Mark Swotinsky enjoys his role as greeter in the front lobby, but he finds the gritty work of cleaning kennels even more satisfying. Mark and his wife, Arlene, like to be involved in activities that directly impact the dogs, and a clean, sparkling kennel is its own reward. One of Arlene’s favorite spots is the laundry room; she knows that washing and drying towels and blankets ensures that each animal will always have the comfort of a clean, soft bed while they wait to be adopted. They both like knowing that the time they spend on these vital tasks frees up staff to spend more time with the animals.
Mark retired in 2016 and St. Hubert’s was lucky to get him in November that year. Arlene got involved a few months later and this warm, low-key couple have been dedicated volunteers ever since.
Their volunteer activities definitely don’t end with cleaning and laundry. Mark is an avid dog walker, and both he and Arlene love to interact with people as well. They have taken dogs to adoption events (and were gratified when the pups were quickly adopted). They also help at offsite fundraising events: Santa Paws, Dine with a Dog and the 5K race are among their favorites. And they enjoy being part of of the “crowd” at Paws for People therapy dog evaluations.
One of their favorite, most exhausting, and most rewarding volunteer roles is as dog fosterers. First up was a momma and six adorable, wiggly puppies they brought home a few weeks before Christmas last year. Keeping up with- and outsmarting- the puppies kept them on their toes, and they fell in love with the pups’ patient and placid mom, Belinda. The puppies were all adopted immediately after Mark and Arlene brought them back just before Christmas. They were ready to bring Belinda back home with them so she wouldn’t have to spend the holidays at the shelter, but she quickly found a home as well. They provided critical enrichment to their next foster, Jenny; she too was quickly adopted after being in their care. St. Hubert’s Foster Coordinator Kat is confident that when the Swotinskys take on a foster dog, that dog will be in devoted, loving hands.
Mark and Arlene love St. Hubert’s and the people they’ve met here. And the feeling is definitely mutual.