Volunteer of the Week: Kathy Burczak, of St. Joseph
Kathy Burczak, of St. Joseph, is a volunteer with the Berrien County Animal Control. She has volunteered with the organization for about five years. Burczak works as a landscape architect and has a 3-year-old rescue dog named Bongo.
What do you do for Berrien County Animal Control?
Every Saturday morning, I volunteer and walk the dogs. I try to get every dog that is there out for a walk and take them out along a trail loop. I try to walk them each for at least 10 minutes and some of the more active dogs I will jog with and try to also work a bit on their leash manners.
Certainly, the goal is to have every dog there adopted. The better their manners are on a leash, the better chance they have of being adopted. The dogs are so excited to get outside and it is an opportunity for them to work off some energy and a chance to interact with them and pet them. It’s an opportunity for them to interact with a person from more than just looking at them through the kennel.
What motivated you to work for the Berrien County Animal Shelter?
I have loved animals my entire life. Over the years, my family has adopted strays and we also rescued and adopted dogs from various agencies. I became involved with the Save A Stray organization and then also became involved with the animal control. That kind of led into starting to go to the facility [regularly].
I also volunteer at the Humane Society. When the dogs hear my voice or the voices of other volunteers, they get so excited and they bark and wag their tails. It’s just what I look forward to every week is going there.
What do you enjoy about your volunteer work?
Just having the opportunity to interact with the dogs. They are amazing. Every one of them, I wish they could talk and tell me their story. They are all different in many different ways. Every one that I have ever walked with, you really start to love them all and they unconditionally love you. They are all just so happy that you are there. They benefit me way more than I benefit them. It is a really good therapy so to speak. You may have a stressful work week, but you look forward to that time with them.
Why would you encourage people to volunteer with the Berrien County Animal Control?
The animal control is a great organization that is county run. They have some limitations to their manpower, so any help they can get is welcomed. The people working there are incredibly friendly and all of them are very compassionate and caring toward the animals. They do their best to find them all homes. It is a worthwhile group to be involved with.
I want to add that they are also open on Saturday, which provides more volunteer opportunities for people with busy schedules.