Chris Ro hasn’t slept in on a Sunday since mid-March.
That’s when he attended the Barks & Brews event in Santee, followed immediately by his first GAC Open House. The 36-year-old medical software engineer was hooked. He fell hopelessly in love with the dogs and the volunteers and thought he might volunteer one or two days each month. Instead, he has spent every Sunday since at the kennel. He volunteers from 10:30am to 6:30pm — through the mid-morning, gap and afternoon shifts.
Why doesn’t he sleep in? Because he lives in Aliso Viejo in Orange County, a two-hour drive from the kennel.
“This is my therapy, my retreat,” says Chris. He frequently works 70 to 80 hours a week, so his GAC Sundays get him “totally recharged for the upcoming week.”
He specifically remembers meeting Avery and Ballard, two of the dogs that came to us from the Texas blood bank. “They were so shy and underweight. I needed to do something for them.” Chris works with them every Sunday and says he’s seen such a change at they’ve begun to blossom. “It’s rewarding to be a part of it,” he adds.
He’s done sporadic work with a couple of greyhound rescues in Orange County, but Chris says they’re foster groups and don’t have their own kennels. Through them, however, he learned how gentle, mellow and loving greys are, and that’s why he locked onto GAC, where he can truly interact with the dogs. He calls them his life force. “There’s something extraordinary about greyhounds. I’ve studied their history, and the more I learn, the more I want to be hands-on with every dog and be part of their lives.”
Chris has no intention of cutting back his volunteer schedule. He doesn’t have a dog at home — his schedule isn’t conducive to fostering or adoption — but if his work pressure eases, he easily could wind up with a greyhound or two to fill his weeks between those long Sunday drives to El Cajon.
GAC gives a standing ovation to volunteer Chris Ro for his devotion to the dogs.