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How can I Help? Volunteering with C.A.R.E.

We rely on the generosity and giving spirit of our volunteers. There’s lots to do at the Adoption Center, and the work our amazing volunteers do frees up our Adoption Counselors to carry out our most important task – placing animals in their fur-ever homes. We have a great group of dedicated volunteers, but there are still opportunities for those that would like to get involved! Whether you want to help at the Adoption Center with cats, dogs, or both, or help at events, take dogs off-site for socialization and exercise, foster an animal in your home, or lend your special talents to our cause, C.A.R.E. truly has an opportunity for everyone. In fact, we have 14 different volunteer programs!

This week for our C.A.R.E. blog, our all-star volunteer and college student, Tayler D., gives a firsthand account of her experience as a C.A.R.E. volunteer. Go ahead, Tayler…

Though every week brings new faces to the Adoption Center, volunteering at a shelter isn't all cuddles and kisses (although you do get your fair share of cuddles and kisses!); keeping our babies happy and cared for also requires helping with things such as laundry, dishes, feeding, walking, room cleaning, and more on a day-to-day basis.

As a self-proclaimed "dog person," I spend most of my time on the dog side of the Adoption Center. Just about every shift starts off with walking dogs, and if that's already being done, I'll go check for laundry and dishes, or check rooms for any accidents that need cleaning. Walking dogs is a great way to get to know each individual personality, as most dogs will either open up or calm down as soon as they're outside. Some dogs will walk calmly beside you while others will tug towards every leaf that blows by. Some will do their business and head right back inside and others will prolong their walk as long as possible. The C.A.R.E. Adoption Counselors typically do the feeding as they're more aware of each dog's needs. Volunteers help with removing bowls, keeping water bowls full, and sometimes sitting with a dog while they eat to calm their anxiety. Letting dishes soak after feeding is fine, but cleaning them right away helps keep the space clean and ready. Laundry is a constant, as we need clean beds, blankets, and toys on both the cat and dog side.

The cat side is "simpler" to take care of in terms of not needing to take the cats on walks every 2 hours, but it does require the skill of working with a cat on your back, shoulders, or lap at any given time. Cats need their litter boxes to be cleaned and changed often, especially when one room is housing 6+ cats at once. Some cats may require special feeding instructions. These cats are typically peacefully recovering from surgeries and illness, but again, the Adoption counselors will take care of it! Regardless of their current rooming situation, most dogs and cats want nothing more than to cuddle and play, and getting things taken care of around the shelter means more time to sit, cuddle, and play!

Sitting with the cats typically means one on your lap, one trying to sit on your shoulder, one clawing at your shoelaces, and two sound asleep in a cat tree. Half will cuddle, and half will play, and all of them show their love and appreciation. The dogs’ rooms are perfect for cuddling and playing with small dogs, but you'll be doing yourself a favor bringing large dogs to the playroom. It's easy to connect with many of the animals, including the small guys like rats, bunnies, ferrets, and birds, learning their personalities and rooting for their adoption into a safe and loving home.

Thank you so much, Tayler! If you're interested in volunteering with C.A.R.E., the first step is attending a volunteer orientation. We have two or three orientations each month, and dates can be found on our Events page on our website. At the orientation, we cover information on C.A.R.E., what volunteering entails, and how to safely handle the animals. We’ll provide the volunteer applications and waivers that need to be completed at orientation. We do allow court-appointed community service, but there are restrictions. I recommend contacting us before orientation to hear our policy.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope to see you at an upcoming orientation! :)


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