Sheryl Matthys

posted: 05/15/12
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Sheryl Matthys

Name: Sheryl Matthys


ASPCA, Leashes and Lovers, Good Dog Foundation

Years volunteering:

Three and a half years with Leashes and Lovers, over a year with Good Dog, less than a year with ASPCA

The scope of my volunteer work:

- Training and walking dogs at ASPCA

- Training classes as an apprentice at Biscuits and Bath

- Providing connections online where people can make profiles of themselves and their pets and meet in person at my dog-friendly cocktail parties through my Web site, LeashesandLovers.com

- Talking with people as the "dog sexpert" and how their dogs impact their human relationships

- Volunteering at Gilda's Club and Beth Israel Hospital with one of my two greyhounds, Shiraz

- Supporting 10 various animal shelters and organizations in their efforts to rescue/adopt animals, through Leashes and Lovers

My first pet:

My first pet was a mutt named Shaggy. He (of course) had wild hair and was very fun loving. Poor thing had to always stay outside as my parents didn't want a dog in the house. I still feel guilty about that today.

The animal I am most like:

The animal I am most like is a Jack Russell because I have lots of energy and I am always wanting to go places and do things. I'm 5'4" so I'm smaller than many people, like a Jack Russell, but I make up for it in spirit.

The animal I would take to:

- The Oscars: I would take my greyhound Shiraz because she is ladylike, elegant, mild mannered, tolerant in crowded settings, just gorgeous and looks fantastic in all of her clothes. Even though hers is natural beauty, she's sympathetic of those who need to enhance theirs and brings out the beauty in everyone around her.

- Meet my parents: Since my parents aren't into dogs, I would have them meet Shiraz -- she doesn't shed and she's not a crotch sniffer.

- To the movies: A Chihuahua - since I could sneak it in. But, if we were allowed, I'd take my other greyhound Buffett. He's fun, playful, loves people, and he always tries to sit in my lap. He thinks he's a small dog.

- On a trip around the world: A monkey. I'd love to travel with a monkey on my back. Plus, I could have company at the dinner table!

My inspiration:

Shiraz. She's a former race dog, yet made the best of it while there. She won first place, and placed 33 percent of the time. She's been bitten twice and has some racing scars, yet she's forgiving and still loves people and other dogs. And, I swear she's psychic.

The most rewarding aspect of volunteering:

The most rewarding aspect of volunteering is seeing and interacting with the dogs, and finding out when they get adopted as they all deserve the love that awaits them. Also, in volunteering at Gilda's Club and the hospital, it's rewarding to have people release their emotions to me and to Shiraz as we are nonjudgmental and have open ears/hearts. While petting Shiraz, it's amazing what people want to say and hopefully feel better for it. While walking dogs at the ASPCA, I hope it brings them some excitement, exercise, and better manners to help them connect with someone and find a new home soon.

The most challenging:

Not taking every dog home with me.

The moment I knew it was all worth it:

It's all worth it, but one time Shiraz was the only one to notice in a dog run that a man on a bench shielded by shrubs was having a seizure - she insisted I come over and we then called 911. She just may have saved a life that day and I hope through volunteering I can help save the lives of other dogs and cats. I found a German shepherd in the street last year and took it to a different shelter, passed around emails/pictures to get it adopted, and after six months, they put it to sleep as no one gave it a home. I felt like a failure to that dog and I now have to work harder at assisting more animals and getting them rescued - in time.

In a perfect world:

Every dog and cat would have a loving home and there would be no need for shelters.

In my world:

I can just spread the word to love dogs through example, and have a hands-on approach. I want to make a dog lover out of everyone. I've also been taking classes for a year through Animal Behavior College to become a certified dog trainer to help more dogs and find them homes.

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