Congratulations to Amanda Dytor, the GRRA April Volunteer of the Month! Amanda, her husband, Gary, and their golden, Tillie, relocated from the United Kingdom to Atlanta in 2014. Amanda left a 20-year career in childcare that she was very passionate about. She knew she needed to follow another passion, golden retrievers, once she arrived here. She reached out to GRRA and spoke with Ken Winfield about the hikes, and they joined the hiking group just one month after arriving in Atlanta. Amanda, Gary, Tillie and their second golden, Maisie Mae, love to participate in the hikes. Amanda said they enjoy being involved with “such an awesome group that has the same goal: to help, nurture and offer a great life for all of our rescue dogs.”
Amanda recently found herself with additional time to start volunteering with GRRA after her time commitment to her husband’s business decreased. Her first job was as an Adoption Consultant (AC). Amanda says she enjoys being an AC because she gets to know her applicants, assists them during the adoption process, and she especially loves getting the updates on how the dogs are doing in their forever homes. After taking on the AC role, Amanda jumped in with both feet to help with retriever taxi, intakes, and visiting dogs at the Pet Lodge. In addition to that, Amanda and Gary have recently become the foster parents of Charlie. That is quite the volunteer resume!
Some of you may be familiar with the story of the three goldens GRRA rescued from a hoarder situation. Amanda explains her involvement, “I helped pick Charlie, Casey and Taylor up from the vets. Their condition was so sad. They were all curled up in a corner, would not walk and were completely unresponsive and closed down. We took them to the Pet Lodge. I, along with other GRRA volunteers, visited these pups every day, trying to get them to trust people and to socialize them. We helped them to understand that human touch should not be a negative experience. For several days, we had to carry them in and out of their kennels to the garden, as they would not walk. However, a few days later they actually stood up and walked out of their kennels and into the garden for the first time These three pups were the most scared and are the sweetest, most gentle pups I have ever had the pleasure to meet! We have Charlie at home with us where he enjoys the simple things in life like carpet, his own bed, fresh water and love. He has adapted well to our two girls and is slowing coming out of his shell. When we find him the perfect home his new parents are going to be so lucky because he is going to be the most wonderful golden boy. He is starting to realize that he likes hugs and lots of strokes and kisses. He really is a big, soft ‘Charlie Bear.’ Casey and Taylor are also in loving foster homes. They are all making progress, albeit slowly, but we know they will get there.”
Amanda said seeing the transformation of these three dogs has been one of her most rewarding experiences with GRRA thus far. Since fostering Charlie, she has already had many special moments with him, which she cherishes. Amanda shared, “The difference we can make in these dogs is immeasurable. Every time we take dogs to the vet or take them out for a walk or into the garden, they smile and are happy to see us. I truly believe they feel safe with us. We are able to provide that happy, safe feeling for them. I also love to see them go to their forever homes and settle in with their new families. They get to experience what a dog’s life should be- golden and awesome!”
If you are a regular reader of the monthly Volunteer of the Month articles in the newsletter, you may have noticed that the dedicated volunteers given this award often express surprise as well as point out that there are many other deserving GRRA volunteers. It speaks volumes about the wonderful group of volunteers GRRA has that so many different people could be the Volunteer of the Month. Amanda shared similar sentiments saying, “I am very overwhelmed and honored because GRRA is made up of so many wonderful people all doing what we can for the dogs.”
Thank you, Amanda, for the important work you’re doing for GRRA and our pups, especially with Charlie! We are very fortunate to have you on the volunteer team!