Dena Cologgi

How long have you been volunteering with hart?
I started in December 2012, so about 6 months now!

What is your volunteer role within hart?
I have recently taken on the role of volunteer coordinator, but I also help out with other things like events, adoption days, and transporting dogs.

What do you do when you are not volunteering?
Professionally I work as a microbiologist in a research lab at U of A. When I'm not working or volunteering I spend my time doing yoga, reading, taking walks, and spending time with both my 2 and 4-legged friends and family.

If you were a rescue dog, what kind would you be?
I would be just like my rescue dog! Quiet, reserved, and cautious, especially at first, but also very loving and unexpectedly strong, independent, and stubborn!

Why do you volunteer with hart?
I recently moved to Edmonton and had a couple of months free before I started my new job, so I decided to find something I was passionate about to volunteer for in the meantime. Not being from the area, I was completely unaware of the severe overpopulation problem in Alberta, and what I learned from volunteering with hart was quite a shock. I knew I had to help in some way. The first weekend I volunteered an emergency situation arose in our target community, and hart scrambled to rescue and find foster homes for a large number of dogs with virtually no prior notice. I was amazed by what hart accomplished that weekend, as well as the passion and commitment of the volunteers who dropped everything to go out in the bitter cold to round up as many dogs as they could. After witnessing this, how could I not continue to volunteer for such an important cause and organization?

What experience in hart made you realize you were making a difference?
I have only been with hart a short time, but I have already witnessed so many amazing moments. I was involved in bringing in the MASH crew and the Golden Girls (my first spay/neuter clinic and rescue experience), who initially came in (all things considered) as reasonably healthy and very adorable puppies. Watching them come down with parvo and losing Hawkeye was heartbreaking, but it was a reminder that without us none of them would have had a chance. Knowing that now the rest of them will be able to grow up healthy in safe, loving homes because of hart's dedication leaves no doubt that anything I do with hart will be making a difference.

What advice would you give someone who is considering volunteering?
Find your volunteering niche. Everyone has different strengths, so play to yours. You don't necessarily have to be a foster home, or even attend events to help out! If you are passionate about hart's mission and want to get involved, do it!  Chances are there is a role that will be perfect for you!