BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Bucky Long has been a volunteer at Kern County Animal Services for almost seven years.
He started off cleaning dishes and working with the dog kennels.
“I came over here. I held a cat named Francine and I fell in love," he said.
And he hasn’t left since.
“It’s all cats, all the time," said Bucky. “They’re like my little fur kids.”
He’s so dedicated to his feline friends that he was walking from Oildale at least three days a week to get to them.
Community engagement coordinator Berkely Hanley wanted to do something about that.
"Bucky is one of our most valued volunteers. Everyone on staff really, really loves him and especially [because] we know it's going to get very hot very soon, we wanted him to have an alternative, and for him to understand that we really value what he does for us and him as a person,” she said.
So with help from the Friends of Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation, KCAS gifted Bucky with six months worth of bus passes.
"She surprised me. I mean, I’m not usually speechless but…" he laughed. "They even got a picture of me and I actually smiled."
He said he’s excited to use the bus passes, but what he truly appreciates in the end is all the support over the years.
“The situation I came from was kind of bad. People thought because I had anxiety, that 'Oh, you can’t do anything,'" said Bucky. "But when I came here, I achieved almost everything [so] if you have really bad anxiety and you want to get out of the house, come here and we’ll take care of you. It’s really nice.”
If you're interested in volunteering with the shelter, click here to learn more.