Animal Adoption Volunteer Helps Community


Image by Shannon Steidel

Delainey Bittner volunteers with Austin Pets Alive on weekends to help animals get adopted.

Regular student by week, animal superhero by weekend. Senior Delainey Bittner is no stranger when it comes to helping animals; for the past two years she has been putting countless hours of hard work and dedication into finding loving homes for furry friends.

“I started volunteering in the spring of 2011,” Bittner said. “I had actually adopted my dog from [Austin Pets Alive] recently and saw the volunteer section of their website. I’d always wanted to get involved in the community so I figured why not? It could be fun and it’ll look nice on college applications.”

After discovering Austin Pets Alive, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating animals, Delainey quickly found herself spending her weekends helping out the cause. Working with animals may be fun, but it’s not always a walk in the park.

“I go out to local Petsmarts when APA is there as much as I can. I help set up the site for adoptions, make sure all the dogs have toys, food and water, walk the dogs and make sure their pens are clean. I answer questions people may have about the dogs or the organization. I even show up to site in a cape to get peoples attention and to put a smile on kids faces.”

And her favorite part of volunteering? “Seeing one of the dogs that has been in the program for a while get adopted. It’s so great knowing that we gave that dog an opportunity to have a long happy life even if it took a long time to get it there.”

At the end of the day, working with animals is a fun and rewarding experience that makes it all worth it.

“My fondest memory was when I found out that Austin Pets Alive won the ASPCA challenge in the summer/fall of 2011,” Bittner said. “I was so excited because I volunteered every single weekend to try and get as many dogs adopted as possible. It just felt so amazing because all of my long miserable hot days and seemingly endless sunburns and bug bites paid off. It was fantastic knowing that I contributed sending 1,673 animals to their forever homes in just three months.”

She’s not the only one helping out; Austin Pets Alive is run almost exclusively by its volunteers. Behind every rescue, adoption, and event is a kind-hearted volunteer.

“It is so easy to get involved in an organization,” Bittner said. “Volunteering not only helps the community but it can also help the volunteer. I have definitely benefitted from it. It has really brought me out of my shell. Austin Pets Alive has helped me be more confident.”