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Nov 18, 2021

Volunteer Spotlight: Robbi Mettler-Stern

Meet Robbi Mettler-Stern! Robbi has been volunteering at the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County for 12 years! She is the shelter’s volunteer dog personality evaluator.

Q. What is your role at the shelter? 

A. I evaluate the dogs that come into the shelter to get a better understanding of their personality so that the prospective adopters can have a bit more information before making that decision to adopt.  

Q. What does a day in your life at the shelter look like?

A. I set up one of our visitation rooms with some essential things to help the dog feel comfortable – I put down a blanket on the floor, get out a few toys, cover the windows, and get some treats.

Then, it’s time to go meet the dogs. I determine which dogs I’ll evaluate for that given day. Each dog is brought in and evaluated with the help of a checklist of items to look for.

When determining a dog’s personality, evaluators observe the dog’s behavior in the room and their interactions with people, toys, and their overall environment.

Q. What made you want to volunteer at the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County? 

A. When I retired, I knew that I would need to have something to do with my “spare” time.  I had been making annual monetary donations to the shelter for years, so I thought that donating time was the next step.

Q. Why are you so passionate about the work we do? 

A. Every pet deserves a home, and I’m excited that we get to help facilitate that process.

Q. Any special stories that you’d like to share?

A. Over the years, several animals have touched my heart.  Some more than others.  But, there are two that I ended up adopting myself.  

The first was a little cocker Spaniel mix.  One day, I helped a nice young lady and her two little boys look for a new pet.  I had already met all of the adoptable dogs that day and showed them this pooch.  She was laying down at the gate of her kennel with her nose sticking out underneath.  When the boys walked up to her and started talking to her, her stumpy tail started wagging and she stood up to greet them. The next day, I was surprised to see that she was still up for adoption and the family had not taken her home.  So I packed up my other dog and off we went to the shelter for a meet and greet. The two got along very well. That ended up being the beginning of our lives with Lulu.

The other adoption happened last year in October. We were doing our evaluations and this little chihuahua/Australian shepherd was one of the pups we did that day. Well, when we got into the visitation room and sat down, this fellow jumped up in my lap and just leaned into my chest.  When Sherman and Lulu met for the first time, they were sniffing the ground and peeing on each others’ pee spots.  That was a positive sign.  After bringing him home, these two would play together and even cuddle up together sometimes. And so Sherman became a part of our family.

Lulu (on the left) and Sherman (on the right).

Interested in a career with the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County? Check out job opportunities here. Want to volunteer or foster? Learn more here!

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