A local volunteer has been given a special award for her efforts at the Pulaski County Humane Society.
Ali Tobia, a volunteer at the humane society and a Fairfax Station native, is the recipient of the Spirit of Compassion Award from the North Shore Animal League.
Tobia recalled her reaction when she realized she had received such an award.
"I wasn’t trying to get the award and didn’t even know about it," Tobia said. "It was a nice surprise. I think our contact with North Shore Animal League … nominated me. I was floored."
She became involved with the rescue after adopting her boxer/pitbull mix named Nicci. After the adoption, Ali came back to the humane society and completed her first rescue trip on Aug. 27.
"I wanted to help out. The people are great. That is why I came back and just kind of jumped into this position."
Tobia began to volunteer for three, eight hour days every week. However, she still wanted to contribute more to the rescue efforts.
"She wanted to do more and asked about what we needed," said Keely Johnson, executive director at the Pulaski County Humane Society. "I told her we needed a rescue coordinator. Up until that point, it was basically the office manager and director who were solely responsible for the rescue."
So Tobia took the responsibility of being the rescue coordinator and worked diligently at the position, which had been tasking.
"It takes 15-20 hours to perform a rescue," Johnson said. "We were maybe getting 2-3 dogs rescued per month. Ali comes in and we showed her 30 minutes worth of the database, the rescues we work with, and in the first week she had five dogs rescued."
Because of her extremely hard work and dedication at the position, Tobia has saved over 130 lives of animals at the society.
She is a 2009 graduate of William & Mary. She received a bachelor of science degree in psychology. She is planning to attend veterinarian school in the area.
"For her to have saved over 100 animals is huge," Johnson said. "She is fantastic and has built a rapport with these rescues that in my three years I couldn’t have done."
"I am still kind of in shock just because I don’t do this for the recognition," Tobia said. "I love what I do and I do this to make a difference. I think this does make a difference."