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Cal State Fullerton voice Jesus Hernandez : Volunteering with rescue dogs as adoptees for new homes

By Jesus Hernandez
With my time at Cal State Fullerton coming to an end, I decided to look for something outside of my major that I should get involved with. While working with the Student Life & Leadership Office, I found myself interacting with students from different organizations and programs, and eventually gained a bit of experience in working with each of them.
Jesus Hernandez — Photo courtesy Cal State Fullerton
When Heidi Elmer, the coordinator for our Community Service & Leadership Programs, reached out to me about becoming a project director for the Priceless Pets project, a completely new community service project dedicated to working with rescues at a local shelter, I felt like it was the perfect fit for me, so I jumped at the opportunity.
I imagined volunteering at the Priceless Pet Rescue animal shelter to be something simple, with the most difficult thing on our agenda being handling the big dogs. What I found each time I went to volunteer at the shelter was something completely different. Each dog I handled had a story, which was always different from the rest.
There were groups of dogs that have come in from across the country — some rescued from Houston after the hurricane, others rescued from Kansas, and a few others brought in from a few miles away in Riverside County. There were dogs that were brought in with illnesses, missing legs, or just abandoned because they couldn’t be taken care of anymore. As a volunteer, I have been able to spend time with a few of these dogs and interact with them as if they were my own pets at home, and this helps these rescues open up to people when they come in to adopt the dogs.
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a Corgi/Spaniel mix named Lance who had come in from a shelter in Riverside County. This dog was set to be euthanized, but was rescued by Priceless Pets. As soon as I saw this dog, I knew he was something special. On our walk together, he would stop and look back at me and suddenly start running while I tried to catch up. When a family came in looking for a dog to add to their home, I knew Lance would be a perfect fit. We spent some time together talking about what they were looking for while they got to meet Lance. They immediately fell in love with Lance and his snowy white fur and bright golden eyes. After almost an hour with him, they decided they needed some time before they could commit, and Lance headed back into his kennel.
It really hits you when you see a dog that was abandoned finally get attention and love, only to be told that right now wasn’t the right time. It almost makes me want to adopt all the dogs myself! It also makes me appreciate my own dog even more.
As a pet owner myself, it makes me happy to see the same people come back to the shelter because it shows how invested they are with taking proper care of their pets. It impresses me how much care and attention goes into working with the animals at Priceless Pets. The volunteers are all dedicated to helping give these animals a better future.
After four months of volunteering with the shelter, I felt really humbled to be part of something so much greater than myself. Each project within our program, whether it be Priceless Pets or Tuffy’s Buddies or Future Titans, has such great people behind it. When we come together to talk about our projects, it really becomes clear to me the impact that we are making as a community. I’m not just working to provide care to animals in need, I’m working to improve a future pet’s life so that these dogs can then improve the lives of everyone else they meet.
As my time with Priceless Pets comes to a close, I can say that I’ve gotten so much more out of this program than I first thought I would. Not only did I get to spend time with some of the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen, I also got to meet the people at Priceless Pet Rescue who make all of this possible. We truly are the change we wish to see.
Jesus Hernandez is a senior majoring in cinema and television arts at Cal State Fullerton. He plans to graduate in May and pursue a career in documentary filmmaking.
Source: Oc Register

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