Thursday, November 19, 2015

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good

by Stacey Kuhns 


Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns



Ever since I can remember, I wanted to work with animals. I never had dreams of being famous, a ballerina, or anything kids my age at that time dreamed about. My goal was to be an exotic animal veterinarian for a zoo. I was always around animals. I had a horned lizard, mice, rats, a bullfrog, rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, dogs, cats, and a snake at home.

I began volunteering at a local veterinarian's office at the age of 15. Every day after school, my mom would drive me to the vet's office so I could volunteer.


Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


I also signed up for the 4-H Club and did demonstrations on animal care.

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


I eventually began getting paid as an animal technician at the vet's office. When I graduated high school, I entered Pre-Veterinary Medicine at San Diego State University. (I was accepted to the University of Pennsylvania also, for their veterinary program, but decided to stay close to home).

I took classes Zoology, Primates, and of course all the requisite classes. While in college, I got a fantastic opportunity to volunteer at the San Diego Zoo. I worked in Research and Pathology. I assisted in autopsies of animals that had died at the Zoo and ran electrophoresis studies (DNA) on Prezwalski horses.

I was already into photography then and was asked to go to the Wild Animal Park to photograph a rhino calf that had just been born. They drove me out onto the plains area where he was and I was able to take some photos. It was all very cool. I would walk around the zoo before it opened to the public and study the animals, who are very active at that time.


Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


Unfortunately, math has always been my downfall, even in grade school. I figured if I wanted to be a vet badly enough, it would happen. But between Organic Chemistry and Biological Calculus, I realized I was not going to be able to meet the math requirements to be a veterinarian.

I was devastated, but continued on with college under a different major. I eventually left State and moved back to Los Angeles County to get married. I worked for veterinarians prior to my first child being born. I continued to have cats and dogs at home.

When my son was in fourth grade (about 21 years ago), we purchased an iguana. That turned into iguana rescue and I had six iguanas in our living room at one time. I would take my large, tamer iguanas to schools and institutions, Girl Scout groups, and other places to share about their history and care.

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


I began working in law enforcement around 1991 (don't ask me how I went from animals to law enforcement. It just happened). While working as a probation officer, I volunteered to foster feral kittens through the County of San Diego Animal Services Tweenies Program. I fostered three kittens and wound up being a foster failure because I kept two of the sisters.


Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


While working as an officer, I also took some time to visit a wolf sanctuary in the Palm Springs area. I was not happy with what I found there and made calls and wrote letters which had a positive impact on changes made there.

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns
I retired from the County of San Diego almost three years ago. I wanted to return to working with animals so I searched the internet for places to volunteer in my area. I got involved volunteering with a rescue organization called Animal Rescuers without Borders .  I have been there ever since and volunteer two to three days a week in the Cat Adoption Center at inside the Oceanside Petsmart. We also have a Cat Adoption Center in the Petsmart in Clairemont Mesa. We have many dogs for adoption or fostering also and hold a large number of adoption events at various locations.



Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns

Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


I volunteered to foster an adult cat and kitten (who were bonded) at my house. Once again, a foster failure as I adopted them.


Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns


I have helped a number of animals find their forever home and that wonderful feeling never gets old. I love seeing our animals get a second chance at life and I hope to keep volunteering with animals for a long time. It does the heart good.


Volunteering-It Does the Heart Good by Stacey Kuhns

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