How can you be a great animal shelter volunteer?  Follow these five steps and you will become one.

1) You must be dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals you take care of in the shelter by giving them your love and kindness, showing them you care by taking care of them when they are sick and feeling left out, being their friend when they have lost their friend.

2) Make sure that they are fed and watered as per the instruction for the animal.  If an animal requires a special diet make sure that they only get the food that is recommended for that animal.

3) Take the time to play and walk with the animals.  Some animals require more vigorous work outs to keep them happy, others only require some petting and attention.  Take the time to know the animals you work with.

4) Once you know the animals read what other volunteers have said about the animals in their write-ups.  Keep track of what you notice about the animals and add your own information about each and every one.  Some of the items you can keep track of are:

  • How well they respond to voice command while playing
  • How well they walk around people and other animals
  • How well they play with other animals
  • Weather or not they adapt to having animals of other species around them (cat and dogs)
  • Weather or not they are approachable by other people

5) You must always be there at your appointed time because the animals depend upon you to be there.  An exceptional volunteer will also make time in their holidays to make sure that the animals are well taken care of.

So if you are thinking of becoming an animal shelter volunteer then the five items above will give you a clear idea of what is needed.  This is really what any animal needs weather or not it is at a shelter, in the home, or a stray.  They all need love and attention.

 

Animals in shelters typically come from a background of abuse and neglect. Sometimes these animals have little or no social skills with other animals or humans. Similar to humans, social skills with humans or other animals are vital.

What is socialization?

Socialization teaches dogs to interact with humans and other animals in a friendly manner. Those responsible for socializing dogs use different tactics and methods. Placing dogs in foster homes and forever homes requires they have certain socialization skills. The skills required depend on the makeup of those homes. Do the homes have children, other dogs, or other pets? How does the dog respond to children, males, females, and other animals?

Often times, animal shelters know little about the dogs in their care. Especially when the dogs are found abandoned. In these situations, how do you know what type of environment they will thrive in? The best shelters perform aggression testing to determine what social skills are in place and which need to be worked on.

Proper socialization decreases the dog’s stress and the chance of lashing out. Shelter dogs need to be introduced to socializing differently than a 3-week old puppy. Follow these steps for socializing your shelter dogs:

  1. Choose the right volunteer. Choose volunteers who are calm by nature. Anxiousness is easily detected by the dogs. If the volunteer is anxious or quick to yank on the leash, the dogs get scared.
  2. Introduce them to other shelter dogs. During the initial meetings keep both dogs on a loose leash. This gives the dogs chance to move freely to check out the surrounding environment. Keep the dogs about 8 feet apart to avoid a face to face meeting which many dogs don’t enjoy.
  3. Pay attention. Take notice of how the dogs react to one another. Look for signs of discomfort – stiff body, bared teeth, or growling. Maintain distance between the dogs in these situations or stop for the day if they don’t calm down.
  4. Introduce them to a group setting. After the dogs do well in the one on one introduction, they can be introduced to a group setting. Have the volunteer take the dog into a group environment on a leash. Drop the leash inside – give them chance to explore while still having a method to manage them. Take them off the leash after 20-30 minutes of good behavior. Continue to watch them for another 20- 30 minutes to make sure they remain calm.
  5. Slowly move them full-time to the group setting. Move new dogs into the group setting in stages. Let them stay for a few hours adding time every day until you work up to a full day with the other dogs.

1. ID your Pets! On the off chance that you lose your pet during the festivities, having your pet properly identified with an ID-tag, collar, and/or Micro-chip will make it much easier to reunite you and your furry friend.
2. Keep Pets Indoors. Loud noises and strange visitors can be very stressful for pets. Keep your pet in a quiet room away from noisy trick-or-treaters.
3. Candy is not for Pets! Chocolate and the artificial sweetener Xylitol can cause serious health problems for your pets. Keep candy away from cats and dogs.
4. Raisins are risky, too! Raisins and grapes can lead to kidney failure in dogs, and potentially other pets as well. Keep raisin packs away from your pets.
5. Guard your Gourds! Jack-o-lanterns are a tempting fire hazard for curious cats. Keep lit pumpkins out of reach of pets.
6. Hide Cords and Wires. Many Halloween decorations use extension cords and wires. Keep these cords out of pets reach to reduce fire hazard risk.
7. Glow Sticks are not Chew toys! Although they are non-toxic, the liquid inside of a glow stick can cause excessive salivation and discomfort for your pet. Make sure to properly dispose of glow sticks.
8. Candy Wrappers are not just a Nuisance. Watch out for discarded candy wrappers when taking your dog out for a walk in the days following Halloween. When swallowed, cellophane, foil, and plastic wrappers can cause bowel blockage.
9. Don’t Over Do the Disguise. Many pet owners like to dress-up their dog and/or cat in a cute pet costume for Halloween. Make sure that the outfit does not cause your pet to overheat, or present your pet with choking hazards from accessories.
10. Monitor your Pet’s Stress Level. If you have chosen to include your furry friend in the festivities, make sure to watch for signs of irritation or over-stimulation. If your dog or cat is showing signs of stress, get them to a safe, quiet location where they can relax.

Matching fur babies with their family members is a day that will change the lives of both forever. This day can come even sooner if you publicize the animal as much as possible. You can increase animal adoptions in easy, simple ways.

Online Viewing

Animal adoptions have proven to skyrocket once people can put a face to an animal and fall in love. Put each pet on your website so people can browse through and find the type of animals that interest them. Offer fun personality traits and any background information. Write attention catching, fun copy to draw people into each pet. Make sure the pet looks snazzy and that the picture showcases their personality. Besides you own website, register with PetFinder.com. This website helps thousands of pets find their soulmates each year.

Mobile Adoption Events
Getting pets in front of hundreds of hands waiting to pet them will help your adoption rates. You can set up these adoption events at any city gathering or festival to increase exposure. Hand out education material about adopting pets so people can see the benefits. Many people simply cannot resist petting a cute animal and just leaving the animal there watching as they walk away. It’s hard to turn down puppy dog eyes and a sweet kitty cat purr!

Television
Many local television networks offer spots about adoptable pets. Dress a few of the pets up in a cute “Adopt Me” attire and parade them on television. If you’ve ever seen any of the late night talk show’s animal spots, you know they are some of the most fun and popular segments. People can see the personality of the animals and connect which leads them to coming in to visit the pet for potential adoption.

Flyers

Take adorable pictures of the adoptable pets and print them on cardstock along with a playful biography. You can place these at the organization when people come to visit or you can pass the flyers out when you are out with the pets on a walk or playing outside. Ask local businesses if you can stick some of the cards in their windows or at the cashier counter so the pets get utmost exposure.

 

Many people are confused when it comes to animal shelters and animal rescues. While they are similar, there are also differences between the two.

Animal shelters are a place where people can take their animals when they can no longer care for them. Most animal shelters are funded either by the state or the government. These agencies help to pay for the building where the animals are housed, their food and water, and their day to day care as well as care by a licensed veterinarian. Most animal shelters will take in all animals that come to their door. Some shelters even have a drop area to leave animals when there are no staff on duty to check the animal in. Because most animal are accepted at shelters, the amount of animals that are up for adoption is great. Families who are looking for a new family pet have a wide variety of pets to choose from. The adoption process at shelters is usually very quick and easy. In many cases, families looking for a new pet can go home with the pet the very same day. Animal shelter are also the place that lost animals are taken to wait for their owners to come and claim them.

There are two types of shelters, no kill shelters and kill shelters. No kill shelters do not euthanize animals regardless of the amount of animals already in the shelter. A kill shelter will allow an animal to stay at the shelter for a specific period of time. If the animal was not adopted during that period, they will be euthanized in order to keep the population in the shelter down.

Animal rescues are more like foster homes for pets. Typically, animal rescues cater to specific breeds of dogs. Many dogs who are in animal rescues have problems. Some have been taken from abusive homes and have behavior problems, while others have medical problems or are very old. Because animal rescues house animals with problems, the adoption process is much more difficult. Most rescues require a long application process and require home visits so that they can see the environment where the animal will be living. The animal rescue needs to be sure that the animal will be happy and thrive in the environment in which they are placed. Also, all animal rescues are no kill rescues. If a pet does not get adopted, he will live out his days with the other animals at the rescue.

If you are looking for a pet, checking out both your local animal shelter and rescue is a good idea. Between the two, you are bound to find your new best friend.

What is Rescue Waggin?

June 17, 2014

It’s far too easy to fill animal shelters and rescue centers with unwanted and abandoned companion animals. So many dogs and cats desperately need homes; meanwhile, misinformed people continue to choose the puppy boutique over the Humane Society and the neighborhood breeder over your rescue group. If your county or city has an overpopulation problem, you probably can’t even imagine empty kennels or cages. Surprisingly, some facilities in the United States actually do have vacancies from time to time, and many have a greater demand for certain dogs.

That’s where the Rescue Waggin’ program comes in. Nonprofit PetSmart Charities found an original way to give homeless pets a second shot at finding a forever home; they added wheels to the adoption experience! In addition to giving Humane Society animals exposure in PetSmart stores and offering affordable spay/neuter clinics, the organization also runs this invaluable transportation rescue service. In 2004, the Rescue Waggin’ started transporting dogs to shelters where they were more likely to be adopted; partner shelters work together to make sure every dog finds a family.

Any shelter or pet rescue group can take advantage of the The Rescue Waggin’.  For example, if you have families on waiting lists but haven’t found the right matches for them yet, you could become a “destination partner” for the Rescue Waggin’. That means the bus would pick up dogs from a shelter somewhere else in the country, make sure they had the proper assessments, vaccinations, and other treatments, and then drop them off with you to find good homes for them.

Actor Josh Duhamel even teamed up with the organization to produce an original web series, “Rescue Waggin’: Tales from the Road”. At first glance, the show follows the happy journeys of homeless dogs and puppies who ride the Rescue Waggin’ to their forever homes. However, it doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of pet overpopulation, tackling everything from puppy mills to euthanasia statistics. In one episode of this eye-opening series, actress Kristen Bell even introduces her two rescue dogs and makes an emotional plea about the repercussions of buying from a breeder, rather than the Humane Society.

The Rescue Waggin’ is just one more example of people working together on behalf of animals, to spread awareness and save lives. The best part? 60,000 dogs are alive today because of it.

When you signed on as an employee, a volunteer or a member of the board of directors at your animal shelter no doubt your main concern was providing a valuable community service and taking care of animals in need.  You planned to use your time maximizing your organization’s resources to their best end. So, why are you spending precious time and energy reading about insurance?

In these difficult economic times, it is tempting to buy a cut-rate insurance policy or to skip insurance altogether when you are budgeting for a lean, non-profit.  Don’t fall to temptation. Insurance protection for an animal shelter is as important as providing healthy food for the animals.  Every person involved in or with your group needs and deserves the right kind of protection. Not providing thorough protection puts not only your organization but many individuals at risk.

Animal shelter insurance covers several things that are not covered by the average insurance policy.  When you are researching insurance ask the following questions:

  • Are all dog breeds covered?
  • Are volunteer accidents/injuries covered?
  • Are fostered and adopted animals covered?
  • Are special events and fundraisers covered?
  • Are vehicles owned by the shelter covered and who may drive them?
  • Are board directors and officers covered?

If these particular items are not covered, consider the risk a lawsuit poses to your organization’s finances and, perhaps, its very existence. Board directors and officers give much to your group in terms of time, financial support and community connections. If they are not covered by the organization’s insurance, their personal assets are at risk. Good employees and volunteers are difficult to find and train. They deserve to be covered in case of an accident. The same holds true for your foster parents and families who adopt animals from your shelter.

Searching for animal shelter insurance has no warm and fuzzy appeal yet, it might be the most important step you take toward protecting your shelter and helping it provide the best possible service to the animals and your community. If you are uncertain of your group’s current insurance situation don’t wait to bring it up at the next staff or board of directors meeting. Knowing you’re fully covered will give you the peace of mind to focus fully on your mission.

 

Obesity can be a problem with animals as much as it can be with humans. After all, many house pets have a tendency to eat, sleep and lay around, so animal obesity is quite common. This can lead to many health problems, and often an early death for the pets. For cats, there are many ways excessive weight gain can be prevented. Here are 5 steps to prevent animal obesity in cats.

1. Buy Special Cat Food.

There are numerous choices of cat food on the market, and they all serve different needs. For cats with weight problems, there are many choices. There is special diet cat food available that will help regulate a cat’s weight. Also, for strictly indoor cats, there are indoor formulas available by most major brands of pet foods.

2. Play With Your Cat.

While its true that cats sleep a lot, they also have their feisty, playful sides. Most of the time though, they are just waiting to be brought out by you. Buying some cat toys like a laser pointer, and any variation of a string on a stick will get your cat moving. This will ensure your fat cat will shed a few pounds.

3. Let Your Cat Outside.

You may be too busy to play with your cat, but there is a whole world out there for your kitty to explore. When you let your cat outside, they can run and play all they want, which is an excellent source of exercise. Of course, your location may not be ideal for your cat, so proceed with caution. Its also wise to put some flea medication, or at least a flea collar on them before letting them outside.

4. Don’t Feed Them People Food.

Some people may feed their cat table scraps, and this is bad for several reasons. Not only does it teach them bad habits, but it could be making them fat. You should discourage this behavior at all costs, as it will improve the quality of life for both you and your pet.

5. Take Them To The Vet.

Its possible you’re doing everything right in taking care of your cat, but its still obese. If you’ve tried everything but still have no results, the reasons for your cat’s weight gain could be beyond your control. Consulting your local veterinarian can give you some answers, as well as treatment options.

One way that pet owners often show their affection for their beloved pet is through food. However, they do not realize the detrimental impact that animal obesity may have on their pet’s health. Like humans, obesity in animals may diabetes, heart problems and arthritis. Therefore, it is important to take preventative measures to avoid animal obesity becoming an issue for your pet. If you are a dog owner, then here are five simple steps you can take to prevent your dog from becoming obese.

  1. Discuss calorie intake with your vet. Different sizes of dogs have different dietary requirements. The larger the dog the more calories they will need. It is important that you know exactly how much your dog needs.
  2. Plan an exercise routine. Exercise is a important part of general health and fitness. Dogs need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight, either through walking or through energetic play. Look at your daily routine and make a plan for when it is best to exercise your dog.
  3. Skip the snacks. While offering your dog healthy snacks as a reward or as an occasional treat is fine, giving them treats between meals on a regular basis or slipping them food off your dinner plate is not.
  4. Spread your dogs meals. If your dog seems hungry between meals, then give them more meals throughout the day but in smaller portions. This is similar to the human diet concept of eating little and often.
  5. Use a smaller bowl. There are some studies that have shown that if you have a large bowl you will feed your dog a larger amount of food than they need simply to fill the bowl. So, by using a smaller bowl you are more likely to feed your dog a realistic amount.

By following these five simple steps you are taking sensible precautions to avoid animal obesity and you are being a responsible pet owner. These tips will help to lower the risk of your dog suffering from a wide range of health problems that could affect their life span and quality of life.

One way that pet owners often show their affection for their beloved pet is through food. However, they do not realize the detrimental impact that animal obesity may have on their pet’s health. Like humans, obesity in animals may cause diabetes, heart problems and arthritis. Therefore, it is important to take preventative measures to avoid animal obesity becoming an issue for your pet. If you are a dog owner,  here are five simple steps you can take to prevent your dog from becoming obese.

1.    Discuss calorie intake with your vet. Different sizes of dogs have different dietary requirements. The larger the dog the more calories they will need. It is important that you know exactly how much your dog needs.

2.    Plan an exercise routine. Exercise is a important part of general health and fitness. Dogs need regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight, either through walking or through energetic play. Look at your daily routine and make a plan for when it is best to exercise your dog.

3.    Skip the snacks. While offering your dog healthy snacks as a reward or as an occasional treat is fine, giving them treats between meals on a regular basis or slipping them food off your dinner plate is not.

4.    Spread your dogs meals. If your dog seems hungry between meals, then give them more meals throughout the day but in smaller portions. This is similar to the human diet concept of eating little and often.

5.    Use a smaller bowl. There are some studies that have shown that if you have a large bowl you will feed your dog a larger amount of food than they need simply to fill the bowl. So, by using a smaller bowl you are more likely to feed your dog a realistic amount.

By following these five simple steps you are taking sensible precautions to avoid animal obesity and you are being a responsible pet owner. These tips will help to lower the risk of your dog suffering from a wide range of health problems that could affect their life span and quality of life.