Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle Messemer

Michelle Messemer has been involved with DAWS for nearly a decade. She is currently our shelter’s Foster Coordinator and prior to that was the Cat Program Co-Chair. Michelle has been a true asset to our organization, even far beyond the shelter – she has helped facilitate our community tag sale event, was a gala volunteer coordinator for multiple years, assisted with our 5K, was part of the team for our golf tournament fundraiser, and even drives transport on the weekends to pick up our new animals.

“DAWS has taken over my life, but in the best way possible,” Michelle exclaims. “My eyes have been opened about the needs of homeless pets in our country and while many of the stories are sad, the work people are willing to invest to save their lives and find them adoptive homes is incredible. I cannot imagine a time that I will not be involved in this cause going forward.” One of Michelle’s favorite parts about her role is the adoption process. “The joy for the animals and their new families is very special. I also appreciate the camaraderie displayed by all involved (shelter volunteers, fosters, and staff) who work together to organize all the moving parts to make these adoptions possible.”

Over the last nine years, Michelle has helped countless animals. When asked what she enjoys the most, she said, “I think my most precious memories are of the kittens (or any animal actually) who come into the shelter in a fragile state and watching the clinic and foster families care for them until they are healthy, happy, bundles of joy who I then have the great delight to find homes for.” Gina Amenta, Director of Operations, adds that, “Michelle is the ultimate volunteer! She is compassionate, devoted, and always willing to lend a helping hand in whatever capacity is needed.”

Michelle encourages others to also get involved at DAWS, or at their own local shelter. “To anyone thinking about volunteering, I say ‘go for it!’ There are so many needs you may be able to help with. Not everyone wants to work directly with the animals and that is fine there are other ways to volunteer and contribute. The relationships you will build with other volunteers and staff, as well as the animals will last a lifetime.”

Michelle lives in Brewster, NY with her husband, two adult sons, two dogs (one a DAWS foster fail), and two cats (both DAWS foster fails). She works full-time as a Speech/Language Pathologist and fosters kittens any chance she gets!