Deck the Paws: Volunteers needed to bring tail-wagging cheers

  • Published
  • By Michelle Gigante

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Pet Welfare adoption center seeks compassionate volunteers to care for pets in need this holiday season.  

Since many of the volunteers dedicate their time year-round at the shelter, the holidays are when they take the much-needed time away to be with friends and family. This leaves the remaining team members in the area to do twice the work they normally do. 

“We are asking for any volunteers to help us out this holiday season and hope they will stick around after,” said Michael Raat, Pet Welfare adoption publicity director. “We always appreciate the help; it is incredibly beneficial.”

The non-profit, no-kill adoption center helps rehome pets for military members when it is unfeasible for them to continue ownership of their family pet, due to permanent change of station or other circumstances.  

“Our goal is to ease the hardship and transition for military families who need to surrender their pets at the welfare center,” said Raat. “While it’s rare, sometimes things do work out and military members come back and reunite with their pet.”

Pet Welfare has a no paid staff and receives no monetary support from the government. All financial support comes directly from donations, grants, adoption fees, fundraisers, and Combined Federal Campaign contributions.  

“The people who know we are here are really good to us,” said Judy Novak, 20 year volunteer with Pet Welfare. “When I first started volunteering here, we didn’t even have windows in the building. In the winter we placed blankets over the openings to make it a bit warmer for the animals.” 

The donations help provide a safe and healthy environment for the animals until they are adopted into their forever home. Donations include, food, toys, cleaning supplies, bedding, leashes, and cages. Besides the donations, the human interaction through volunteer work provides the animals with much needed love and care. 

“I think when you see the pets and their personalities, you just fall in love with them and you want them all,” said Laura Lizcano, Pet Welfare’s new chairman. “All of us who volunteer here have the same love for pets. I feel it’s very rewarding and many of us enjoy fostering too.” 

Volunteers assist in various roles, ranging from office tasks such as handling phone calls and managing the facility. They also engage in hands-on duties, such as washing laundry and assisting with shifts for the cats and dogs, which involve cleaning, medicating, and socializing with the pets. 

Anyone interested in dedicating their spare time to help with the furry four-legged pals may stop in at the Pet Welfare adoption center to fill out a volunteer application. 

To adopt, visit the website at to view upcoming adoption events and available pets.