In 1998, I decided to go to the Buddy Dog Humane Society because I thought I would like to volunteer. I walked through the kennels and walked out without signing up; I was convinced I could never do it. I would be too upset at all the homeless animals there.
A few months later, the idea kept gnawing at me. I decided to go back again; this time with a different attitude…if I truly wanted to make a difference, I’d better get over it, and deal!
I’ve been involved with that shelter ever since 1999 in many capacities. Dog walking; doing some behavior work with some of the dogs; doing programs, presentations and talks on behalf of the shelter; and since 2008, being on their Board of Trustees. I even did a live TV segment for over 10 years on New England Cable News once or twice a month for their “Adopt A Pet Segment”. It gave me a chance to showcase some of our dogs and cats who needed extra visibility or who didn’t present well in the shelter and were being over-looked.
You may say, “I could never do it, I would want to take them all home”…yes, you probably will. You may think you will be too sad. Yes, there will be days when the plight of animals will be overwhelmingly sad. The hardest lesson I have learned at the shelter is that you can’t save them all, but you sure can try; and you can determine to never stop trying.
If you are still not convinced, keep in mind there are peripheral activities you can do to help a shelter and its residents. You can help with fund raising on either a large or a small scale, you can help with mailings, and you can collect items the shelter needs to have on a regular basis. Shelters have lists of things they need on a regular basis; you can get the lists by stopping by the shelter or from their website.
Here’s an example of a peripheral activity…one of the Adopt A Pet Segment hosts I worked with at NECN had a daughter who asked for donations for Buddy Dog instead of gifts for herself at her birthday party every year. Now that’s a shelter fan!
Don’t let fear stand in the way of your doing good. There is always something you can do to help your local shelter that will fit with your time, your skill set and your personality. I strongly encourage you to give it a try!
To Your Dog’s Good Health!