Volunteer Spotlight: Judy Kao

Judy Kao is a shift leader at Sammy's Hope, and one of our best known volunteers. She's also known especially for developing colorful, sewn covers for our Kuranda beds, which makes them easy to remove and launder and also attach to the beds without the hassle and inconvenience of using ties.

Judy's Kuranda bed covers

Judy's Kuranda bed covers

Judy has always had animals in her life. Growing up she was in good company with birds, goldfish, and a miniature Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog) named Sally. Later on, when she started her own family, she felt that every child should grow up with animals. So in her house she has had manydogs of different sizes and breeds-from Chihuahua to Dachshund, miniature Pinscher to Jack Russell, Beagle to Golden Retriever, German Shepard, and Pitbull. Many if not all of these are rescues, plus a hamster named Jelly Bean somewhere in between.

Judy got involved in rescue about four years ago. Her husband was at a local airport when a brand new rescue had its very first freedom flight, and according to Judy, one of the dogs just "followed" him home. At that point Judy began started fostering for this rescue group, starting with a family of eight - a mommy named Sunshine and her seven precious puppies. Until then she didn't realize what she's gotten herself into: the work involved taking care of a nursing mom, and potty training, de-worming, and socializing all those puppies!  According to Judy, "the most difficult part was saying goodbye when they were adopted. But I wouldn't change it for the world. Over time I fostered about 30 dogs, and had up to 13 in my home at one time."

In addition to Sammy's Hope, she also volunteers at ASPCA Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's, so she get to work with dogs there and continue to care for the fearful dog "graduates" who come to Sammy's Hope for more love, care, socialization and to find there forever homes. Judy says "I'm grateful to have this opportunity to make a difference in their lives." And she adds "I always thought I was a dog person, but since volunteering at Sammy's, I've learned to love cats too!"

Judy with 3 of our ASPCA graduates

Judy with 3 of our ASPCA graduates

Judy was born in Taipei, Taiwan and moved to New Jersey in the summer of 1979 as a teenager who didn't speak "a lick" of English. That didn't stop her, she says: "Today I'm the mother of two handsome young men and five dogs." Her husband runs a flight school, Privilege Aero, where he teaches and trains future commercial pilots. And in typical Judy fashion, she and her husband donate flights to the south (NC, SC, GA, FL) whenever they can to help rescues bring more animals north where they have a better chance of finding loving, forever homes.

Judy is a standout volunteer, a great shift leader, and an inventive craftswoman, and Sammy's Hope is lucky to have her!