Monday, February 22, 2010

Volunteering at a pet shelter

I love pets & I love to volunteer, so you would probably think that I've done volunteer work at an animal shelter before....not so much. There are a few reasons I haven't. One, I have some guilt that there are great animals out there to be adopted and my dogs have all been pure-bred. I of course have my reasons for getting pure-bred dogs. Second, I already have two dogs and CAN NOT have another! Not only would my mom kill me (yes, I'm 31, own my own home, live 4 hrs away, etc) but two is just the right amount for me. I have two hands - two dogs.

Well, a friend on facebook posted something the other day about the Half Way Home Animal Shelter and I just had to comment. He mentioned that not only do they need money but they need volunteer help. Long story short, I signed up to volunteer on Sunday to walk dogs. After a brief orientation and walk-thru (yes, I fell behind b/c I had to say hello to ALL the dogs - along with another gal) it was finally time for me to walk a dog! By this point it was around 130pm and about half the dogs had been taken outside. The first dog I took out was potty trained and peed for a good 5 mins! Who knows the last time he'd actually been outside (or when he'd go next!). These dogs were soooo sweet. They just wanted love and affection and a little fresh air (even though it was chilly and snowing). I felt bad I couldn't stay with each of them longer, but I wanted to give them all a chance to go outside!! When the shelter closed at 4pm and the volunteer coordinator told me and the last other volunteer we had to stop. We weren't 100% sure all the dogs had been taken out!! I keep telling myself that they were all taken out and given some lovin. Of course we can't actually take them all out...there are rules. A dog must be over 9 months old to be taken outside (this is to make sure they don't catch anything) and they must also be at the shelter for 5 days before someone can take them out. (I kept telling myself the owners WOULD be there any minute to pick them up!).

Well, the point of my rambling is it was a good experience but I was sooo sad that these dogs don't get a chance to go outside but once a day - if they are lucky! It's up to volunteers to come in and take them out. If the workers have time, they do it, but I don't think they always have time. I will definitely try to go back again. Not sure if I can make it a weekly habit, but will do what I can. If you are interested, visit their website: to fill out a volunteer form. The more people that can help walk these dogs the better. AND of course, if you are looking for a great dog, they have a bunch!!