CASA GRANDE (3TV/CBS5) -- Chuck Avery is a professional dog trainer who donates his time and expertise teaching unwanted and aggressive dogs how to behave. "We go through desensitization with them and also walk through all the basic manners of when something happens and what is their reaction going to be," said Avery.
Every morning, six days a week, you'll find Avery at the Valley Humane Society in Casa Grande, volunteering his time to help troubled pups learn the skills they need so a family will adopt them.
"That's the most rewarding part for me, knowing that these lives, that they're alive, that I'm helping people meet their new family member for years to come," said Avery.
Five years ago, Avery was diagnosed with lymphoma and given only a few years to live. He said that training dogs is like therapy, helping him fight through the pain of his deadly disease, while saving hundreds of dogs from being euthanized.
Fellow Humane Society volunteer Shelley Novotny has seen how devoted Avery is to rehabilitate dogs. spending so much of his time and money, while dealing with a life-threatening illness.
"He never complains, he just never brings that about himself, it's always about the animals and never about Chuck," said Novotny. "It's always about animals and getting them safe, forever homes."
Novotny reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Avery and give him a $500 gift card. A CBS 5 news camera was rolling for the big surprise. "With us being a non-profit and no government funding, we wouldn't be able to save all the the dogs that we do without you providing the training for dogs that we get," said Novotny. "You're so special with the training, not only training dogs, but training volunteers how to handle dogs for people who adopt dogs providing free training."
"On behalf of the Valley Humane Society and Channel 5 Pay it Forward program, we would like to present you this $500 gift card," said Novotny.
"Even though he doesn't feel well himself, he's always here. Hee cares about the dogs," said Novotny.