she's no push over when it comes to defending them from prejudice or mistreatment. You gotta see her working a Shots Fair sometime to see her passion in action. It's inspiring.

Holly Schneider will be embarrassed when she sees herself in this blog, but that's her style. She's one of those people who jumps in to help wherever help is needed, but then acts like she doesn't do enough. Well hell's bells ...This lady has saved our butts more times than we can count - most recently, with the barn project. As a gifted contractor with amazing networking skills, Holly stepped in and solved many of our deadline headaches, saving Tim from a nervous breakdown. We owe her a lifetime of margaritas.

Her and husband Magnus are owned by BR alum Daddy-O, a mastiff mix named Sophie and are now fostering two BR dogs. Oh wait .. didn't they just pick up a stray from the freeway? Just another day in Holly's busy life.


J.M said...

Kudos to all the volunteers.

Boy Frodo looks good.
How`s he doing?
He`s my favorite of all of them.
If it had been at all possible Kim would have had a challenger for Frodo.It`s funny how a dog can grab your heart over the Internet but Frodo grabbed mine for some reason.

Donna said...

You have a good eye, J.M.

Frodo is truly special. We've never met a dog work so hard to be 'normal' like he does. And he acts so proud of himself when he finally moves into a new comfort zone. Kim brought that out in him, 'course.

J.M said...

'normal' is highly overrated and boring in my humble opinion.Follow the rules of the road Frodo but continue to wander off the 'normal' path once in a while.That`s what makes you very unique and it`ll keep you forever young.I`m glad you found your special person.

Dianne said...

It's so nice to see the faces behind the good work. What do you mean by "foster failure"? If you mean she adopted her foster, I would hardly consider that a failure but an extreme success for both parties. We secretly love this kind of failure.

Faranak Ravon said...

you are all amazing!
'angels' on 'earth'.
thank you from bottom of my heart (& rosie's too!)

Dog Foster Mom said...

Thanks for sharing these stories - it's great to read about all of the people that make BAD RAP such a success - and thanks to you, Donna and Tim, for all you do!!!!

Pam said...

The Berkeley shelter has experienced Holly and Magnus's generosity first-hand. Not only do their hearts run big, and talents run wide, but their awesome people-skills help make any dog-situation we find ourselves in, a whole lot easier to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Love these people, but I have to agree with j.m. because my heart belongs to Frodo!

Bryan O'Toole said...

Holy Crap...Holly Schneider. I haven't seen her for over 25 years. She looks just like she did in 1985. We went to high school together just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. Pass along a hello from fellow CV Colt Bryan O'Toole.