Volunteer Spotlight: Jaclyn Gartner

Jaclyn Gartner began volunteering at Danbury Animal Welfare Society nearly five years ago, shortly after adopting a rescue dog of her very own. Her pup, Tyler, was in a NYC shelter for the first three years of his life, adopted and returned multiple times, and is what inspired Jaclyn to help other animals, just like him. She has been heavily involved with DAWS since she joined the organization back in 2017.

Jaclyn is our Social Media Coordinator and E-Newsletter Designer – she’s essentially the one who runs the online presence of DAWS. Prior to the pandemic, she worked as a cat socializer, the dog/cat photographer, and was also on the events committee. Furthermore, she has implemented and helped facilitate numerous community events and was the lead organizer for the 2018 fall festival. “I absolutely love volunteering at DAWS. It has given my life new meaning and so much purpose. Being able to be the voice of so many animals in need has been the biggest blessing,” shares Jaclyn.

The volunteers are truly the backbone to our organization and we couldn’t operate without their support and commitment to every animal that comes through our door. “We live in such a digital world, especially in animal rescue and Jaclyn adapts to our needs at any given time. She plays such a significant role at DAWS and we are truly grateful that she shares her passion and talent with us,” says Alice Meenan, Director of Marketing & Development.

Oftentimes, people are unsure if they can volunteer in shelters because it’s “too sad.”Turns out, Jaclyn was one of those volunteers who had that exact thought…“When I came to DAWS for the first time, my immediate thought was that I couldn’t do it. I am way too emotional and seeing all the animals in their kennels completely broke my heart. However, then I had a revelation and realized that I had the power to make a significant impact on these cats and dogs and while yes, there would be moments I’d feel sad, I knew a better life would soon be coming for them. Knowing you’ve played a role in that is extremely rewarding. These animals make every moment worth it. Joining DAWS completely changed my life and I always encourage others to take the leap, just like I did.”

Previously a Long Island native, Jaclyn now resides in Bethel with her rescue dogs, Tyler and Mama (a foster fail), along with her cat, Zoey. When she isn’t volunteering at DAWS, Jaclyn runs her very own nonprofit, foster-based organization, Happily Furever After Rescue, which she founded in March of 2020. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, baking, photography, singing, all things Disney, and spending time with her fur babies.