Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire


Native German speaker honored

Nelli Haase, the native German speaker on Whitman campus, was awarded the 2007 Volunteer of the Year Award by the Blue Mountain Humane Society on April 28.

“I was so happy, I was almost crying,” said Haase.

Haase, who is from Berlin, is spending this year in Walla Walla as part of a year off from studying law in Germany. She is employed as the native German speaker, teaching and helping German students of all levels. In addition to her job responsibilities, she currently studies politics and philosophy, taking a full credit course load of five classes.

Haase said that she began volunteering at the animal shelter last September, after learning the difference between American and German animals shelters. She said that in Germany, shelters are government-paid and that dogs are walked at least every other day.

“The humane society depends on volunteers. If nobody comes, the dogs don’t get out for weeks,” Haase said.

She volunteers almost daily at the shelter, and estimates that she spends at least between 10 and 15 hours a week there.

“The humane society is I think only a seven minute walk from Whitman, like from Olin, so I think everybody could go at least once a week,” Haase said.

Haase spends her time at the shelter walking dogs, playing with them, brushing them and petting them. She also talks to potential adopters, sharing information and habits about particular animals and helping them get adopted. Because she knows the animals will be adopted, she doesn’t let herself connect with just one pet.

“I try to make the moment that I’m there a good one for both of us, and then I leave and I try to be just and next time take another time another animal,” Haase said. “I like to take the dogs out who need it the most, who jump the most and who are the wildest.”

Volunteering at the shelter can be bittersweet for Haase, however. In the back of her mind, she said she either thinks of how they will soon be adopted, or how unfortunate it is that they aren’t a part of a family.

“Of course you always remember how good it would be if [the animals] would have a family, but at the same time you know that you did something good and that the dogs are really happy. It’s really good when people are engaged, and you can tell that the animals really appreciate it.”

Junior Greg Phillips and German House resident assistant says that Haase’s love for animals and passion in life is apparent to all who know her.

“She’s really caring… I found out very quickly that she has a self justice system built into her mind, so all life matters to her, whether it be the smallest insect or animal,” Phillips said.

“The compassion that she has for animals goes beyond that,” he added. “It’s also the compassion hat she has for her friends, which is really uplifting.”

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