Grapevine Animal Shelter volunteer melds love of animals and giving

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Colin Cresswell loves volunteering at the Grapevine Animal Shelter where he helps with adoptions, reunites lost pets with their owners and comforts shelter animals.

The septuagenarian doesn’t even shy away from cleaning cages and other less glamorous jobs.

“I love animals,” said Cresswell, a native of England who came to Grapevine in 1986. “I always have.”

Cresswell said he has always found time to volunteer, but this has been his most rewarding experience.

“You get truly involved with the animals in every aspect,” said Cresswell, 79. “When you’re around so many animals so pitiful looking sometimes, you don’t want to leave them. You want to comfort them. They seem so happy when you hold them.”

In 2006, the Grapevine Police Department established a VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service) division. Cresswell went through a 14-week Citizens Police Academy course and additional VIPS training with no thought of his final assignment. A former member of the Queen’s Guard, he did well, noting that “I had that kind of discipline in me.”

Sgt. Dale Roath remembers Cresswell.

“Colin sticks out,” Roath said. “He’s such a friendly, interesting guy. He’s always got a smile on his face. He is the happiest guy I know.”

After graduation from VIPS, Cresswell asked where he would be needed most.

Since the animal shelter was experiencing a shortage of staff, he was told he could work the desk there and avoid the dirtier jobs. Cresswell said he became bored with desk duty, and asked to work in other areas of the shelter, including cleanup.

“It’s a workout scooping and hosing and sanitizing and scrubbing, but I don’t mind,” Cresswell said. “I really enjoy walking the dogs.”

Cresswell said his greatest reward is when he, “reunites a pet with its owner.”

“The work is sweaty and dirty — that’s part of it,” he added. “But I love to see adoptions go through. I like happy endings.”

When on desk duty, Cresswell pays a lot of attention to each call, such as lost and found, knowing it’s an opportunity to give the caller “a little hope,” by assuring each one he will do everything he can.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said. “I’m always happy.”

Cresswell is a popular addition to the staff, always willing to sub for others during holidays and when emergencies arise.

“I don’t only do it for the dogs, I do it for the families,” said the father of three and grandfather of seven.

The family includes his wife Sue and two rescue dogs, Grommett and Gabby.

Wife Sue admires her husband’s volunteerism, saying, “He enjoys it. He said the animals need somebody.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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