Donnica Smalls

Donni began volunteering with LifeLine last year and has made a remarkable impact on Atlanta's animals! From volunteering at our ATL Puppy Bowl to creating flyers to help our adoptable pups stand out, Donni is always ready to lend a helping hand. Read more about Donni below! 


What made you get involved with LifeLine?

After being involved with a community service organization throughout undergrad and grad school I missed having service opportunities in my routine. So in 2018, one of my goals (not resolutions because I always break those) was to get involved with a local organization. Through luck or perhaps fate, I saw someone post about LifeLine and I immediately started doing my research and just knew I had to get involved.

I remember sitting in the orientation last May and feeling slightly overwhelmed hearing the number of animals LifeLine cares for - (FYI that number is nearing 40,000 a year). However, I also felt motivated and inspired to help LifeLine's goal of transforming Atlanta into a no-kill community. Since then, my phone (and Instagram stories) has slowly become filled with photos of LifeLine animals and I’m totally ok with that.


What is your favorite volunteer activity?

Well besides playing with the dogs - adoption events. As much as I am a “dog person”, I’m also a “people person”. I love talking to people and getting them to come over to the LifeLine table at events. Though there are days when none of the animals are adopted at the event, the dogs have had a break from the shelter, and they've been stuffed with yummy treats. More importantly, people are now aware of LifeLine and are more likely to visit one of the locations where they do adopt an animal.


How were you able to use your unique set of skills to help LifeLine?

My background is in public relations and marketing. I love that I get to channel my creative energy and marketing skills into writing bios and creating flyers. It has been so much fun! I watched someone giggle to themself and whisper to a pupper in a kennel after reading a bio I wrote. That made my day!! These cute faces can totally sell themself, but a good bio and photo never hurts.

I also like to talk to people, so I’ve loved being able to represent LifeLine out in the community and essentially talk about LifeLine whenever I get the chance. I've turned my office door into a place where I highlight Lifeline animals. The photos and my community candy jar lure them in :) and next thing you know they’re asking what they can donate or how they can help. 


What advice would you give someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Time commitment was something that stopped me from signing up for an orientation sooner. If you think that walking one dog or posting one flyer isn’t enough - think again. A sweet woman was chatting with me at an adoption event and had an interest in volunteering, but told me that she didn’t feel strong enough to walk a lot of dogs due to a recent surgery. I started talking to her about the need for help with laundry, dishes, and admin work and she was so surprised about all the different ways she could get involved.

Whatever you can give makes a difference (even if it’s just a little love to an animal) and saves lives!

There are hard days, but the good 100% outweighs the bad. My favorite pick-me-up during the day is scrolling through the volunteer Facebook page and smiling at all the smooshy faces and reading the sweet (and sometimes downright silly) encounters other volunteers have had with some of the animals. Volunteering with LifeLine has been so rewarding and I can’t wait to continue filling my phone with pictures of smooshy faces and helping find furever (yup, that’s spelled correctly) homes for these sweet animals.

Donnica Smalls 2




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LifeLine Animal Project

Founded in 2002 and now managing DeKalb and Fulton County Animal Services, LifeLine Animal Project is the leading non-profit organization working to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats in metro Atlanta shelters. Together, we will make Atlanta a no-kill community.

LifeLine Animal Project is an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

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