Volunteer of the Year
Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Paws & Think. Thanks for all that you do!
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us. We would love to talk with you about the possibilities.
2016 Volunteer of the Year: Wendy Hendricks
The teens weren’t going to have dogs to train.
That was the scenario the volunteers in the Youth-Canine pilot program faced when there was a glitch getting the shelter dogs from Indianapolis Animal Care & Control to the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center.
Fortunately, Wendy Hendricks, along with the other volunteers, quickly improvised a solution to the problem.
They would bring their own dogs.
The teens ended up having dogs to train with, and the day’s session was saved.
It’s just one way that Volunteer of the Year Wendy Hendricks has gone above and beyond during her seven years as a Paws & Think volunteer.
Dogs were always a part of Wendy’s life growing up. However, it was a visit with a friend to a pet therapy session hosted by the Humane Society of Broward County in Florida that introduced her to the possibilities of the work.
“When I saw how the residents lit up and responded to her dog, I thought, ‘Wow – that is really cool!’” said Wendy.
When Wendy adopted Amber, a Pit Bull mix, in 2003, the duo started volunteering through the Humane Society’s pet therapy program, visiting residents at a Boys & Girls Club. After Wendy moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, the two continued to volunteer, this time at a psychiatric clinic as part of The University of Tennessee’s pet therapy program HABIT (Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee).
After moving to Indiana, Wendy wanted to keep volunteering with Amber. Her search for a pet therapy home led her to Paws & Think.
During their time as a therapy team, Wendy and Amber spread joy to the residents of the psychiatric unit at Wishard Hospital (Now Eskenazi) and participated in the pilot program of Youth-Canine.
After Amber crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Wendy brought Maggie, a sweet, 11-year-old Pit Bull mix, into her life.
Wendy and Maggie also volunteered at Wishard, where Maggie’s age caused her to walk a little slower than the other dogs. Fortunately, the staff at Wishard had a solution.
“I will never forget when they got an old Riley children’s wagon for me to pull Maggie around during visits,” said Wendy.
Sweet Maggie volunteered with Wendy for a little over a year before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge as well.
Currently, Wendy’s volunteer partner is Liza, who is also a Pit Bull mix. Liza has had an extraordinary journey, going from shelter dog in the Youth-Canine program to a therapy dog herself working alongside Wendy at Eskenazi Hospital.
For Wendy, volunteering with her dogs through Paws & Think has become an irreplaceable part of her life.
“I cannot imagine my life without being able to do this type of work,” she said. “Nothing says love like a dog and nothing comes close to how happy I feel when I am with Liza visiting with the kids and patients.”
Previous Volunteers of the Year:
Volunteer of the Year: Diane Aurand
Volunteer of the Year: Susan Pratt
Volunteer of the Year: Margaret Drew
Volunteer of the Year: Tom Janes
Volunteer of the Year: Lisa Snyder
Volunteer of the Year: Carol Davenport
Volunteer of the Year: Rhaya Shilts
Volunteer of the Year: Debbie Feltz
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Sara Gibson
Adult Volunteer of the Year: Jodi Van Slyke
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Amanda Clevenger
Adult Volunteer of the Year (inaugural): Jill Boyer
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Leslie Hannah
Youth Volunteer of the Year (inaugural): Keith Diemer