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A.D.O.P.T. Volunteer's Passion, Love for Animals Began During Infancy

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Lisle TribLocal
Linda Kane
September 27, 2011
A.D.O.P.T. volunteer Rochelle Storm says she grew up with dogs and cats in her East Grand Rapids Michigan childhood home. Now, years later Rochelle plays with feline friend Clevy in her suburban-Chicago home (photo courtesy of R. Storm).

Rochelle Storm, suburban-Chicago resident, says she has a picture of herself at about 10 months old in a playpen. Sounds like a typical baby picture. Nothing so unusual about that!

However, Rochelle is not alone. Joining her in the playpen are a dog and two cats.

Rochelle, originally from Michigan, says her family always had animals while she was growing up in East Grand Rapids.

“I’ve always gravitated toward animals,” said Rochelle, who moved to Naperville at age 11 when her dad received a promotion. “A lot of people [are drawn] toward soup kitchens or underprivileged children, and that’s wonderful. But this is where my heart drives me.”

And for the past 14-15 years, Rochelle’s passion for animals has driven her to volunteer at Naperville’s Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment (A.D.O.P.T.).

Once a week Rochelle visits A.D.O.P.T. to spend time with the shelter’s canine residents.

“She was a joy to see because she always had a smile, such a positive attitude and a steadfast dedication to the dogs,” said fellow volunteer Donna Picard, who saw Rochelle every Friday morning.

Picard, humane education coordinator, previously helped with A.D.O.P.T.’s medical area on Fridays when Rochelle volunteered. Picard says she watched as Rochelle did more than just take the dogs for walks.

“She would really spend time with them,” Picard said. “I mean [she would] sit outside on a bench and pet them and talk to them. It always seemed to me like she was letting them know how important they were, taking the time to really enjoy the walk with them, not just walk them down the street and back and move on to the next one.”

Rochelle, who will soon begin volunteering on Tuesday mornings instead of Friday mornings because of her work schedule, says that “you become buddies” with the animals.

“You feel so good,” Rochelle said. “These beings are just so worthy and deserving, and it’s like a springboard for the rest of the day, how great you feel after having interacted with them. “

A.D.O.P.T. President Sandy Boston agrees with Picard about Rochelle’s commitment and generosity. “For as long as I can recall, Rochelle has celebrated her birthday by getting her friends together and having them donate money or needed items to [the shelter],” Boston said. “[She] is truly selfless!”

Rochelle, herself a loving “mom” to a dog—Darby—and three cats—Jake, Clevy and Miggs—says A.D.O.P.T. is the only organization she volunteers with regularly.

“[Volunteering] is so rewarding,” she said. “You feel like you have spent your time well. You have the chance to spend your time in the company of these wonderful animals. They’re going to make you laugh, and they’re going to tug at your heartstrings.”

Rochelle says she enjoys watching her canine friends “breathing in the air [with] all [its] smells. They’re so peaceful; they’re not writing shopping lists in their heads [like humans]. They’re so in the moment.”

In addition, when animals first awaken, they stretch and get the blood flowing, feeding the spine, she added. “That’s a very wise thing they do—just naturally,” Rochelle said. “You learn so much [by] watching them.”

Now recalling the playpen picture, Rochelle says her affection for animals was probably something she was born with, although “[my] environment probably [played] a big part in it too.

“You can make a difference for a lot of animals in a day and make their day better,” she said. “[Volunteering] is one of the most important things I do.”

Do you love animals too? Want to make a difference? Go to and click on “Get Involved” for further information about volunteering with the shelter’s dogs and cats.

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