SAN DIEGO — When you make a sizable donation and volunteer hundreds of hours, they name a building after you or in this case a dog kitchen. In this Zevely Zone, I stretched my legs at the San Diego Humane Society. Almost four years ago, Sheila Steele volunteered to walk her first dog and unleashed a passion for giving. "Are you my good boy?" said Sheila as she walked a shelter dog named Ace.
Sometimes the San Diego Humane Society singles out a superstar volunteer. "Okay thanks for saying that, I mean I love the animals, I love the dogs, if I could be here every day this is what I'd be doing," said Sheila. She is a Clairemont resident with a full-time job who just happens to be addicted to walking dogs. "A dog is always happy to see you. I am very popular in the morning when I show up," said Sheila who is approaching 500 hours of volunteer work. If you're wondering how many dogs she's walked, so were we. "I have just crossed a thousand dogs, ha, ha, ha, yeah, it's a lot of dogs," said Sheila.
A few years ago, she started attending the Fur Ball Gala. Sheila is not just giving her time but her money. After recently receiving an inheritance and a big raise at work, Sheila donated $10,000 for animal care then another $25,000 for the Humane Society's new adoption building. For five years, there will be a dog kitchen named in her honor. "Yes, the Sheila Steele Dog Kitchen," said Sheila.
Nina Thompson from the San Diego Humane Society says Sheila is a shelter's best friend. Sheila is wonderful," said Nina. "How wonderful is it to have a supporter who genuinely loves what she does. She loves walking dogs; she loves the organization." Sheila's personal dog is named Meister. The little dog is growing old and one day when he passes, Sheila plans to walk all the way home with a big shelter dog. "I am a Shepard and husky girl now," said Sheila. She can't adopt them all, but she can walk the walk and talk the volunteer talk. "Anybody who wants to hear about it I will talk about it I will bring you here, I will figure out how to get you on a tour, I will try to get you to come to the Fur Ball, I will try to sign you up to walk dogs," said Sheila. "I think I can get people excited about it. This is my happy place. It's the ultimate feel good, the ultimate feel good."
She is so enthusiastic about her work with San Diego Humane Society that she has even talked her data analytics employer into matching an annual $750 donation to the nonprofit. She is currently looking at hosting a lunch with some of her retired friends at San Diego Humane Society to give them a tour and possibly gain donors and volunteers. Sheila is an exemplary volunteer, whose passion to help dogs waiting for a loving home shine through with her actions.
The dog Sheila was walking during our interview, Ace, and many other pets are available for adoption. For more information on adopting a pet or volunteering click here.