We are forever grateful for the dedication of our volunteers and community in ensuring the pets of Vashon Island are cared for. Below are some of the program leaders as well as the board of directors.
Experience: Before I retired I was an engineer. I worked on both domestic and international projects for major oil and gas companies.
Volunteer Since: January 2016.
Programs: I took over the management of the No Hungry Pets program in 2020. I also have a shift at the cat shelter.
How I came to VIPP: I adopted one of my cats from VIPP in the fall of 2015. I met Victoria at the VIPP bake sale in December of 2015, and she persuaded me to become a volunteer at the shelter.
Experience: I have always had dogs and loved to take care of them. Since I grew up in Russia where we mostly had a culture to have big serious dogs for personal protection and none of the dogs were spayed, I have good experience of handling large and protective dogs and not a stranger to sorting dog fights.
Volunteer Since: January 2021.
Programs: Management of the VIPP dog foster program and foster mom. I have participated in the dog walking program and later in the foster homes program.
How I came to VIPP: I saw an add in the Beachcomber about volunteers needed to help with the dogs in the shelter, and since I like walking with dogs and do it 2-3 times a day (mainly my dog) I though I can just get one or two more dogs along for a walk.
Experience: My professional life has been spent in the legal field. I was self-employed as a court reporter for 17 years, gradually transitioning to work in law firms. I am currently a paralegal with a personal injury firm specializing in representing people with asbestos-related disease. My previous volunteer work includes co-chairing a major annual fundraising campaign, coordinating community blood drives, grant writing, serving on the Vashon Relay for Life committee, and work on various social justice issues.
VIPP volunteer since: 2012
Programs: Board of directors, various Fur Ball tasks over the years
How I came to VIPP: In 2012, the chair for the Fur Ball recruited me to learn and implement the new auction software. I have been involved in one way or another ever since and joined the board in 2015.
Experience: I have been self-employed musician, songwriter and mosaic artist most of my adult life. In the 1980’s I worked as a Publicity Manager and Marketing assistant for Chrysalis Records.
VIPP volunteer since: 2001
Programs: Serving on the board of directors, past and present. Manager of VIPP’s social media, and website. Coordinator or co-coordinator of the Fur Ball Auction. Head of the shelter cleaning team the FurBusters.
How I came to VIPP: I am a long time animal lover and became a fan of VIPP when I adopted two adorable flame point siamese kittens in 2001.
When I moved to Vashon Island in 1990 I was a computer programmer/analyst. About seven years later I was managing a used bookstore that doubled as a foster home for VIPP cats. The bookstore is long gone but that was when I got my start as VIPP volunteer interviewing potential cat adopters. The cat in the store would often get the customers chatting about their pets and their experiences with cats and dogs. Those conversations were important to me in forming my views on how important an organization like VIPP is to the people in a community as well as for the dogs and cats. VIPP’s founding mother, Barbara Drinkwater, would often say that she took phone calls every day and there was never a dog or a cat on the other end of the line.
I am still on the cat adoption team plus I am on the cat intake team and a member of the group that manages the cat shelter and I am currently the secretary of Vashon Island Pet Protectors.
Experience: I have been a life-long educator with experience at the K-12 and university levels as well as serving in a state department of education and editor of two technology and education magazines. In the not-for-profit world, I have been assistant executive director and board member of a national technology and education organization and an executive director of a similar statewide organization. On the island, I have served on the board of Vashon Allied Arts and the Voice of Vashon.
VIPP volunteer since: 2001
Programs: I have assisted with the feral cat program and help with calls for relinquishment and lost and found and we foster cats. I have been part of the Fur Ball team since its inception. I currently serve as treasurer on the board and was president for 8 years.
How I came to VIPP: Barbara Drinkwater volunteered me after hearing I worked with a pet rescue group in Austin.
Experience: I have a master's degree from Seattle University's Nonprofit Leadership Program and also hold a Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Leadership. I am currently pursuing my CFRE Certification.
Volunteer Since: 2018
Programs: Board of Directors and Fur Ball Committee. I also have experience fostering for both the cat and dog programs.
How you came to VIPP: I started out volunteering at the cat shelter which quickly transitioned to serving as treasurer for almost two years.
Experience: I have had both cats and dogs in my life for many years. I have loved them all. I currently have six cats sharing my home. They don’t all get along, but we make it work. I have learned so much from the cats and dogs that have been in my life, and am continuing my education with the dogs in VIPP’s care. I am also an artist, and a longtime member of Quartermaster Press. For many years I was a professional graphic designer.
VIPP volunteer since: About 2005
Programs: I am currently coordinating VIPP dog adoptions. I have volunteered at the cat shelter, been involved in cat adoptions, coordinated FurBall decorations, have been involved in coordinating the Strawberry Festival VIPP booth, wreath maker at the annual VIPP Wreath Sale and volunteered my graphic design skills for various materials.
How I came to VIPP: At the time of my second move to Vashon, I stopped at the Strawberry Festival VIPP booth and talked to someone about volunteering.
Experience: Most of my working career was spent with state agencies investigating and resolving discrimination complaints. This allowed me to know and work with people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. In Boston, prior to moving to Vashon, I was on the board of a feminist newspaper, Sojourner. Once on Vashon, I joined the Puget Sound Zen Center and have served on that board, as well as being active in fund raising.
VIPP Volunteer since: About 2000. I volunteered with VIPP, took a break, and returned in 2021.
Programs: While commuting into Seattle for work, I cleaned litter boxes at the Cat Shelter on Saturdays. I also really loved attending the FurBall, particularly the costume aspect, and spent WAY too much money. In 2012 I was a co-leader of the dog program. In addition to joining the Board in 2021, I now work with the dog leadership team and provide a foster home for dogs up for adoption.
How came to VIPP: After showing up at some VIPP event I was cornered (in a good way) by Volunteer Coordinator Victoria Rohlfs. She was very convincing and asked me to do something. I can’t remember what it was, but I do remember that it was impossible to say no to her!
Experience: I am a retired Environmental Scientist/Project Manager who has lived on Vashon Island for 24 years. I’ve been involved in volunteer work all my adult life and have been on the boards of the Vashon Island Unitarian Fellowship and the Alliance for Tompotika Conservation. I currently volunteer for the Vashon-Maury Island Food Bank, Granny’s Attic, and the Vashon Nature Center.
VIPP Volunteer since: sometime in the early 2000s!
Programs: I started as a cat shelter “shiftie” when our current cat shelter opened. I’ve also served as a cat adoption volunteer, coordinator of the dog program, Furball volunteer coordinator, wreath-maker, and Board Vice-President. I am now on the VIPP Board and foster dogs for VIPP.
How I came to VIPP: I started coming to VIPP fund-raising events and was quickly recruited by Victoria Rohlfs! I came because of my love for animals and have stayed with VIPP because of the dedicated volunteers, many of whom have become friends.
George is a long-time VIPP volunteer and supporter. He holds a regular shift at the VIPP cat shelter twice a week where he routinely spoils the cats. He is also a valuable volunteer with VIPP's No Hungry Pet's Program. George's cat shelter shift mates will tell you that he is well-known for his impeccable sense of humor, his gregarious laughter, his exceptional generosity, and his loyal friendship.
Experience: Kristi is a Territory Manager for Rhythm Pharmaceuticals. She works with patients with rare diseases. She has served as secretary and treasurer for Delta Delta Delta Alumni board and Girl Scouts. She has served as a volunteer for Pony Club, Muscular Dystrophy Association, 4-H, Equine Aid Horse and Donkey rescue and the Food Bank (Seattle).
VIPP Volunteer since: 2021
Programs: Board member, Team leader of the Lost & Found Dog program - helping to re-unite lost dogs with their owners.
How I came to VIPP: I believe there is something very special about a relationship with a rescue pet. I have rescued a cat and dog. I wanted to get involved in the community, meet new people and give my time to an organization I believe in.
Experience: I have been a cat lover all my life and I am a fan of dogs too. I first became involved with pet rescue in Austin, Texas in 1994. When I am not VIPPing, I work as an artist in my studio making art with fabric, paper and wood.
VIPP Volunteer since: 2001
Programs: I have worked with the feral cat program and have done shelter shifts. Currently, I take calls and emails for adoption and relinquishment as well as calls and emails for lost and found cats and coordinate the follow-up of these efforts with our cat shelter volunteers. I also act as the foster home coordinator for VIPP cats. I have been part of the Fur Ball Auction team since its inception.
How I came to VIPP: Having worked with a pet rescue group in Austin, I wanted to continue that kind of volunteer work on Vashon.