Volunteering is an opportunity to do what you love and support a worthy cause in the process. For TBM CEO Bill Remy, that’s working with dogs. A true animal lover, in May of this year Bill started working in the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter, located in Phoenix, Arizona. He hopes to spend 10 hours a month to help meet the organization’s and the animals’ various needs. As one of the nation’s largest open-admission shelters, Maricopa County Animal Care and Control cannot turn away any stray, neglected, or surrendered pet. As a result, the organization’s two shelters (one in Phoenix, the other in Mesa) take in nearly 30,000 animals each year. Teams of dedicated employees and volunteers work hard to find loving homes for each and everyone, boasting an impressive 95% save rate in 2018! 

Finding suitable homes for that many animals means you have to get a little creative, something Bill appreciates and understands from his own work at TBM. While the shelter facilitates area adoptions and works to return animals to their own homes, it also transfers pets to other partner shelters that don’t have enough animals to fill the adoption demand in their areas. Because those shelters are located in places like Salt Lake City and Spokane, this requires more than a quick drive up the street. It takes a plane. Bill has had the privilege of being part of one of the shelter’s airlift days, a process he says starts in the wee hours of the morning due to the heat in the area. “We gather up the dogs, do what we can to make their kennels as comfortable as possible and ease their anxiety, then load them up on the county van and take them to the airport where they’re airlifted out. It’s really pretty cool.”

When he’s not boarding dogs on to planes, Bill and the other trained volunteers help with taking the dogs out for walks, handing out toys and treats, and even fostering them for the day. Some days, however, it’s just about doing the dirty laundry. While it’s not the most sought-after task, it’s important to the animals’ health. And Bill says he’s impressed with the shelter’s operational efficiency. “They follow a 5S process to some degree,” he jokes. “There are certain barrels for towels, certain barrels for bedding, certain barrels for blankets and toys. Everything gets washed and sanitized so it can be reused.”

No matter what the task, Bill says it’s rewarding work for anyone who enjoys or cares about the well-being of animals. “The shelter is very thoughtful in how they run their operations and they do an amazing job in caring for the animals, many of which haven’t had the easiest of lives.”