Helping Man & Beast -- NAVIFOR Sailors Give Back to Local Animal Shelter
13 December 2022
CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- CHESAPEAKE, Va.
Sailors from Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) were greeted by staff and wagging tails at the Chesapeake, Va. Animal Service (CAS) facility Dec. 8, but it wasn’t all fun and games. These volunteers met at the facility early that morning to donate some much-needed assistance to the local animal shelter. This labor of love consisted of respotting cages and enclosures, cleaning out and organizing spaces, offloading an unexpected large donation, and putting together small animal enclosures. In this season of giving and good, will coupled with fiscal shortfalls, these helping hands were needed as much as they were appreciated.
Taking time from their regular duties, the NAVIFOR Sailors joined efforts on their off-duty time to make some animals’ living and playing spaces a bit nicer and better-organized for both man and beast. Using their time to give back to the community in this fashion is in keeping with good stewardship of the community in which they serve.
“We have our base volunteers who concentrate on their preferred rooms like the dog kennels or the cat enclosures to socialize the animals, which helps them get adopted and stay
adopted. But when we get a volunteer group willing to help with these larger projects, that enables the staff here to better focus on our jobs at hand,” said Krista Loveless, CAS Outreach Coordinator, whose role includes coordinating volunteer groups, monitoring the foster program, as well as maintaining CAS’ social media presence.
The son of one of the Sailors and a regular CAS volunteer, Bobby Gallardo, is a dog person. “I usually hang out with the dogs. They’re a lot of fun to play with,” said Gallardo. “I volunteer here on most weekends.” At one point, Gallardo’s job was to keep company of best friends Coco and Paris, two Terrier / Pit Bull mix dogs, when they were respotted from the dog feature room while some of the volunteers broke out the electric drill to remove unwanted shelving to be repurposed elsewhere in the shelter.
“We needed some cages and glass habitats moved around and new enclosures to be assembled to make room for of about 18 guinea pigs we recently took in. Currently they’re being housed in temporary cages in the back. Now, with the enclosures moved and the new cages we just assembled, they’ll be upfront and showcased for adoption,” Loveless explained. “But then earlier this week we got a very generous donation – about 17 pallets-worth of animal food and other pet supplies! We really needed assistance to off-load and organize that donation.”
In fact, Loveless explained, the donation was so large, what CAS could not immediately use or properly store was redistributed to other local animal shelters and as well as local food pantries.
While Master Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Kasey Gallardo and Master Chief Information Technology Rhonda Randolph were busy offloading the donated supplies, Chief Intelligence Specialist Joshua Waldrop, Chief Aerographer’s Mate Angela Koob and Cryptologic Technician Collection Agent Chief Matthew Earle, coordinated efforts to move some small animal enclosures to a more user-friendly area, removing unwanted shelfing for future use elsewhere in the facility.
This was the second time Waldrop participated in a volunteer visit to CAS. “I’ve done this before, and it was a lot of work then, too,” said Waldrop, speaking of his previous visit. “But I can see what we’re doing really makes a difference and the staff here appreciates it. It’s a good feeling.”
So what does one do at an animal shelter when the work is done? Play time! The volunteers dispersed to different parts of the shelter to spend quality time with the many animals. With the variety of animals ranging from cats, to dogs, to rabbits, and guinea pigs … CAS even has a rescued duck! … There were plenty of boopable noses and at least one bill for the volunteers to engage with.
Randolph and Koob made their way back to the cat enclosure area, but Earle spent his time outdoors playing tug-of-war with Coco. “This is my second time volunteering here and I really enjoy it. It’s a lot of work, but it also gives me an opportunity to check out some of the adoptable dogs,” said Earle. “They have so many great dogs here!”
Gallardo, the event’s organizer, was pleased with the end result. “I come here with my son on the weekends, so I have an idea of what is needed. And we got quite a lot accomplished today,” said Gallardo. “The mulch for the walking trails in the back hasn’t been delivered yet. I’m pretty certain there will be another opportunity soon to come back to fill in the trails and probably some gardening.”
NAVIFOR’s mission is to generate, directly and through our leadership of the IW Enterprise, agile and technically superior manned, trained, equipped, and certified combat-ready IW forces to ensure our Navy will decisively DETER, COMPETE, and WIN.
For more information on NAVIFOR, visit the command Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces/
or the public web page at https://www.navifor.usff.navy.mil