Friday, November 8, 2013

Why I Volunteer: Emilee

This post has been contributed by one of our long-time volunteers, Emilee Gassien. She was the first TAGS volunteer to reach the 10-year milestone mark and is the unofficial Mrs. Clause for TAGS. In this piece, she tells us how she became involved with TAGS and how her roles have changed over the years. 

I met Kathy Asling, the founder of TAGS, at PetSmart about 13 years ago. At the time, I had a little Schnauzer named Gracie. I had just retired and was looking for something to do to make myself feel useful again, and TAGS seemed like a great place to do just that. I gave Kathy my phone number and told her to contact me when she had a chance.

A few weeks later she called, but the timing was no longer good for me. Unfortunately, I had just lost my beautiful Gracie. She was hit by a car and I was devastated. I told Kathy I would call her again when I was feeling better. A few months later, I was ready, and my journey with TAGS began.

Over the years, I have helped TAGS in a variety of different areas. I have volunteered at many a PetSmart shift, I've assisted with home visits, and I do a lot of fundraising for the organization. I set up booths at our events to sell baked goods and products, and I am often at the booth again when we have our TAGS display showcased at places around the community, such as the Oshawa Centre. Every year I host a yard sale for TAGS in Port Perry, which has become quite the "yard sale town" over the past few years.

Emilee at the TAGS booth during the Furry Friends 5K last June.
While volunteering with TAGS I have also fostered several dogs; my first foster dog was a giant Schnauzer, and I instantly found fostering to be very rewarding. It is so nice to see a dog you have cared for go to their forever home.

The last rescue I fostered was Eddie, formerly known as Vedder. Eddie is a Havanesse and since I already have two Havanesse of my own, the foster coordinator at TAGS thought my place would be the best place for him. Well, they were right...and they were also wrong. We fell in love with him, and as his adoption papers were signed, I'm afraid my days as a foster parent ended. That was two years ago.

Over the years, I have seen so many great dogs find forever homes. Really, there are too many to count at this point. It is so rewarding to know that I had a small part in making that happen.

* * * * * 
Emilee has clearly helped TAGS immensely over her years of being a volunteer.
We would never be as successful at fundraising without her dedication and effort.
Click here to find out how you can help, too!

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