Do you love to travel? Do you dream of packing up and moving around the country to explore new cities and regions? If so, you’ll definitely want to read about The Arizona Pet Project’s very first feature volunteer!
It takes a big leap of courage to leave a home, job, friends, and the creature comforts of home and head out on a one-year adventure. But that is just what Laila did, along with her husband and their two kitties. Luckily for us, discovering all the Southwest has to offer was their first stop and Phoenix was selected as their home base.
In addition to exploring new regions, volunteering for local organizations along the way was equally as important. And as a former volunteer manager with a Bay area animal shelter, Laila knew she wanted to donate her time and skills to local animal welfare organizations. After being introduced to The Arizona Pet Project, she knew it was a match made in heaven, since home in the Bay Area, she saw first-hand the importance of shelter prevention programs – like spay & neuter!
Over the past several months, Laila has donated dozens of hours assisting with everything from email marketing, social media, spay & neuter clinics, and photography. Executive Director Leanna Taylor explains, “Volunteers are the special people that make the non-profit world go-round. This is especially true in a small (but mighty) organization, like The Arizona Pet Project with a staff of 4. When someone like Laila comes along, with flexibility in her schedule, a truly impressive work history, and skill sets that typically come at a high-cost, you jump for joy and wonder what in the world you did to deserve someone like her.”
We love Laila and are thrilled the experience has been equally enjoyable for her. She explains, “My past experiences have been with larger organizations, so it has been rewarding to feel like part of the team. I get to see the impact of volunteering.”
When asked what she wished others knew about The Arizona Pet Project, Laila explained, “I wish more people knew about you period! I wish people knew about the unique service you provide to the community. You are reaching a wide variety of demographics and doing so in a very efficient way. I wish people knew about shelter intervention as well, that is an unsung hero. It’s sensitive and you can’t always talk about it as loud as you want to, there is something to be said about taking a positive approach to keeping these pets and people together.”
In her free time, Laila joined a local choir Sounds of the Southwest Singers and has been busy exploring all the beautiful sights our state has to offer, which she shares through her travel blog! It was so fun to hear her recount her adventures and see Arizona through her eyes to which she reflected, “There is so much we didn’t know about a state right next door to us. Maybe that’s it. Getting out of your box to experience something different is what we all need to truly appreciate life and recognize our shared experiences.” We couldn’t agree more, and for us, identifying the widely shared feeling that pets are family has provided the invaluable opportunity to save even more pet lives and support members of our own community.
Although we are so sad we cannot keep Laila here in Phoenix forever, we are immensely grateful for her time and contributions to helping pets in our community (and the people who love them) – we will forever count her as a friend and member of The Arizona Pet Project team!