Volunteer Blog Post – Why I Volunteer

We at the SPCA of Northern Nevada ADORE our volunteers who help us save the lives of homeless pets in our community. We received this amazing account from volunteer John Sandler, who often volunteers at events with us. Please enjoy his endearing stories of his pets, including Reggie the rescue dog, who has inspired him to volunteer…

(If you would like to blog for the SPCA, please send submissions to Angela@SPCAnevada.org.)


In 1997, my wife and I adopted Bea, a calico kitten.

In 2004, we bought Irma, a pedigreed Lowchen.

About six years ago, we were both retired and ready to add another dog to our family.  By then, both of us had become aware of the homeless pet problem, and I’d been volunteering for a rescue organization for two years.  Another pure-bred was therefore out of the question.

This time, instead of contacting breeders, we haunted the shelter for about a week, and picked out some prospects for “meet & greets.” One of them was an eight pound Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix.

At our meetings, we followed Cesar Milan’s advice to pay no attention to the dogs to see if any wanted to engage.  All, except one, were anxious, and ignored us.  (This was not surprising, as all had been confined in a noisy, unfamiliar environment.)

The lone exception was the Chihuahua mix.  Despite having been picked up as a stray, then housed at the pound before being brought to the same noisy, unfamiliar environment as the others, he ran to us.  His tail was vibrating so fast it seemed a blur.  He jumped on the bench where we sat, planted himself between us, and then alternately covered us with kisses, and stared at us earnestly.

His earnestness contrasted comically with the raffish look his head scar and drooping right ear gave him.  We were besotted; “Reggie,” the name we gave him, had sealed the deal.

The little chap disrupted our family’s staid dynamic with high energy and audacious affability.

To the humans, he dispensed endless kisses, and invitations to play and cuddle.

He overcame Irma’s natural reserve, and they became friends who staged delightful romps through the back yard and the house, and hung out and slept together.

Reggie also aspired to become Bea’s chum with laughable results.  His serial licking of her ears evinced only cringing.  She was equally unreceptive to his invitations to play—sometimes just hunkering down, and sometimes hissing, swatting him and trotting off indignantly.

There were also moments of peaceful domesticity, as this photo shows.

We had Bea euthanized two years ago, at nineteen, when she went off her food and developed untreatable kidney problems.

Irma, who’d had two knee surgeries, and a late-stage heart murmur, followed two weeks later.  She was eleven.

The only impact we could see that the two deaths had on Reggie, was that he became less forgiving of our absences.

Although we loved him from the start, as the only remaining pet of an elderly, retired couple, his value to us has increased exponentially.

He’s always up for a cuddle, a belly rub, or a game of “toss the toy” or tug-of-war.  He gets me out for a daily walk.  His transparent, and clever strategies for getting what he wants evoke chuckles constantly.  He shares our bed.

Finally, my love for him inspires me to volunteer for animal rescue organizations, to help other Reggies find homes.



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