Posted by: Tara Aarness | May 26, 2010

Volunteering to Help Build the Next A.R.K

Growing up I was always the shy one, never to volunteer for anything. I was what others commonly called ‘a wall flower.’ You may remember me – the girl in the back of the class that if you looked at me I might pee my pants? Yeah, that was me. But like many wall flowers before me, I had a desire deep within that blossomed over time and it wasn’t until someone recently forced me to acknowledge it that I realized just how good I have it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of these people who staggers around crying, ‘poor me, look at what (fill in the blank) did to me!’ and use that as an excuse and continue to cry and moan. Rather I’m the chick who calls herself to the mat when I screw up, try to learn from it, and move on, but I’m getting off point here.

This past week presented me with a unique opportunity to become an officer of the law, but not for humans, for animals. Already having well over 1,000 document volunteer hours at our local animal shelter, I felt confident I could take on such an opportunity and serve our county proudly. Ready to play ball with the big boys, I gave it all I had and struck out. But I’m not upset about not being offered the opportunity, as I’m friends with the two people they hired (truth be told, I’m married to one of them) and with their professional experience in this field, I’m very happy for them both.

You’re waiting for the ‘but’ right now, aren’t ya? Well, there isn’t one. Instead, after composing my resume for this position, I’ve realized something rather important about myself. I’ve donated over 20,000 hours of my time toward helping others, regardless of day, night, or holidays and I couldn’t be happier; to show you what I mean, take a look at the resume I submitted (the non-padded, bare boned version).

                                                 Tara Aarness

                                                742 Evergreen Terrace

                                                Springfield, USA 123-ABC

                                                (KL5) 847-6300

Volunteer Background (total volunteer hours – over 20,000 hours)

  • King County Animal Care and Control: While following safety guidelines, routinely assisted Officers with feeding and medicating a range of animals, provided support via preparing food, laundry, cleaning supplies, as well as cleaning of adoptable cats and kittens to ensure their comfort; prepare enclosures and care for variety of livestock including, but not limited to, goats and confiscated fighting cocks. Fostered through KCACC; dogs, cats, rabbits, and fish, and have adopted and owned several dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, arthropods and small mammals. Donated over 1,000 hours to KCACC.


  • McGill Fire Department: Responded to many calls counting child gunshot victims, car accidents, forest fires, house fires, attempted suicides, used my CAP experience in responding to a plane crash, medical assists including heart attacks, treating our own member of the department, seizures, fielding countless other calls ranging though out the year, regardless of time or day.


  • White Pine County Sherriff’s Office: Participated in bi-yearly food drives by collecting donated canned goods and distributing said goods to the needy, while compiling a list of services people needed and contacting providers offering free services.  


  • Civil Air Patrol (CAP): Trained in first aid, safety, and responded to air plane crashes and/or difficulties; attended several search and rescue courses, having the opportunity to utilize my knowledge in the field; conducted Flood Assessment Damage, as well as searching for additional victims, relocating them to safer ground.

Writing and Volunteer Background

  • Writing: Developer, writer, editor and designer of a wide range of media, including magazine, newspaper, and online content. Noted for content and reliably meeting deadlines.


  • Editing: Contributing editor for local magazine of over 3,000 in circulation, freelance for various clients. Experienced in copyediting, content editing, and proofreading.

While a fire fighter, nothing put life into perspective better than responding to a call. Being able to walk away knowing that in someone’s hour of need, I was there to lend comfort made all of my silly problems seem, well silly. It’s not to say that I haven’t faced major life issues, quite on the contrary. I’ve faced having to say good-bye to family members, the realization that, at the ripe old age of 28, I had to have a hysterectomy just to save my life, thus never giving birth to a child of my own (a deep seeded dream), a (now ex) husband who relentlessly cheated on me while I was battling the disease that lead to the hysterectomy, a stalker who is just as relentless as was my ex, and there’s plenty more I could mention.

But in the face of all the lives that I’ve come into contact with in their hour of need, I’ve realized that we as human beings owe it to not just ourselves, but to others as well, and reach out to one another. You don’t have to volunteer at an animal shelter, a food bank, or fire station; it’s much simpler than that. All that’s necessary is to smile at the stranger on the street as you pass by, if you see a child lose his shoe and the mother doesn’t notice, pick it up and hand it back to the mom, let the person behind you who only has one or two items go ahead of you when you have a hundred. These simple Acts of Random Kindness (A.R.K – thanks goes out to the writers and producers of the movie, ‘Evan Almighty’ for coming up with that one) go further than any one of us can imagine and it’s easy to believe that you’ve just started a rather beautiful domino effect ending in global peace. Ok, so maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but hey, we can try, can’t we?



  1. Hey there!
    hello from a namesake 🙂
    wishing you all the best in everything you do.

  2. I was raised on a farm and my love for animals runs deep. I admire your dedication and compassion for animals. Much A.R.K. to you. Thanks.

  3. Impressive resume. I have to say after all that and from your post you don’t seem the least bit cynical, also impressive.

  4. a very interesting post to read !!!!

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