By Jennifer Shapiro-Sacks, Special Correspondent
Name: Catherine Louis
Residence: Royal Palm Beach
Family: Husband, Robert Louis; daughters, Juliette and Caroline Louis
Career: Owner of Bibi’s Doggie Boutique in Palm Beach
Organization: Destiny for Dogs is a nonprofit dedicated to assisting seniors in keeping their dogs in their homes. It provides food, supplies and veterinary care, short-term foster care in the event of medical and emergency situations, and help with the rescue and placement of dogs in need.
How long have you been volunteering there?
Two years but have been rescuing animals all my life.
Why do you volunteer?
To help find homes for dogs that have been abandoned through no fault of their own.
Why did you choose this organization?
They are ethical and really care for the animals. I have a carte blanche to do what I think is best, and JoAnn Goodrich (founder) is always there to help and support.
Describe your volunteer role.
I generally will foster a dog. Sometimes I even go and pick him up from the people who are surrendering him and then will bring him to work with me so that I can evaluate behavior, issues, doing a little training, and re-balance him with direction, comfort, food and discipline. They respond very well to this. Then we find him the perfect home with JoAnn’s networking. I also bring the dog to my doggy boutique, and that way the dog gets lots of exposure. The dogs are in a more natural environment, and I can tell the potential adopter lots about the dog’s likes and dislikes.
What are your goals when you volunteer?
To help the animal — that is my only goal. I can intervene directly and have the satisfaction of knowing that a good dog is in a good home.
What challenges have you faced?
Sometimes people don’t see the dog. They see the age. That is sad because I have adopted 10-year-old dogs that lived a full life with me and gave me much happiness for seven more years.
What does your organization need?
Always funds and foster homes.
Is there a moment that stands out that made you think, “This is why I volunteer?”
Every time I get a dog a home that I know is right. Even when I give up hope and guess that the dog will be mine forever, destiny steps in and the perfect home comes along. I have learned to trust the universe.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Many of the [rescue] groups are overwhelmed with lots of dogs that need homes, and many of the people work a full-time job, so [please be patient]. Also, Animal Care and Control is lambasted for being kill shelters, but the sheer amount of volume of owner surrenders is disheartening. Animal Care and Control does its very best by calling rescue groups every morning to try and save as many pets as possible. People need to understand that if they won’t care for their animal, who wants to? Be responsible pet owners and enjoy your pets. They are wonderful.
For more information, visit www.Destinyfordogs.com or call 561-313-2005.
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