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Volunteer Hero: Charlotte Aylor-Diaz

Charlotte Aylor-Diaz has undoubtedly saved hundreds of dogs with her hard work, dedication and passion. She’s advocated for canine organizations over 30 years, working with shelters, expanding rescue initiatives through her own nonprofit, and uniting organizations with a common mission.

Charlotte’s trained and certified nine of her own rescue dogs for therapy work. Together they’ve logged over 3,000 hours visiting group healthcare and educational facilities, volunteering for events, and participating in programs for seniors, veterans and children.

In 2009, Charlotte shared her expertise and helped develop Caregiver Canines®, the program Lynette Whiteman, CVCJ Executive Director, founded to bring certified therapy dogs into the homes of care receivers. “The main reason I got involved,” Charlotte said, “was the seniors living alone were so sad. Caregiver Canines® is unique and different, and provides a one-to one type of emotional therapy.”

Charlotte, her husband, Dan, and their certified therapy dogs, Diego and Dulcie, bring compassion and comfort into the homes of CVCJ care receivers and brighten their days. Their new addition and precious pup, ZuZu, is in basic training and on her way to joining the team. “I like that we see the same people,” Charlotte said. “We have the chance to connect, build relationships, become friends and make a sincere difference in their lives.”

“The matches with care receivers are the most important part of the program,” she continued. “You need a good fit. We visited Josephine regularly and she was one of Dan’s favorites. They both liked golf so he knew he could watch the games when we went to her house. She would invite all her friends over and turn our visits into big parties.”

Charlotte continues to help expand the Caregiver Canines® program. She speaks to graduates of the Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dog organization to recruit newly certified volunteers. She also secured a substantial donation when she was awarded a Volunteer Recognition Grant by her employer, Johnson & Johnson.

When asked about the key lesson she’s learned in life, Charlotte said, “It’s along the lines of a Ghandi quote but as it relates to an individual. Ghandi said: ‘the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’ I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she treats animals. I would like to leave them in a better world through a lasting legacy of change.”