One of the great things about having a three day weekend is the ability to go to the shelter twice, and still have a day to get all my stuff done. Yesterday we had 13 volunteers, so it was Happy Days for the dogs. Everyone walked, pooped and peed, and many got time in the play pens, as well as seeing their favorite humans who spoil them.
Today no such luck. Far far fewer people and the same number of dogs to get out. So I walked more than usual; 19! Still, somehow most of those got to play for at least a few minutes, and I fed all the thin ones and gave out tasty chicken bits (I use a roasted chicken each week for the shelter). All volunteers have their things they do for the dogs. I like to check that the arthritic dogs have blankets and I have a thing about making sure all the water buckets are filled (dogs are notorious for playing with them and spilling the water). One volunteer paid for the higher priced water buckets so we could clip them to the cage walls instead of letting them be footballs. A few volunteers organize getting us the blankets, which we always need and especially so now that it's cold. One volunteer does handy-man work at the shelter, which is over 50 years old and needs a lot of work. The other day he spent many hours working just on the doors that separate the outside and inside of the big-dog runs (which, if they don't close properly, makes the shelter lose heat and our babies be cold). One volunteer buys dog food on sale, makes meat for the thin dogs, and collects blankets from people she knows, which I pick up and bring in. Other volunteers run a flea market with donated household items, and we use the money for medical operations that a municipal kill-shelter cannot justify (though we are low-kill). This week a dog with cherry eye, which has some technical term, I'm sure, and is painful, will be operated on.
I normally end the day giving out treats to the dogs in the runs (big dogs, big pens), and give about six to ten chew bones. I alternate between dogs that I know really enjoy them. Other volunteers give out blankets or sheets. Dogs love having something to lean on. The new beds that were donated (and organized by a volunteer) were a Godsend. How nice it is to see the dogs have something new. And they are holding up really well. Another volunteer spent $113 of her own money buying ice melt that won't hurt the dogs' feet. And today a volunteer's student from school came in and brought three new beds and three bags of treats. One person takes nice pictures of the dogs and manages our Petfinder pages, as well as coordinates all adoptions. We have three or so other volunteers that act as trainers for difficult dogs, and who walk around with someone considering a certain dog, to give them pointers and training tips.
Yet another whole group of volunteers manage the community events that raise awareness and money for the shelter: golf tournaments, flea markets, silver teas, silent auctions, and another event I will post about soon, at a local hair salon, which will benefit the shelter.
Those are just a few things that go on. As unglamorous as the place it, people (staff and volunteers alike) all really chip in to get the animals taken care of. I might be a bit of a Pollyanna, but that's what I see.