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Volunteers

Kit Bassett

Kit first joined the LTB family in 2005, just before she retired from teaching, with the encouragement of a friend. She hasn’t looked back since! Kit can agree that each day as an LTB volunteer has been fun and different. She devotes her time to the details that make LTB an outstanding home for these rescued animals. There is always a new experience around the corner, from cooking eggs for the bears, assisting in the surgery room, feeding the big cats up close and personal, and the list goes on! Kit finds LTB a perfect place to be a part of because of the community of caring people that equally shares her passion and love for animals. Kit encourages anyone with a passion for animals to come out and feel the love!

Favorite LTB Moment: “My favorite moment at LTB was sharing the beauty and mission (of Lions Tigers, and Bears) with many friends on my 60th birthday party at the ranch.”

Harvey & Coleen

Harvey & Coleen have been LTB volunteers since late 2014. They retired earlier that year and thought long and hard about where they wanted to spend their free time volunteering. As animal lovers, particularly dog and cat lovers, they knew that if they decided to dedicate their time at the local animal shelter, they would end up bringing home a new pet every volunteer shift. So they began their quest for a place where the furry creatures couldn’t follow them home – and that is how they came upon LTB. They came out for a visit, and quickly realized this is the place for them. Harvey and Coleen dedicate their Tuesdays to prepping the animal’s diets for the week ahead.

Favorite Moment: “We enjoy watching Maverick running in and out of the pool, acting like a silly kid, and Bakari roaring in the morning when we are prepping food. These are the reasons we keep coming back, the animals need us and let us know that every week!”

Gayle Culbertson

Gayle was present when Bobbi first planted the seeds of LTB, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Gayle took a more active role at LTB as a volunteer. What compels Gayle the most is each heartfelt story and journey every animal has overcome before finding a home here at the sanctuary. Her compassion is what led her to LTB, but the fact that Gayle never knows what to expect while helping these animals is one reason why she stays. Not only do the exotic animals that keep things interesting, but even the domestic animals add to the color of her experiences. The vitality of LTB keeps Gayle on her toes as she manages volunteers and assists wherever possible. Gayle admires the work Bobbi does to change legislation as an advocate against the exotic animal trade. She believes that LTB is a unique opportunity to understand and have an intimate knowledge of each animal, and also that LTB is not like anything available in San Diego and goes above and beyond what anyone could ever expect.

Favorite LTB Moment: “At one point in time, the hens at LTB were constantly laying eggs at an astounding rate. For weeks, months even, Kit and I were scrambling eggs, TWELVE DOEZEN eggs a day to feed to the bears. It was great to learn that the bears could eat, let alone appreciate scrambled eggs. After the egg scrambling frenzy ended, I couldn’t eat eggs for a while.”

Brian Gamache

Brian has been an LTB volunteer since 2008. When asked why he volunteers at the sanctuary Brian responds, “I admire and support Bobbi in all she does for the animals. I have seen first hand the abuses some of these animals have gone through and how LTB has made a real difference in their lives. LTB continues to be successful because of its mission statement, the support it receives from the most generous people alive and by its volunteers that continue to give of themselves. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think about, promote or help LTB in some way. I’m very proud to be a part of LTB and am always excited to see what is next.”

Favorite LTB Moment: “I have three equally favorite LTB moments: the first is going to New York to rescue the seven bears, mountain lion and Serval in June 2014, the second was my time as Volunteer Coordinator and getting to work with all of the volunteers and staff and last but not least, watching LTB continue to grow and help animals have a chance at a better life.”

Jill Gamache

Jill has been volunteering at LTB since 2008, when she made her volunteer debut with her husband Brain during our annual Wild in the Country event. Jill has worn many hats over the years, from coordinating volunteers to helping run some very successful special events, including LTB’s annual Spooky Campover. Jill is always here to lend a helping hand and share the work of the sanctuary to members of our community. When asked why she volunteers at LTB Jill says, “I volunteer to help make it happen and to support Bobbi and LTB in any way needed for the animals”

Favorite LTB Moment: “My favorite LTB moments are hanging out after an event, whether it be a camp over or the annual Wild in the Country fundraising, it is just so great to share the successes of the event with who have worked so hard to make it happen.”

Di Goldschmidt

Di has been an LTB volunteer since 2003. As a professional graphic designer, Di donates her time and talent to LTB in the form of all things related to the creation of marketing, educational and promotional materials. She works her creative magic to design all of LTB’s newsletters and marketing related materials. As an avid animal lover, Di has an eye for transpiring LTB’s mission and rescued animals’ stories into beautiful action inspiring pieces to share with our members and supporters.

Favorite LTB Moment: Di’s favorite part of LTB is the animals! “My all time favorite was the wonderful RAJA. I loved watching him play with his boomer-ball in his pool, just like he was a cub. But CONGA has always been a close second… from the time she was a rambunctious cub to the graceful-goofy supermodel that she is today.”

Gloria “Glo” McCollum

Glo orginally got involved with LTB when she became a member. After realizing she could take her support of the sanctuary one step further by becoming a volunteer, she was ecstatic. Glo started volunteering back in 2008, and has been our Animal Encounter Ambassador ever since. Glo’s favorite part of volunteering at LTB is being close to the ranch animals and sharing their stories. Every Saturday when Glo arrives on the ranch you will hear her animal friends greet her with whinnies and baas from atop the hill. Glo says “LTB is my happy place, and my escape from the real world.” When asked what she would say to anyone contemplating becoming a volunteer at the sanctuary, Glo replies “I would say, if you don’t mind getting your fingernails a bit dirty and you enjoy the outdoors and being surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful animals, than this is definitely the place to be.”

Favorite LTB Moment: “I love getting kisses from Frick the llama. My signature line is -You haven’t lived until you’ve been kissed by a llama.”

Michele Moberg

Michele has been an LTB volunteers since 2014. Michele leads our member visits, and does an incredible job sharing the stories of our rescued animals. She has always had a heart for neglected and abused animals, and wanted to help make a difference so she got involved. When asked about her volunteer experience at LTB, Michele says “Not only is it a very fulfilling experience, but the animals need us! Bobbi has been a tireless champion for animals victimized by the exotic animal trade and we are blessed to have the opportunity to help her give these animals a chance to heal, a forever home and watch them go from victims to victors!”
Fav Moment: “Really, One favorite moment!? From the awe that I felt my first day, to the excitement I feel every Friday when I volunteer. From the sweet kisses from Jack and Spirit to the commanding ferocity of Bakari. From the incredibly unexpected gentleness of a grizzly to the funny “nom, nom, nom” noises Natasha makes when she eats. From seeing a very old and disabled Phevos playfully running along the fence next to a very young, healthy Maverick. Seeing a leopard leap, a Serval’s beauty, Meatball eating at a picnic table, walking Himalayans and the majesty of a mountain lion, they are all my favorite moments!”

Barbara “Barb” Swisher

Barb has been an LTB volunteer since 2008. Animals are her passion, and are the driving force behind her volunteer service at LTB. Barb first got involved with LTB after hearing about the sanctuary while volunteering at a local dog rescue group. Being the animal lover, she is, Barb knew she wanted to get involved – and hasn’t looked back since. Barb is always here to lend a helping hand and share LTB with everyone and anyone. When reflecting on her time as an LTB volunteer, Barb says “Volunteering at LTB has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not just because of the animals, but also because of the people. The memories I have formed over the years with the volunteers, members and guests is priceless. I volunteer at LTB because, I love being a part of something so great. Something so important.”

Favorite LTB Moment: “By far my favorite moment or experience was getting to go with Bobbi to Colorado. To take the bears. Animals have always been my passion! I love doing the sleepovers. I’ve done everyone for a lot of years now.”

Sam Theodore

Sam has been an LTB Volunteer since 2010. He keeps busy building and maintaining the structural foundations of the living spaces for our ever-growing family of animals, exotic and domestic alike. His handyman skills are essential to LTB because there is always something that needs to be done. Sam chooses to dedicate his time to LTB because of his desire to help the animals. He enjoys being part of an organization that helps animals on a larger scale. Overall, Sam believes that LTB is a good place for anyone to be involved.

Favorite LTB Moment: “My favorite moment was going to New York on a rescue mission to save nine captive animals that were on the brink of being euthanized in 2014. I had participated in several rescues before this one, but I felt like this particular rescue was the best one yet from a logistics standpoint. Everything went smooth and came together perfectly, and best of all the animals’ lives were saved.”

Richard Weeks

Richard has the distinction of being Bobbi’s father and has been with LTB since the very beginning. When Bobbi first shared her vision to create the organization that would become LTB, “How can I help?” was the first thing that came to Richard’s mind. That question still motivates Richard to come to LTB each week to help tend to the rescued bears and ensure their habitats are a clean and safe place. Aside from supporting his daughter, Richard finds it worthwhile being with the animals and surrounded by like minded people who also have the animals best interest in mind. He takes pride in being a part of a family that gives these rescued animals a home for life.