Jessica’s love for animals got her into hot water more than a few times when she was younger. The then-tween would secretly arrange to take free dogs from Craigslist—much to the surprise of Jessica’s mom, who would arrive home to find an unfamiliar furry face.
“I think the first dog was a bigger dog,” Jessica says ruefully. “Maybe if I had gotten a smaller one, I probably would’ve been allowed to keep it.”
It’s not like Jessica never had a dog. She grew up with several, and loved taking care of them. Her mom has told her that she used to pretend to be a vet when she was a toddler. Using a wheeled toy as her pet patient, Jessica would “fix it up,” and check it out with a stethoscope.
About four years ago, Jessica’s aunt was on the lookout for something the two could do together, and they decided to try volunteering at the Idaho Humane Society. They began volunteering once a week, and Jessica continues to do so today; in addition to her weekly commitment, she helps out at special events like See Spot Walk and rattlesnake training. Her shelter duties include walking dogs and helping people find their perfect companion.
One of the biggest benefits Jessica has realized from volunteering is a significant confidence boost. Painfully shy for most of her childhood, Jessica recalls school being very overwhelming.
“I would sit in the back of the class and shake if anyone tried to talk to me,” she said. “I didn’t ever want to go to school.”