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Tiffani Oliver, left, and Lindsay Martin are volunteers that supervise fellow volunteers at Pinellas County Animal Services in Largo.
Pinellas County Animal Services is fortunate to have about 150 volunteers who give of their time and energy to help out at the shelter.
And it is even more fortunate to have volunteers who supervise the volunteers.
Tiffani Oliver and Lindsay Martin spend much of their time at the shelter. Department Volunteer Coordinator Kelli Becraft said that the staff has come to depend on the two St. Petersburg volunteers because they commit to a schedule and are willing to run various events.
Tiffani Oliver works for an insurance company in Largo. She said she was looking for a way to get out of the office for awhile when she thought of Animal Services, located nearby. With a passion for animals and two dogs of her own, she started visiting the center on her lunch break. Soon she was walking the dogs.
That was one and a half years ago. In addition to her lunch hours she now spends weekends at the shelter as well. Oliver said her husband is very supportive of her volunteering and even goes to the shelter every now and then himself.
Oliver admitted that it is somewhat difficult to see an animal leave.
“But you know that they’re better off in a home environment, and you know what you’re doing is making that happen,” she said.
Another weekend worker who also is at the shelter four days during the week, Lindsay Martin performs a variety of tasks, including socializing with all the animals, walking the dogs and assisting the veterinary staff.
While the 19 year old doesn’t have any pets of her own, there is one animal that she has grown attached to, a dog that has been at the shelter for several months. It’s the first dog she walks when she arrives at the shelter and the last dog she walks before she goes home. These attachments can be difficult to break, but she still hopes he will soon find a new home.
“I love the animals,” she said. “They are so sweet.”
Becraft is proud of Oliver and Martin and all the volunteers. “About the only prerequisite a person must have to volunteer is be 16 or older and have a love for animals,” she said.
Oliver and Martin both encourage others to consider volunteering at Animal Services. Positions can include dog walker/socializer, greeter, clerical assistant, phone operator and more. If you think you would like to assist at Animal Services you can call the Animal Services volunteer coordinator at 582-2648.