Rachel Downey is a Crossroads Volunteer. She walks dogs, transports dogs from MACC, assists with assessing dogs for the adoption program and fosters. Rachel, a photographer and artist, owns While You Are Away Pet Services, providing dog walking and pet sitting for the residents of Germantown and the surrounding areas.
CP: When you first went to MACC as a Crossroads Pets volunteer, what were you expecting to find at MACC?
RACHEL: Now that I have been there [MACC] and met so many of the employees, I am ashamed to say that I wasn’t expecting what I saw! I was expecting horrible conditions, dogs in need of health care, and employees that were indifferent to the animals they were in charge of. For so many years I was afraid to go to MACC, because I felt I wouldn’t be able to handle seeing the animals because of the things that the general public says about MACC, but as I know now, the public is sadly misinformed.
CP: The first time you went to MACC to assess adoptable dogs what were you expecting?
RACHEL: I wasn’t sure what to expect! I had read the ASPCA guidelines for the SAFER assessment, and had a general idea of the technical reason we were there. I had no idea how it would feel to help assess a dog and know that somehow, someway, we were going to be responsible for giving these fur babies a new life!
CP: What was your experience at MACC actually like?
RACHEL: If I had to pick one word to describe it, JOYFUL! At the same time, saddened by our society today. I did not realize how many people treat their dogs and cats like throw away objects. And I must admit, that first day, it was very hard for me not to bring one or two of them home with me! I saw employees who cared and loved all the animals. I witnessed first hand that they have a very tough job to do with very little thanks. Even through the tough tasks the MACC employees go through every day, I witnessed for myself, they love all the animals that come to them, especially the ones that have been there for long periods of time.
CP: What do you find the most interesting about volunteering at Crossroads?
RACHEL: Crossroads mission is what is the most interesting to me. What a concept!! Bringing dogs into the lives of young people, some of whom have never even touched a dog, let alone know how to train them. The job training that is offered to those same young people, is a service that is invaluable in todays market.
As I said earlier, it has been a joy for me to go with you [Delores] and assess the dogs, that in itself is a reward! But, the biggest reward is being a part of our community, meeting all the new people, and making the difference in the life of a dog that may have been abused or harmed by the neglect of their owners.
CP: What surprised you about volunteering at Crossroads?
RACHEL: I don’t really know that I’ve been surprised so much as astonished! I see progress everyday, whether it’s new products, new dogs, or new people! Now that I have a chance to see the new space come along as it is being built, I don’t want to miss watching something that I had teeny tiny part in! I suppose I am a little surprised by the amount I talk about Crossroads! I can’t brag about it enough!
CP: What keeps you coming back?
RACHEL: Besides the fact that it is so much fun to harass you [Delores] and Barb, I keep coming back, because I believe in what Crossroads is accomplishing. I come back to learn from the women that run Crossroads, and I come back to get to know the dogs that we pull from MACC. I honestly cannot think of a better way to be involved in the community!
CP: Do you have a memorable event that you’d like to share?
RACHEL: It’s funny looking back to when Susan Siegel invited me to attend the soft opening of Crossroads. I walked into the reception, not sure what I was about to step into; all of the unfamiliar faces, words like non-profit, and cooperative efforts between a city run animal control facility and a non-profit organization were foreign to me. I felt that night that I, just one person, couldn’t make much of a difference in the big picture that was presented to me. I was wrong, one person, one dog, one cat at a time makes a huge difference! I am excited about the future of Crossroads, and I can’t wait to be a part of it!
CP: Thank you, Rachel, for all your time and energy!
Crossroads is a volunteer driven organization. We welcome people to join our team, whether it’s part of the animal care team, like Rachel, or working with the youth in Caring Connections, our humane education program, there’s room for more! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can join the team!