Tag Archives: volunteering

Adoption Success…Think Adoption First

My work schedule doesn’t always permit me to help out at the weekend adoption events. So I was very excited to have the chance to come out this weekend. It was loads of fun, particularly because 4 5 dogs found their forever homes, I left about 45 min before they wrapped things up, and another dog was adopted after I left. That means 5 out of 8 dogs we brought went to new homes!

We’re particularly excited because the shelter we are working with has relaxed some of their policies to allow us to work directly with them to adopt animals. Since they opened a new countywide shelter, I think they are just starting to feel out how these adoption events will best work.

Here are three of the lucky dogs who went home this weekend:

Adrian was an absolute angel of a puppy. Found as a stray, he was probably 4 months old, but already could sit, walked pretty well on a leash, didn’t jump on people when greeting them, played well with other dogs, and had a wonderful calm temperament. This dog would just curl up in your arms if you picked him up. The guy who took him home wanted a Rottweiler, but fell in love when this dog curled up on his feet and tugged on his heart strings.

Rocky, found with Adrian, wandering down the street, and assumed to be his brother. More high spirited, Rocky bounced around the store, but still curled up with a good cuddle. Stole the heart of another couple, when he melted in their arms. He went home to chase some cows on their farm.

Abby was a little older, but just beautiful and calm. A couple who’d been in to look at the puppies, came back and took this little girl home with them.

There was one sad moment. One of the other volunteers is fostering a pit bull who had been dropped off at the shelter with all her puppies, two of whom subsequently died. The people who had dumped the dog off on the shelter showed up at the adoption event, apparently wanting their dog back. Even though they’d been unable/unwilling to take care of their dog, they now expected to be able to get their dog back, now puppy free. Fortunately, as a foster, these neglectful owners will not be able to get this wonderful dog back. It was heartbreaking to see how happy she was to see them, and how callous they were to the suffering she and her puppies had experienced.


Did I do Any Good in the World Today…

So today I went out to the pet store to volunteer with the group I attended the meeting with a couple of weeks ago. Even though they had a lot of talk at the meeting about liability, there was no actual volunteer application or information gathering. So even if a dog I help find a home turns into a monster, I figure they can’t find me to sue me. Though after today this seems less important.

This Patriot the heeler mix up for adoption.

I arrived at the store a little before my 1 p.m. shift, and there were six crates and a wire pen set up. There were only three dogs though, two in crates and one on a lead. The large healer/akita mix was handed to me right as I walked up. An exuberant and happy dog, Patriot was smart and walked well on the leash. At first I thought that the group had already adopted out half of the dogs, but it turns out an accident on the freeway had left one volunteer with six dogs stranded in traffic.

photo of Min Pin by levantarmialma, sadly Freedom does not have a profile on the internet.

As the afternoon wore on, and the dogs finally showed up, we had a lot of people come and visit the dogs. I used my best library promoter voice to encourage people to adopt the adorable MinPin I took on, once she arrived. We walked the dogs through the store, showed off how well behaved and adorable they were, and we were turned down over and over again. After four hours in the store, we adopted one dog to a store employee and a cat from a different rescue group.

So since all but one of the animals we brought out went back to the shelter, was my time wasted, did I do any good today?

While walking around with an overweight MinPin balanced on my hip, I thought about this, while I talked with dozens of people I pondered if there wasn’t another purpose to our presence in the store. There are two parts to this.

This little boy was the only dog that found a new home today.

First, adoption events like this help educate people about the availability of adoptable dogs in shelters and with rescue groups. While the dogs we had at the store today might not be a good match, or now might not be a good time for bringing a dog home, we are spreading the news that there are dogs in shelters that are well behaved, healthy, and in need of homes. Several times I pointed people towards Petfinder.com as a good resource to find a dog of a specific breed. As I told people over and over about little Freedom, who was spayed, up-to-date on her shots, house trained, good with kids, dogs, cats, crowds, and just needed a little diet, I was really telling them that there are good dogs out there in shelters. I hope that my words will help them to choose to adopt next time.

Second, for four hours today little Freedom had just that: freedom. She was out of her crate nearly the whole time, carried or walked around the store, and loved on by everyone she met. Unlike some of the dogs, she was relaxed and happy, and would literally jump into the arms of the volunteers. To her, being out of the shelter, being with people, was a gift we can give her. Even though I can’t take her into my home (city law limits houses to two dogs), I can give her attention and affection. Many of the other dogs also benefited from socialization, affection, and exercise. It is true that these events can be stressful, but for many of the dogs the benefit out weighs the harm.

Petfinder Adopt-the-Internet Day So, I think I will continue to spend some small part of my time trying to help the dogs in some little way, and hopefully helping people see that there are good dogs out there to bring home. And I’ll encourage all of you to look on Petfinder for your next pet!

Peril’s of Volunteering

Gilly joined us when I volunteered at the Super Adoption Event

Ever since I adopted Meya, I have wanted to volunteer to help other dogs in need. Both of my dogs have hefty vet bills, so I can’t contribute much financially, but I’ve wanted to help out in other ways. I live in a medium sized town, that is about an hour away from the major city in the state, which is where most of the rescues and animal advocacy groups are located.

Last fall I drove down and volunteered at a huge adoption event, I worked the front gate, back gate, and even held a sign at the side of the road encouraging people to come. It was fun, but seemed disconnected from the dogs I wanted to help. Plus, twice a year doesn’t seem like a lot of help. So, last week I approached the group running the adoptions at the local Petsmart and asked if I could help. I didn’t hear from them until they showed up at the library to schedule the meeting room for a volunteer meeting. They encouraged me to attend the meeting.

As a new volunteer this meeting was eye opening. Rather then a rescue group, this is a group of concerned citizens from several different organizations who pull dogs from the county shelter to take to two pet stores where they hold adoption events through the oversight of another town’s shelter. Apparently this means the group has to answer to even more bosses, and open themselves to even more liability. Because this isn’t a rescue, the animals not adopted go back to the shelter and face being put to sleep. But as a new group, there is no set up adoption protocol for vetting adopters.

I’m still trying to figure out if this is the right avenue for volunteering for me. I’m no more of an expert then the others in this group, but the idea of being liable for years to come for the actions of a dog I see for an hour at an adoption event is scary. Really, before this, I’d thought the peril of volunteering would be falling in love with the animals, or taking one home with me.