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Animal shelter volunteer

Animal Shelters do really hard work. November 7 – 13 is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week for 2020. It is the humble opinion of this writer that one week of recognition is not nearly enough for these hard working people. I know how hard they work and we all absolutely need to show them some love!

Not the Dog Catcher Anymore

There was a time when people who worked in animal sheltering were looked upon as nothing more than “dog catchers.” They caught stray pets and took them to the “pound.” While at the pound animals languished in cages until they were euthanized.

Animal sheltering is vastly different now. Animal shelters and their workers provide care and a safe haven for lost, abandoned, sometimes injured and unwanted pets.

Shelters vs. Rescues

Private rescues now take on the task of sheltering right along with actual animal shelters. Government municipalities operate animal shelters and private organizations often operate rescues. Many rescues operate with the use of foster homes.

Foster homes are the most needed commodity. Unfortunately, foster homes are usually in the shortest supply. Foster “parents” care for homeless animals in their homes until the animal is adopted. This benefits future adopters in many ways.

  • Foster homes socialize animals with people and sometimes with other animals.
  • Foster homes provide house training. This would be much more difficult in an animal shelter environment.
  • Being in a foster home also allows them to receive some behavior training.
  • Being in a foster home allows the foster family to learn the likes and dislikes of the pet which they can pass along to the adopter.

All of these things can make for a more successful adoption. Fostering can be a lot of work on the part of foster parent and certainly warrants appreciation. In spite of the work, nothing beats the satisfaction of knowing your foster pet got his forever home because of the work you did!

Who Are These Workers?

Some shelter workers earn a salary to care for the animals in their charge. You may not know that many if not most who care for these animals are volunteers! It may surprise some but people volunteer to make the lives of animals better. This is certainly cause for appreciation and celebration!

Organizations like the Helotes Humane Society consist of mostly volunteers. Volunteers are the only way organizations like these survive.

What Can You Do To Help?

If you want to help, get involved. Being involved and committed is a great way to show your appreciation for the hard work that happens at animal shelters. Call you local animal shelter or visit their website to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Most animal shelters have opportunities for volunteers that include

  • Fostering animals
  • Helping with fundraisers
  • Helping at public events
  • Picking up donations
  • Sorting donated items
  • Walking/bathing/training dogs
  • Helping at adoption events

If you do not want to volunteer, donate! Donating is another great way to not only show appreciation but also to support the organization.

COVID-19 and Animal Shelters

If you are even considering supporting your local animal shelter or rescue there has never been a better time!

The pandemic affected rescues negatively. Because of the need for social distancing, adoption events did not take place regularly. Fundraising has also been limited because of the pandemic. Now is the time to support and donate to these amazing organizations that do the community’s work with animals.

San Antonio Animal Shelters are Getting Some Help

The city of San Antonio recently passed a law to allow the sale of only rescued dogs and cats at pet stores starting in January 2021. This will allow pet stores to have rescued pets for adoption.

Hopefully this law will help more homeless pets get adopted. If you are looking for a new best friend, please consider rescuing a pet in need. After all, this is also a great way to show your gratitude to all the animal shelter workers and volunteers out there.