- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Starting to volunteer ..

August 26th, 2008, 02:58 PM
Last week I went to my orientation meeting with the local SPCA. They gave me a rundown of the shelter, and a DVD to watch (normally they have potential volunteers watch it at the shelter, but he let me take it home with me). He said a lot of people watch the video and decide they can't volunteer.

It was hosted by David Decoveny - err, that dude from the X Files - and it was a documentary on shelters. It follows a cat and a dog that go through the system. He told me to have some kleenex nearby, and I needed it! :cry: I was having an emotional day as it was, so it didn't help..

Anyway, I told him I'd do it anyway (and he called me crazy and brave). So next week I start dog walking in the mornings, and I'm going to help out with some events like a dog wash in a couple of weeks. I've never washed a dog before - but I'm ready to get soggy! :dog: I'm also going to host and emcee some events for him - as a DJ, it's an easy way to give them some publicity.

I'm just hoping I'll be able to do it.. They are an 'open' shelter, which means they cannot refuse any animal, which then also means they must euthanise some of the others to make room. I now understand this a little bit better - they mentioned that 'no kill' shelters aren't necessarily any better - because the dogs and cats that they allow into the shelter might not be adopted for 5 or 6 years, if ever, and so they are left to live their lives in cages.. Neither sounds great - I just wish there was a better way.

August 26th, 2008, 03:23 PM
thats exciting, i would really like to start volunteering too! But then i dont think i would have enough time for my own pup, which i couldnt do to him..unless they offered me a play date for him while i walk dogs :shrug:

you are such a great person for doing this. it will make their lives alot better, it may seems like a small thing, but a walk for a dog is just about the greatest thing you can do for stimultaes them tires them out, streches them nad it jsut relaxes them.

when do oyu start? hmm maybe some pictures will be in order :D

August 26th, 2008, 03:39 PM
Yeah, I don't have a dog of my own, so I have the luxury of being able to walk them - my kitties won't mind (I don't think :))

I guess I could have started this week, but I'm filling in for a coworker who's away, so my shift has changed and I wouldn't have time.. so I think I'll start on Tuesday ... ? Not really sure - I need to get back to him..

And I'll definitely take pictures.. But I'll hide them from my fiancÚ. Otherwise I think our household would end up getting a lot bigger :rolleyes:

August 26th, 2008, 03:52 PM
That's great phoozles! I've been doing the exact same thing for just over 2 years now and I really love it. At the beginning it takes some getting used to but then it becomes much easier. The dogs really appreciate the walks and most days I go home with doggy smell from all the licks they give me.

Way to go Phoozles! :highfive:

August 26th, 2008, 04:03 PM
Congrats phoozles! What a great thing to do !!! Wish I had time but with my group I sometimes think "I" need a volunteer.:D

August 26th, 2008, 04:20 PM
Phoozles,that's great,although I am sure there will be lots of tears.
You just have to remember the happiness you bring to the dogs and a few cuddles and hugs,so very important:dog:

Ford Girl
August 26th, 2008, 04:23 PM
Thats great news, the world needs more people to help the critters. I enjoy it. I found it hard at first and most people ask me..."dont you want to take them all home?" and I say no...I know thats not possible, but I do get attached to certain dogs. Some days its hard to be there, others you know you are making a difference. You do what you can do and its more then most people will...take solice in that, stay strong and enjoy it. I've cried, laughed, puked, grimmace, and felt overwhelming joy...all in one day. LOL!!

There are tears but I always felt that the animals who are eutherized are given a better chance and a better life in their time in the shelter then they ever would have with abusive owners or as strays.

Keep us posted.

August 27th, 2008, 01:17 PM
14+ you DO need a volunteer!

marko I didn't think about the doggy smell .. :yuck: Is it too late to back out? :p :laughing:

I'm hoping I don't get too emotionally involved, but at the same time, I want to help. I've always been prone to giving to SPCAs and the Humane Society over any other charity, so it'll be a good way to help out in my spare time.. And like you said, FordGirl, it's a much better situation for them than being out on the streets - at least this way they have a chance..

I'll definitely keep you posted on my adventures!

September 3rd, 2008, 11:38 AM
Well, today was my first day as a dog walker - and of course I pick a day that's stinkin' hot :rolleyes:

I have a bunch of blisters, but that's because I wasn't prepared - I'll have better shoes when I go back on Friday morning..

Wanna meet the pups I walked?

The first one was Lacy ( She's a tiny lab/terrier mix, but man is she strong! :laughing: She pulled me all the way down the street! Very hyper, but also quite cute..

The next guy I kinda fell in love with :lovestruck: Prince ( He was super sweet, didn't pull and was so happy to get walked. Apparently once he goes back in his cage he whines a little bit. :sad: If I was ready to get a dog, I would seriously consider this guy.. :cloud9:

And finally, sweet old Timber ( He's an older guy with some hip displasia, so he had a slight limp, but he was such a good boy. At first he was excited so he pulled a bit (and I got a lot of "who's walking who?" and "is your dog taking YOU for a walk" from pedestrians :rolleyes:), but afterwards he kept right by my side. :lovestruck:

I was sweaty and blistery when I was done, but it was fun, and I can't wait to go back on Friday. :dog:

(I think it's best that they are keeping me away from the cat area - I don't think I could handle the revolving door in that department :cry:)

September 3rd, 2008, 11:58 AM
Good for you, Phoozles! I bet those dogs appreciate every walk they get:lovestruck:.

I find it very difficult in the cat room :cry:, too many unwanted kitties.:sad:

September 3rd, 2008, 12:35 PM
Enjoy, Enjoy Phoozles, it's a great thing to do and you will get much satisfaction from it. How many times a week do you plan on going, it can get addictive. The dogs will love you for it :dog:

September 3rd, 2008, 12:45 PM
It was fun..

I think I'm going to go twice a week. This is a short week, so it's different, but starting next week I think I'll go Tuesdays and Thursdays. That frees up the rest of the week for any errands I need to do. :thumbs up

September 3rd, 2008, 12:54 PM
I used to go twice a week too, before Ethel had her driving licence but haven't done it for a couple of years now, don't really know why, I broke my hip and such but now everything is fine. You got me thinking maybe I should start again.

September 3rd, 2008, 01:24 PM
Yay Phoozles! I walk dogs at the local humane society and they are also an accept-everyone shelter. I wish it was a no-kill because that "kill" factor definitely is a hard one to deal with some days.

I look forward to my 2 hour shift each week - I get great exercise, laugh with some new and some familiar 4 legged buddies and I always fall in love with someone. I believe that walking lets the dogs blow off steam and in turn, makes their stay more enjoyable and makes them more ADOPTABLE.

There's lots of happy and sad tears shed though, that's for sure. The perfect home found, dogs recovering and flourishing away from their past lives but also lots of animals that are put down for no fault of their own (neglect, abuse, behavior problems that will need years of work with no resources :sad:), dogs surrendered for stupid reasons (she sheds, he's "untrainable" or the one that makes me want to kick the humans "we're having a baby" GRRRRR :frustrated:), dogs seized by animal peace officers from horrible circumstances (drug houses, bybs, matted so bad that he can't walk)... :(

Some days I feel exhausted when an especially sad story comes through. A lot of them make me think "What is WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!?!?" :wall:. Then I get a huge french kiss from a beautiful pooch who's finally getting the care they deserve at the humane society, and I remember all over again why I go.

Watch out - It's addictive. :) :dog: :) :dog:

September 3rd, 2008, 02:44 PM
I used to go twice a week too, before Ethel had her driving licence but haven't done it for a couple of years now, don't really know why, I broke my hip and such but now everything is fine. You got me thinking maybe I should start again.

It is a great way to get exercise and help out at the same time.. It especially works for me, because normally I get up at that time and do a half hour of cardio before work - now every other day I'll get two hours of cardio in by walking the pups! Of course, once the winter comes, we'll see how enthusiastic I am :o

September 3rd, 2008, 04:02 PM
Phoozles,wonderful doggies and I am sure they really appreciated you,did you find it hard bringing them back to there stalls(don;t know what else to call it:shrug:)
The cat-room,yes,you better stay away.
At our HS,there is even cat-cages at the reception-desk,I always leave there bawling,I know I could give the cats a great home,but I can't have any more.:cry:
That's what breaks my heart:sad:

September 3rd, 2008, 05:12 PM
Well, the first dog, Lacy, raced back to her pen, so I didn't feel too bad about her, and I tried not to give it too much thought, because I was too busy picking up one pup after dropping one off :dog: I'm glad I didn't linger and see Prince in his pen - if he looked sad my heart would have broken. :dog:

This place keeps their adoptable cats in the front as well - I did my best to walk by all the kitties fairly quickly - with all the cat madness going on in my house, I can't get invested in any others.. Poor things :sad:

September 12th, 2008, 11:54 AM
Good news!

Prince, the lab mix that I've been walking and fell in love with at the shelter is going to his new home! I knew that I couldn't take him with my crazy cat problems at home, so I mentioned him to my coworkers that have been looking for a dog for a few months now. They met him today and said that they will take him! :thumbs up
Now I can visit him in his new forever home! :lovestruck:

September 12th, 2008, 11:56 AM
That's wonderful!!! I love it when a pet finds a loving home.

September 12th, 2008, 12:30 PM
Only volunteering there a few days and already you're finding them homes! Good job, phoozles!!! :thumbs up You're an :angel:.

September 12th, 2008, 01:21 PM
Good news!

Prince, the lab mix that I've been walking and fell in love with at the shelter is going to his new home! I knew that I couldn't take him with my crazy cat problems at home, so I mentioned him to my coworkers that have been looking for a dog for a few months now. They met him today and said that they will take him! :thumbs up
Now I can visit him in his new forever home! :lovestruck:

See - you already made a difference in such a short time. Congrats and good for you!

September 12th, 2008, 01:25 PM
I was a dog walker for about 6 months and it became too much for me to handle. I would get so attached to some of the dogs in there and wanted to adopt them so bad but wasn't allowed because I was in an appartment. I think after crying all night every night for about 2 weeks straight I decided I just couldn't take it anymore. It is such a hard thing to have to do. I think it is so great that you are doing it, I wish I could try it again but I am no where near a shelter where I live now.

September 12th, 2008, 02:07 PM
I walked dogs for a bit too, but the caged cats at the front got me every day, I always left in tears. And the dogs too, most of them had the runs, were so unbelievable happy just to have someone touching them, it just broke my heart, especially when they just weren't there the next time, I didn't even want to ask, as the answer was usually not they found a good home.

I'll try it again, because I really did enjoy the time spent one on one with the dogs (never having a dog of my own it was really fun to learn how to walk them etc).... I just need to wait until I'm not already crying daily before I jump back in.

So good for you Phoozles... I bet those dogs are going to love having someone with such a big heart let them know they are loved, even if they never have a forever home. :lovestruck::2huggers: And the fact that you're already pimping them out well... that is just a win-win now isn't it?! ;)

September 12th, 2008, 02:16 PM
I understand that volunteering at shelters is not for everyone. It is very difficult and some of us may never get that 'tough skin' that some talk about.

Always keep in mind that you are making a difference. No matter what area you volunteer in - something good always comes out of it.

I used to work in the euthansia room. This will probably haunt me to my grave. What I can tell you however is that the animals went with love. I would hold them and talk softly in their ears. I knew that I could not prevent this from happening but I also knew that I could not ignore them because their fates were sealed.

I will carry some images with me forever. I must deal with these demons but I needed to be there (as strange as that may sound).

If volunteering is too difficult at a shelter the next option would be a rescue organization.

September 12th, 2008, 02:28 PM
The head of the shelter called me their sales coordinator - because another shelter dog is being adopted by a different coworker (but I can't take credit for that one).

The good news too is that one of the older ones, Lacy (the first dog I walked) might be getting adopted too - someone called about her yesterday so :fingerscr. She's about 8, so it's great to hear about someone taking a chance on an older pup.

I hate walking by the cat cages too - they just brought in a giant cage full of 5 week old kittens the other day, which means that they had to clear out that cage to make room :cry: They have more room for the dogs, so they aren't as much of a revolving door, which makes it easier for me. Most of the dogs here have the runs too, but they are just so happy, and like you krdahmer, I've never had a dog, so it's kind of neat to go for a walk with one.

I DO however need to find a good pair of shoes.. I walk them for 2 hours at a time, and by the end they are always blistered up and torn to shreds.. I've tried 3 pairs, and so far none of them workout.. Oh well, I'll keep on truckin'..

They're doing a dog wash fundraiser tomorrow, so I'll be helping out with that. I've never washed a dog before, so wish me luck! :D

September 12th, 2008, 02:35 PM
As for walking shoes, I stick with Teva's or Merrell's for outdoors... very sturdy long lasting shoes. The Teva's I really like as they have them for all weather, and there is arch support that you control with how tight you tie them. My Merrell's lasted me 5 years, and the teva's are going on about the same (well my indoor treadmill ones anyhow, my outdoor teva's are brand new still). I stopped buying the cheaper runners because I save money, but they don't last.... these I spend about $100 on but get many years out of them.