John Dorsey began his volunteerism at Heritage Humane Society in April 2022. In that time he has done so much for the dogs in our care. He comes to the shelter 1-2 times a week to walk the dogs and provide them with much-needed time out of their kennels. John has been amazing with some of our stronger dogs that are still working on manners on the leash and his patience and dedication have really helped them. You might also see him at some of our offsite adoption events in Williamsburg with our adoptable dogs. He takes our adoptable dogs to places like Nautical Dog regularly to help them meet potential adopters and to get a day out of the shelter to enjoy just being dogs! We are incredibly grateful for John’s kindness and generosity. Read Johns’ words below to learn more about him.
Words from John Dorsey
“I retired from NASA Langley Research Center on December 31, 2021 after 40 years of service. I got a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and went straight to work at NASA. Over those 40 years, I mostly did research and developed technologies for space structural concepts and using robots and/or humans in space to construct those large space structures. Teams I worked on also developed long-reach robotic arms (more like Earth-based cranes) that enabled construction on-orbit and on planetary surfaces.
As I was approaching retirement, I decided that I wanted to devote the next phase of my life to service. Growing up, our family always had dogs and I have always liked them for their personalities and unconditional love of us humans. I wanted to work with dogs but didn’t quite know what that might involve or where. It just so happened that a couple of years ago I went to the Yorktown Paws on the Waterfront to see the dog costume parade. There were also several booths set up there from different shelters, including one for the Heritage Humane Society. I had never heard of HHS and spent a long time talking to the lady who was at the booth and liked what I heard about HHS and how they operated. Since I had recently moved from Hampton up to Yorktown, I decided that Williamsburg wasn’t that far away (anymore) and would be the first place I checked out after retiring, and of course, the rest is history. When I did my first visit, I was impressed by the facility and all of the friendly people I met there, so I jumped right into training; spent a lot of time doing laundry for the first couple of months as I was training to be a dog walker.
With great help from Rock and Amanda (another volunteer dog walker), I have become very comfortable with walking all of the green/orange dogs and as you know, like to take them for longer walks so they can get more exercise and do more sniffing, which I learned also reduces their stress level. As you know, I come in regularly on Tuesdays (unless I’m on vacation; yes retired people still need vacations!) but I am also busy with other service work; I go in once a week to NASA and mentor the early career employees and interns, and as a member of the Knights of Columbus at my church (Saint Joan of Arc, Yorktown) I spend a fair amount of time helping out there too. I do try to keep a couple of days a week open, and that has allowed me to do some fido field trips on the weekend, which is also fun and satisfying.”