Laurie Gillis was watching the news on a Saturday morning three years ago when she first learned about the Can Do Woofaroo fundraising walk. Looking for a way to socialize her new rescue dog, Barkley, she decided to attend. She remembers, “It was five minutes from my house, it was a really nice Saturday, and I thought, ‘Perfect! I am going!’”
And her first Can Do Woofaroo turned into many more. After the event, Laurie decided to check out Can Do Canines further. “I had been looking around for places to volunteer … I love dogs, I love people, and I find working with people to be really fulfilling. When I found out what Can Do Canines mission was, I was like ‘Perfect. I am sold on what these people do,’” she explains. So she applied to become a volunteer and has since helped plan and execute the Can Do Canines events so many of us love and enjoy.
Early on in her volunteer journey she joined the Fetching Ball planning committee, and later joined the Can Do Woofaroo committee. “It’s been really fun getting to know people on the committees and to do something way outside of what I’m expected to do at work or at home,” she says. Melissa Herman, the Can Do Canines event coordinator, says, “Laurie is like a chameleon and she will take on any challenge. She does everything from recruiting donations to stage managing during the event. She is such a critical member of our event committees,”
In addition to planning our two biggest events, Laurie also helps set-up, greet, register guests, and tear-down at our smaller events like graduation.
When asked what has surprised her about volunteering here, Laurie answers, “How much more you get than you feel you give. Every time I show up it’s just the best day—whether it’s showing up to clean, or set up for an event, or doing registration.”
In regards to why she keeps coming back, Laurie says her dogs at home give her everything, she wants to simply “give someone the opportunity to have a dog that changes their life even more than that, it’s so cool. That’s why I do it.”
Thank you, Laurie for all you do to bring assistance dogs to people who need them. We are glad that you are part of our team!