For many people, that wouldn’t be the way to relax each day after work or school.
But the 15-year-old freshman at Tracy High feels right at home as a volunteer at Animal Rescue of Tracy each day after school.
“I really like animals, and it’s really fun sitting in the cage with them,” said the Tracy resident. “You get to learn all about them, and it’s fun being able to tell people all about the animals when they come to look at them.”
Rebecca, who said she grew up having a passion for animals, began volunteering at the rescue shelter about three months ago. Since that first day, she has found it hard to walk away.
“The animals all know me,” she said smiling. “They are all my friends and really have a great time being together. I just couldn’t leave them.”
According to Nicole Goodfriend-Coffill, community relations volunteer for the rescue, Rebecca has become a “standout volunteer” whom she labeled as “an ambassador for the animal rescue.”
“She doesn’t have to be here, but she wants to be here. So there is a different amount of initiative with public interaction,” she said. “Whereas a couple of volunteers might just do what they’re asked to do, Rebecca actually takes the initiative to greet the public when they walk in and immediately introduce the puppies to any interested passers-by.”
One of Rebecca’s major responsibilities, Goodfriend-Coffill said, is preparing the animals to interact with other people. It’s a task that Rebecca believes to be the most important. According to Goodfriend-Coffill, the rescue has about 30 dogs and 20 cats at any given time.
“I like to get to know the animals so that I can find the right person to take them home,” Rebecca said. “It’s exciting when people find the pet they want to take home.”
Goodfriend-Coffill said that the teenager’s maturity and ability to become familiar with the animals is “one of her strongest qualities.”
“Rebecca has a great ability of calming the animals, which is huge, because we need the animals to be shown in their best light so that people will be interested in them,” she said. “Each week, she might be responsible for a different dog. She kind of sticks by that dog’s side, so she can bond with them, so that she can show them to the public in their best light.”
Rebecca is also a “positive role model” for other junior volunteers at the rescue, Goodfriend-Coffill said.
“The younger kids really look up to Rebecca,” she said. “She does a great job showing them how to handle the animals, interact with the public, and overall, she just sets a good example for everyone.”
For Rebecca’s part, she hopes to continue her work at the rescue shelter, while expanding her efforts to improve animal welfare by raising money and awareness in Tracy to support the local animal population.
“I think that every animal deserves the right home,” she said.
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Animal Rescue of Tracy should go online to www.animalrescuetracy.org or call 642-4324.