All of our volunteer teams play an important role in the care, sanctuary or journey of our dogs…homeward bound. We thought it would be helpful to share the rewards, as well as the challenges of our efforts which can be both emotionally and physically demanding – but also incredibly fulfilling. Here is a view into the work of our dedicated Dog Walker Team for those considering joining.
Members of our team interact with the dogs on a very personal level which begins with meeting the dogs in the kennels. Few rescues are fortunate enough to have a facility to house their animals. While we all want to see the dogs in homes as quickly as possible, the kennels provide us with critical shelter, literally saving lives. Having a safe haven for the dogs give us time to do assessments, deal with any medical issues, and address any behavioral issues or training needs in order to make them more adoptable.
When the dogs have been fed, walked and played with, they settle in quietly. But when the Dog Walkers or the Feeders arrive – well, let’s just say it can get pretty loud! While we place a big emphasis on cleanliness – dogs are dogs and there will be accidents. So please be prepared for sometimes less than “springtime fresh”. Your first trip in the kennels can be a bit overwhelming, but the role you play in their lives is critical to their successful adoption.
We take every new dog walker through a comprehensive training, and we follow that up with regular updates and monthly meetings. You will not just be contributing to their journey home – you will likely become a more knowledgeable and confident dog handler in the process.
We rate dogs as green (easy), yellow (some needs), blue (need to be assessed) or red (behavioral challenges). You can progress as far as you want in your skill level with guidance from our team leads.
No – not every Golden (or golden mix) arrives as a loveable giant lap dog. While some dogs are surrendered simply because someone’s life circumstance changed; others are truly rescued and have had less than positive experiences which have left emotional scars that we work to address. Some have never been taught to walk on a leash, some are reluctant to trust, some are young and/or a bit wild, and some are old or ill and just need to be loved.
Most importantly – they are grateful for you. As a volunteer, you choose to do what you are comfortable doing. It’s not necessary to interact with each dog. Volunteers can spend time with the easy dogs or take on the more challenging ones. You can get cozy with the old-timers or run around with the youngsters.
Grooming is always needed. Poop always needs to be scooped in the yards. Most importantly, socialization, basic skills training and companionship is the best way to help our pups on their journey home.
Whatever way you wish to contribute, the rewards are tremendous. You can help our dogs prepare and progress; you can keep them company while they wait. Finally that big day comes; you give your canine friend a hug and watch him drive off to his fur-ever home. Your heart skips a beat, and that’s when you know it was all worthwhile.
We have lots of niches. You can find yours on the Dog Walker Team.