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Updated: Jan 8, 2021

A volunteer who lends a hand for multiple roles at ALIVE Rescue, is Brad. When not managing our website, taking photos, attending events and just being awesome, he still brings it back to where it all starts for most volunteers - The animals! Brad is a "Barn Leader" (BL) working with both the volunteers who help, and the animals who stay at our adoption center. Find out more about how Brad found ALIVE and why the "BL" role is so rewarding.....

"I started volunteering with ALIVE Rescue in the summer of 2013 after discovering that they had moved into the building formerly occupied by a different rescue I had been a volunteer and employee at. I had been out of the rescue community for a couple of years at that point, but missed having animals in my life, so decided to check ALIVE out.

I loved ALIVE's mission and their dedication to harder-to-adopt dogs, like bully breeds and medical cases, so getting involved with them was a no-brainer. After a few years as a regular ‘Barn’ volunteer, I was approached about becoming a Barn Leader - the volunteer in charge of running each shift at ALIVE's facility. At that point, I didn't fully know all of the little things that went into running a successful shift, but I was honored to be considered and was excited for the opportunity to become more involved in such a significant role.

Being a Barn Leader can definitely be stressful at times and has its fair share of challenges, but the rewarding moments far outweigh the difficult moments. For any new animals who aren't able to go directly into a foster home, the BL’s are usually some of the first people they meet and spend time with after arriving in ALIVE's care. Because of this, we play a key role in easing them through a very confusing and stressful period of their lives. Getting to watch them start to come out of their shells and blossom is unbelievably fulfilling.

One such moment that I will always remember was my first BL shift after ALIVE rescued Odin, a Pit Bull who had lived his entire life chained up outside in a junkyard, and had lost one of his eyes due to fighting with another dog on the property. Because of his past, we were taking things slow with Odin and were limiting him to only being handled by Barn Leaders. This meant he wasn't getting to go on any walks during shifts, since the BL’s had to remain in the shelter during shift times. So, at the end of a shift when all of my volunteers had left, I decided to stay late and take Odin out for a walk myself. I wasn't sure how he would feel about walking on a leash, so I went slow and let him set the pace. It was a snowy Saturday in early December, and I was so impressed with how well Odin did considering it very likely was the first time in his life he had been walked on a leash. The entire time he slowly walked along right at my side carefully studying everything and taking it all in. The two of us enjoyed a quiet, peaceful walk through the gently falling snow. About a month and a half later, Odin moved into an amazing foster home who ended up adopting him, and fortunately I still get to enjoy periodic updates through his Instagram account (@winkforodin), and I will forever cherish our first walk together.


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