April — Julia & Jeremiah H.
Julia and her dad, Jeremiah, are one of our wonderful Pet Partner teams. Every Saturday, they dedicate a portion of their weekends to helping the animals at the Cleveland APL and because of that, we are happy to honor them as our Volunteers of the Month.
According to her dad, Julia is and always has been a very empathetic individual when it comes to animals. Something she learned by watching and learning from her mother (Renee), who works as a physical therapist. By age 9, she began asking about volunteer opportunities at local shelters. And after careful consideration, their family turned to the Cleveland APL’s Pet Partner Program.
Over the next several months, Julia checked the website every day until there was a post announcing the necessary training seminar to get started. And, once they were trained, she counted down the days until her 10th birthday (Jeremiah wouldn’t allow her to begin volunteering until she met all of the posted requirements, including the age restriction). In the meantime, she watched a lot of Jackson Galaxy and read as many books as she could about animal behavior. The week following Julia’s 10th birthday, Jeremiah and Julia were at the Cleveland APL, volunteering in their Cat Adoption Room.
“Spending time at the shelter every week is an extremely rewarding experience for both of us,” Jeremiah says. “I get to spend a few hours of quality time with my daughter, and she gets to do what she loves most (take care of the animals). More importantly (to me), I get to see her develop in a variety of ways. Since she started, her social skills have improved as she interacts with staff, fellow volunteers, and customers on a regular basis. Her patience has also improved, and she has developed a stronger work ethic that has transferred to the classroom and the playing field. As I am sure you can guess, she wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up.
“If I were to pick a single experience at the APL that I think was her favorite—I would have to say that it was the time that she was enlisted to clean up a litter of very dirty kittens that had just come in. They were in pretty rough shape and all needed a thorough bath. She loved every minute of it. Part of that experience was also getting to name them, which she put a lot of thought into as she got to know each one throughout the process. I heard all about it for the next several days, and she told everyone that she came into contact with about the experience.”
Thank you so much, Julia and Jeremiah, for helping our animals!