WHS Volunteer Superhero
Every single volunteer who helps us is a hero! Sometimes, when one of our fabulous volunteers goes above and beyond in his or her efforts to help WHS animals, they become SUPERHEROES! Each month, we select one of these incredible people to highlight. Their efforts make such a difference in the lives of the animals and the communities we serve. This month's Volunteer Superhero is no exception!
Congratulations to Patti Vollmer for being named Wisconsin Humane Society’s Volunteer Superhero!
Volunteer Position(s): Wildlife Animal Care Volunteer, Advanced Wildlife rescuer, Wildlife Cottontail foster parent, WHS Docent, Adoption Teammate, Vet services volunteer, Special Events volunteer.
Please tell us about your companion animals:
My husband, Russ, and I have 2 birds. Coco is a 15.5 year old female white-faced cinnamon pearl Cockatiel, whom we’ve had since she was about 3 months old. Coco loves having her head scratched. The second bird is Kiwi, an 18.5 yr old Blue-front Amazon. We adopted Kiwi from WHS 8 ½ years ago.
Kiwi is quite verbose and among his wide vocabulary is “Russ.” He’s yet to say my name.
What are some of your hobbies?
Volunteering at WHS, of course! I also enjoy bird watching and gardening when I have time.
Why did you decide to volunteer at WHS? I’ve always loved wildlife, particularly birds. When I was young, I would try to care for the baby birds who fell out of nests. I started in Wildlife as an orphaned bird care volunteer in the summer of 2000 and transitioned to the treatment center that fall. I felt it was so important to help animals, so many of whom were injured due to man’s carelessness or lack of concern.
What is your favorite aspect of volunteer work? One of the greatest feelings is being able to release an animal whom I rescued. Most recently, I released Frank, a Great Horned Owl I rescued from kite string entanglement high in a tree. Kudos to the Franklin firefighters who assisted me in the rescue!
I’ve learned so much from the Wildlife Department staff; I greatly appreciate their taking time to explain things and allowing me to assist them with the hawks and owls. It’s also very satisfying to assist in the adoption process for the domestic animals. There’s nothing better than seeing a tail waving goodbye or hearing the meow of a cat as if she’s saying, “Come on, let’s go home!”
What is your most memorable volunteer experience? This was a hard question - there are many that come to mind. Several years ago I rescued about 8 ducklings from a sewer on I-43 northbound near Silver Spring Drive. There I was in 90+ degree weather, lying on the emergency lane next to the fast lane, assisted by a state sheriff deputy, with cars whizzing past us. It took me about an hour to catch the ducklings as they ran back and forth from hole to hole on both sides of the concrete wall. I never “peeped” so hard and long in my life!
A second memorable experience was a raccoon rescued at a hospital under construction. The workers were about the test the power of a huge multi-paneled electrical box when the raccoon was discovered. It took almost an hour to catch the raccoon, as he was able to move freely along the back wall of the box, while I struggled to fit the ketch-pole in between tight fitting equipment. I finally caught the raccoon in an area of the panel that had just enough room to pull the raccoon out. Whew!
Please tell us about your family, job, etc: I live in Greendale with Russ, my husband of 34 years. I’ve been a secretary in the Hematology/Oncology Clinic at Children’s Hospital for the past 34 years, while Russ is self-employed. We like country and rock/roll music. Russ has developed an appreciation for wildlife, even assisting a Mallard across a busy road with her ducklings. We both enjoy watching wildlife in our yard, particularly the antics of the squirrels and rabbits when they spook each other.
What/who inspires you? I inherited my love for animals from my grandfather; he had such a way with birds (pigeons climbed all over him when he had seed). He could also gain the confidence of shy, apprehensive dogs. He inspired to help care for God’s creations in any manner possible. I look forward to doing that for many years in the future.
Now Accepting Applications for New Heroes!
Patti is a shining example of the difference WHS volunteers make in the lives of animals and people. She's a real-life hero. You can be one, too! All you have to do is fill out a Volunteer Application and you'll be helping save lives in no time!