Rakhi Pancholi

How long have you been volunteering with hart?
6 months (since November 2011).

What is your volunteer role within hart?
A little bit of everything! I've helped out at adoption days, fundraisers, event planning, rescues, transports, Spay/Neuter Clinics, and grant writing.

What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I'm a lawyer for the government in my "non-hart" life and I also volunteer with other legal advocacy organizations. I love pilates/yoga, hanging with my pooches, shopping (it's true, it's an actual hobby for me!), expanding my Indian cooking knowledge, and spending time with friends and family.

If you were a rescue dog, what kind would you be?
I'd like to think that I would be as strong and sweet as the Alberta reserve dogs I've met! Particularly, the momma dogs: they're so brave!

Why do you volunteer with hart? 
Like every hart volunteer, I love dogs! I'm so grateful to the wonderful people who were responsible for rescuing my two beautiful dogs and this is my way of giving back. My favourite part of volunteering for hart is that you can see the difference you're making: each rescue or adoption means another happy and safe dog! In turn, each dog is also making a difference in my life. I've met so many fantastic, dedicated, and compassionate people. In such a short time, I feel like I've made so many new friends: a new crew to go with to the off-leash park!

What experience in hart made you realize you were making a difference?
The Spay/Neuter Clinic in Hobbema was life-changing. Seeing all of the vets and volunteers devote time and energy out of a universal love of animals was so moving! My favourite moment was when I was trying to coax a huge St. Bernard X out of his crate for his pre-op exam. I sat in front of the crate gently stroking his paw and trying to convince him that he was safe. After a few minutes, he slowly exited the crate, walked straight up to me and buried his head in my chest so I could give him a big hug. It felt like he was saying, "OK. I trust you." Those are the moments that make everything worth it.

What advice would you give someone who is considering volunteering? 
Do it, do it, do it! I put off volunteering with an animal rescue group for a long time because I was afraid that I would see really sad things that would be too upsetting. While there certainly are some difficult situations in animal rescue, I have been completely overwhelmed by how the positive experiences outweigh the difficult ones. The sad reality is that there are dogs living in difficult situations, but if you volunteer, you can actually make a difference and save their lives. If you don't, you can't. Easy choice, right?