Dana Rogers-Lovelace is Pleasant Hill’s Citizen of the Year. I spent some time at the animal shelter with her so I could find out more about her job, her life, and her acts of volunteerism.
Before interviewing Dana, I had seen her name numerous times in group pages on social media, telling people where she would be collecting money for a family, items for an organization, or why she would be hanging outside Price Chopper on Saturday. She has organized, gathered, and helped though out the community. Meeting the woman behind the posts was so much fun and I enjoyed getting to ask her some questions.
Dana moved to Pleasant Hill when she was 10. She graduated from PHHS in 1991. She went on to have three daughters and now has two grandsons. In June of 2018, she became Pleasant Hill’s Animal Control Officer. “It was a total accident that I ended up with the job,” she said, “it was the only time as an adult that I had quit a job without having another one lined up. A friend told me about the opening, and I applied. When I got the interview, I thought it was a courtesy. I wore flip flops, leggings and an I heart NY shirt! When they called back and offered me an interview with the police chief, I realized they were serious.”
When asked what she loves most about her job, Dana tells me that she loves the dogs the best. Last year she was able to return 127 dogs to their families and give 44 a new home. She noted that the best thing you can do for your dog is having a tag with an accurate address and phone number. “I want to take them home. I don’t want to bring them to the shelter.” Having the correct information easily available makes that possible.
She began working at the shelter and soon realized that the needs were great. The dogs had beds and bowls, but she needed towels, bedding, wire cages and more. Dana reached out for help online and has since had a steady stream of what she needs delivered to the shelter. “I haven’t bought any dog food, it’s all donated. In 2020, all the dogs we had spayed and neutered were paid for by people leaving money in our account at the (Pleasant Hill Animal) clinic.” After seeing such a huge turnout for her shelter, she realized she could help others in the same way.
Dana started by picking nonprofit organizations and finding out what they needed. Next, she would make calls, put out messages on social networks, and use her time to collect whatever it was that they needed.
In 2020, Dana expanded her volunteer efforts by helping people in tragedy. She learned about the passing of Gabe Smith from the people at VFW. Then she found out that four days before the funeral, the catering company backed out. Dana went into action making calls and finding food, supplies, and help for the family. “I told some friends that we were serving food. Sometimes I drag people in to help me,” she recalled with a laugh.
Since then, Dana has been found outside of Price Chopper with her table and her sign, collecting money for other people who are in need. “People want to help.” she says. “I’ve spent maybe 5 dollars total on everything I’ve done; it costs me nothing but time. I’ve got nothing but time. It’s what you’re supposed to do.”
When the topic switched to the Citizen of the Year award, Dana said that there are so many other people out there who deserve it. “What I do is easy,” she said, “so many more people do it every day, for free, and aren’t recognized.”
I asked her how to start volunteering. I know that more people want to help like she does. She said “It’s not hard, just start asking. Social media is huge. Start making calls. Find places that need donations. Drop off cookies at the police station or fire station. Sometimes it makes people feel good just to be noticed.”
Speaking of volunteers, the shelter uses plenty of them. In the summer of 2019, a shelter in Lexington flooded. She took in some of their dogs. With 9 being in the shelter, she needed some help and started offering National Honor Society members community service hours for volunteering. Soon thereafter, more people wanted to help so she expanded it, letting anyone come in and help that wanted to. It’s a great way to get the community service hours a lot of teens need.
I really enjoyed getting to know Dana and meeting the woman behind all the good deeds. I realize that she thinks that what she is doing is small, but small things add up to be big deals. I am sure that every organization and family she has helped is grateful, and she really is a wonderful asset to our community.
The last thing I want to do is make sure that everyone knows that there are three good dogs up for adoption at the shelter. If interested in meeting any one of these dogs, call Dana:
Kyle is approximately 3-4 years old. He loves all the volunteers at the shelter! He’s very playful and thinks he’s a big lapdog. He does not like cats. He is still a little underweight, but they are working on fixing that at the shelter.
Zack is approximately 2 years old. He gets along with some dogs. He can be skittish at times and may have been previously abused. He is house trained and energetic. He just loves to be loved. He doesn’t, however, get along with cats.
Age unknown. Scarlet was dumped in our city in August of 2020. She was adopted out in December, but brought back a few weeks ago. She growled at her female owner in a show of dominance. As Scarlet is a big girl, it was very intimidating even though she never attempted to bite. Scarlet needs someone who won't put up with her shenanigans! She is house trained and generally, very sweet. She would love a fence to guard. She’s great with cats and other small animals, and may do well with other dogs if she has the proper introduction.
All these dogs are spayed or neutered. They are also all fully vaccinated! Let’s see if we can find them somewhere permanent to live!