How awesome is Carrie Brownstein?! She’s a founding member of indie rock band Sleater-Kinney and is co-creator/star (with Fred Armisen) of the wildly popular satirical sketch-comedy series Portlandia. As if those two super-cool things weren’t enough, she also dedicated an entire chapter of her book, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, to her time volunteering at the Oregon Humane Society.
In 2006, years before Portlandia began, Sleater-Kinney took an “indefinite hiatus,” which lasted about 10 years. (The band recently reunited and is currently wrapping up a world tour.) Carrie felt that the best way to handle the pain of her band’s dissolution would be to spend her time at a local shelter with animals who were in need of the love, care, and companionship that she had time to give.
“The dogs’ needs seemed simple, and I required simple needs: somewhere to be. It’s easy to feel sated when all you’re asking for in life is food, water, and some gentle petting.”
Carrie writes affectionately about her experience there and how much she enjoyed spending time with animals and other volunteers.
She went on to adopt her second dog, Toby, and win the Oregon Humane Society’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2006.
What You Can Do
Learn about how shelters work, and volunteer at your local shelter! Make sure that you aren’t funding or backing a “slow-kill” nightmare for animals. Instead, support only professionally run, open-admission shelters that accept all animals in need—rather than turning hard cases away—and that provide them with a painless end when necessary, instead of hoarding animals or letting them suffer.