Volunteer Spotlight : Lynn LaRussa and Her Ohhh so Sweet Golden Retriever, Honey.

TALES BLOG / Volunteer Spotlight: Lynn LaRussa

Lynn and Honey love to make people smile.


Hand in Paw veteran volunteer, Lynn LaRussa, began making a difference in the lives of many children and adults ten years ago after being encouraged by her mother-in-law to become involved. Lynn began her journey by serving Birmingham’s youth at the YMCA through our Sit, Stay, Read! initiative and at The Bell Center and The Exceptional Foundation. Her passion for Hand in Paw and our outreach grew as she saw the difference being made in the lives of the children that she served with her beloved Golden Retriever, Jackson.

Lynn now volunteers with her Golden Retriever, Honey. For three years the pair has been spreading joy to children and adults alike while visiting The Bell Center and The Bruno Cancer Center. Lynn says, “Honey knows when we are going on a visit by the yellow scarf she wears.” Though Honey gets very excited to volunteer, she maintains a very gentle and well-behaved disposition. Their dedication and enthusiasm make Lynn and Honey ideal stewards of Hand in Paw’s mission to improve human health and well-being through Animal-Assisted Therapy.

When asked to share a meaningful interaction she has witnessed during a Hand in Paw visit, Lynn told us the following:

“Honey visits The Bell Center for infants and The Bruno Cancer Center which serves primarily adults. Both serve individuals medically challenged in difference ways and at different stages of their lives. To me, it is a blessing every time I see the child focus on Honey and stroke her ears and [I] know she is stimulating their growth. At The Bruno Cancer Center bringing a smile to a patient or their family is a win for the day. Whether we visit with them for thirty seconds or ten minutes, I can see a change in their faces.”


Hand in Paw highly values committed volunteers like Lynn and Honey. Our organization depends on them to further our mission and deepen our impact on the communities we serve.


If you would like to volunteer with your animal, please visit the Volunteer With an Animal page on our site!