At 10:45 this particular Saturday morning, Louisville, Kentucky’s Animal Care Society (ACS) is still fifteen minutes from opening to the public, but pairs of humans and canines stroll in and out the front door in a steady stream of traffic. The shelter’s dogs get their first walks of the day as administrators prepare for the weekend’s potential adopters. I’d been told that ACS is a “small organization,” but the volunteer participation already impresses me.

Bunny Zeller is the shelter’s assistant director and she shows me around the facilities. One of our first stops is the “new moms” area and I’m allowed to peek in at what appears to be a Maltese mix tending to her week-old pups. (I imagine that glimpses like this are worth the volunteer hours alone.)

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“We keep them here where it’s nice and quiet,” Zeller tells me, beaming as if she’s responsible for the impossibly sweet scene we’re witnessing. It dawns on me that in a way, she is responsible.

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