Volunteer of the month at PrideRock
Our volunteers for April 2015 are Cortney & Russell
Cortney’ Story (As told by Russell)
I have had the privilege of knowing Cortney for 15 years, and in May we will celebrate 13 years as a married couple. She loves to create health and well-being to people and animals alike. She is a registered yoga instructor and massage therapist. During our time together, I have come to see the most incredible compassion toward animals of any person I know. We have 5 cats that have been rescued, and one son for a total of 6 critters running around the house. We have had the pleasure of working at PrideRock now for 7 months.
Cortney was first drawn to Kumal from the website. It was easy to see why, as Cortney now has a soft spot for cross-eyed cats (our last rescue is a cross-eyed, deaf cat named Hummer). When she first met Kumal, we pulled up right in front of his cage to park. She got out of the car, and ran over to the perimeter fence. He saw her and came over and chuffed. She loves him and talks to him every time we are out at PrideRock. Kumal will now rub the fence when Cortney comes over to it.He has chuffed a couple more times with her again.Cortney also has a special connection with Zoe. There have been many times when Zoe will come over to the fence and let her rub her. It is actually the first time that I have heard a cougar purr, which is something I didn’t know they did. She loves all the animals at PrideRock and loves getting the chance to volunteer for PrideRock.
We both love getting to share this wonderful experience with each other. Cortney has had previous experience with big cats, but this is my first time. She has been an incredible teacher, and helped squash any fears I might have had. I must say that when it came to hand feeding big cats, I had some fear built up, but she put me at ease and showed me how to do it correctly and safely. She is a hard worker with an attention to detail, which is a great combination when it comes to cleaning the animal enclosures. I am very lucky to have her by my side on this incredible journey. We are very thankful to Carol and Gary for letting us spend time with their amazing animals.
Russell’s Story (told by Cortney)
Russell and I have known each other for 15 years and in May we will celebrate our 13thwedding anniversary. Russell and I met in February 2000 through mutual friends. Atthe time he lived in Grand Prairie and I lived in Allen. Then Russell worked at American Eurocopter as a helicopter mechanic and I was in my final semester at UTD. Fast forward to now, Russell works for his dream company Southwest Airlines as a purchasing supervisor and we have an 8 ½ year old son named Avery who is in the second grade. Russell loves animals and he has had several pets throughout his life and aided in the rescue of several domestic and native local wild animals. We have 5 housecats, all of which were rescues, Colby (12), Ty (10), Jewel (7), Pepper (5) and Hummer (3). We are a family of animal lovers!
One morning during the summer of 2014 Russell contacted PrideRock seeking volunteer information. Very soon after sending his initial email Russell heard back from PrideRock and we began the process to be longterm volunteers. Russell has now been volunteering at PR since August 3, 2014. Russell enjoys being out in nature and has a connection to each of the cats (dogs and wolfs) at the rescue facility because of his love for animals. However, a few cats stole his heart immediately! It was amazing to witness the connection that formed instantaneously with Eli. Eli could not have been more hospitable as Russell and I walked side by side to the kitchen/commissary for the first time. Eli drew Russell over with his happy, charming chuffs and his adorable face and from that moment Russell had a new friend. Russell has since learned a lot about Eli’s personality in the 7 months he has been at PR. He knows that Eli is very silly and playful and loves to hunker down and stalk him. Russell has learned Eli loves the water and his large tub in the summer time. Russell loves his visits with Eli! Russell also made an instant connection with Casey one of the cougars. Russell was feeding an exotic cat for the first time and Casey could not have been kinder. He was so gentle taking the chicken from Russell and this eased Russell’s transition to feeding other cats that are not so gentle and food brings out the “wild” in them. Currently, Russell volunteers at PrideRock as a cleaner (serving the cats by cleaning their enclosures and the grounds around their enclosures), he writes and sends the newsletter to supporters, for every 40 hours he volunteers Southwest Airlines donates one round-trip ticket with no restrictions to the sanctuary and he is willing to work on any special projects that can utilize his skills (which are many).
Volunteering at PrideRock is still new, but Russell is a fast learner! Russell loves the animals that call PR home and he enjoys sharing this experience with Cortney (me). Together we are learning a lot and sharing in the lives of so many amazing animals.
Once Eli looked at Russell, Russell didn’t have a chance.
Thank you Cortney and Russell!!!