Members of the CCA team for the last eight years, Derek and Kylee Manet are two of our most dedicated volunteers who help in a variety of capacities from dog walking to event support and adoptions. They even moved away for a brief period and returned to South Carolina, in part, because they missed CCA. Their long history with our organization makes them truly invaluable to the Board, other volunteers, and most importantly, the animals.
How did you find out about CCA and why did you want to volunteer here?
We were still relatively new to South Carolina and wanted to find an animal shelter where we could volunteer together. A friend of a friend basically introduced us to CCA. Kylee went out on a Sunday to check it out and complete the new volunteer orientation, and came back very excited about the organization and the shelter environment. We’ve been volunteering at CCA ever since!
As a CCA volunteer, what is your role?
Priority #1 is spending time with the dogs and cats - walking dogs on a weekly basis, showing them attention, and working on some basic training that we’ve learned through various sources. We help with the adoption process, including helping potential adopters have their first meetings with animals, home visits, reference checks, and taking animals to their new homes. Outside of the shelter, we attend and help with adoption events, both large (Bark in the Park) and small (weekends at Petco). We have also fostered a couple of dogs for brief periods, support CCA’s social media presence, and update adoption websites (Kylee).
How do you feel being a CCA volunteer?
Above all else, being a volunteer is rewarding. It gives us purpose in knowing that we’re helping abandoned and otherwise unwanted animals be cared for and hopefully find forever homes.
Derek: It is also sometimes sad, because you see the potential that some of the animals have and how they should already be in a home, but they have quirks that make them harder to adopt out. It’s hard seeing them at the shelter for long stretches, and sometimes even years, but it is also comforting at the same time knowing that they could be out roaming the streets and be in a much worse situation.
What is your favorite CCA moment?
After eight years, it is hard to pinpoint one single moment, but something that we are always shooting for is seeing a veteran animal – one that has been at the shelter for a long time – find a home. For those of you who might be familiar with them, two examples come to mind – Lucky and Dolly. During our earlier years volunteering, a dog named Einstein was adopted as a puppy but returned to the shelter because he was deemed “too aggressive.” When he found his new home with a guy who welcomed him with open arms, it made our day! Before we left the new owner’s house, Einstein was already up on his bed. He just looked like he belonged, and his new owner agreed that was his new spot.
Why would you encourage others to volunteer?
We would encourage others to volunteer mostly because it is rewarding. Volunteering gives us a sense of accomplishment and being needed, which is nice.
Why would you encourage someone to adopt a pet from us?
We don’t think there is any way to legitimately measure it, but we think a shelter dog appreciates it more. We have learned the personalities of each animal at the shelter, so we are diligent about making sure that they will be in the right home when they leave our shelter.
Derek: I would also advocate for adopting from other shelters if there isn’t an animal at CCA that is right for you. I think there is a really good community of rescues and shelters throughout the Upstate that have the same mission of finding animals homes. It’s not a competition, so if an animal gets adopted from Animal Care or Carolina Loving Hounds, etc., we are still happy to see one more dog or cat find the right home!