Laura Saydak

How long have you been volunteering with hart?
I have been with hart since early 2012 and am so grateful at the bonds I've developed in this short time. I'm so proud to be part of such an amazing organization, and the growth I've witnessed and been a part of is incredible. It is very exciting to be part of hart and take part in it's growth and expansion.

What is your volunteer role within hart?
When I first started out with hart, I'd say that I was a jack of all trades. I have done everything from pet expo, to transporting and handling dogs at adoption events, to taking part in the hart dog washes, as well as planning and leading events. Since hart's major growth, I have come to focus more on the adoptions aspect and am now a member of the Adoptions Screening Team. I have also taken part in hands on rescues in our target communities, which have been the most eye-opening, heart-wrenching, but also inspiring experiences of my life. I look forward to each new opportunity and I am hoping to take part in one of the spay and neuter clinics that hart is involved in.

What do you do when you are not volunteering?
When I am not volunteering, I like to be active - I play soccer, softball, ball hockey, and I also curl. This past season I was lucky enough to win the Dominion Championships and move onto provincials. I also enjoy playing with my three dogs, Stitch, Stone, and Vader, as well as camping, and spending time with my wonderful boyfriend, friends, and family. I am so passionate about animals that I have taken on a second job ontop of my full time position. I now proudly work at a training/boarding/daycare facility for dogs and am working towards becoming a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.

If you were a rescue dog, what kind would you be?
I would be a hardy little dog that isn't afraid to protect herself or her pack mates. Initially I would lack trust, but once it had been earned, I would be loyal to the end, much like our hart dogs.

Why do you volunteer with hart?
I volunteer with hart because I want to help be the voice for those who can't speak - the unwanted, abused, and abandoned dogs. I have two rescue dogs of my own and the thought of someone ever hurting them or abandoning them makes me sick. Not only am I an animal lover, but I have really found a deep-seated passion for doing what I can to improve the lives of as many dogs as possible. Hart gives me the opportunity to do this, while also forming strong bonds with other volunteers. For this I am so grateful.

What experience in hart made you realize you were making a difference?
The one experience that stands out the most in my mind is the first rescue that I ever took part in (the gemstone group). I don't think I was fully prepared for what I was going to witness and have to deal with. One special dog in particular - Ruby, who had a terrible wound on the back of her head (human-inflicted) has showed me how much of a difference I can make. She was so terrified when we found her, but calmed down and even accepted food from me after a short time. It was with Ruby that I was able to go through the entire process of rescuing, screening potential adopters, and helping her foster home choose the furever home that she is now in. To see updates about her and how well she is doing shows me just how far she has come with our help. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing role.

What advice would you give someone who is considering volunteering?
Volunteering to help those without a voice seems like an easy choice to me and I would recommend it to everyone. Not only do you have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of many dogs, but you also have the chance to build lifelong relationships with other volunteers, and spend a lot of time with furry friends with wet noses.