Departments > Code Compliance > Animal Care & Control > Volunteer

January 2020

Kristen Morrison

Every month, Animal Care & Control features a volunteer who's making a difference for the animals at the shelter.

Meet the January Volunteer of the Month, Kristen Morrison.

How long have you volunteered with the City of Fort Worth Animal Shelter?

I started volunteering at the shelter while I was in college from 2009 to 2013. I took a break to start my teaching career and spent the majority of my free time fostering dogs through Cody’s Friends Rescue. This past summer break I decided to dedicate more of my time at the shelter. I was blown away by all of the positive changes that have been made at the shelter since 2011.

What qualities make a good volunteer?

A good volunteer is willing to work with others, help out staff members and above all do what is best for the animals. It is important to learn animals’ body language and understand their boundaries so we can put them in the best possible situation to be successful.

Why did you decide to start volunteering with the Fort Worth Animal Shelter (FWACC)?

While I was in high school, I volunteered at a rescue in Plano and learned about the overpopulation of animals in shelters. I decided then that it would be my life mission to educate and advocate for the misunderstood and give a voice to the voiceless. I moved to Fort Worth to attend TCU and during the off-season of soccer, I spent time at FWACC networking dogs on code red.

How does volunteering impact your personal growth?

Volunteering at the shelter gives me a purpose. The dogs and cats rely on the staff and volunteers for enrichment, love, networking and finding their forever home. It has opened up my eyes to so many different views that I believe make me a more well-rounded person.

What are the social benefits of volunteering?

I have made life-long friends through the shelter and rescue world. To be surrounded by like-minded people, gives me the strength and perseverance to keep fighting for these animals even through the heartbreaking days.

What is something you have learned from volunteering at the shelter that you wish everyone knew?

The look of a dog and the size of their head does not determine their personality. As a teacher, I try to instill in my students that we should show kindness to everyone no matter our quick judgments. It is important to take time to get to know someone so we can understand them on a deeper level. The same philosophy needs to be applied to these dogs and cats. Don’t judge an animal on their behavior in a kennel. Take them in the play yard, spend more than 5 minutes with them, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

What advice would you give to volunteers who have just started out?

Team up with an experienced volunteer. The shelter is so big with so many dogs, and it is easy to get overwhelmed. I love showing new volunteers around the shelter and helping them find their niche. There are so many different ways to make a difference, and I think it is important to find what makes you the happiest and most fulfilled.

What is your fondest memory from volunteering at the shelter?

This is a difficult question. Every time I am at the shelter, something positive happens. Even if it is as simple as a scared dog finally learning to trust by leaving the back of his kennel, I try to focus on the little victories. My fondest memory though is in 2012 when I picked up a dog to transport to his foster on his last day, and immediately fell in love. He didn’t make it to his foster home and instead became my best friend that still sleeps next to me every night.