In-Home Training for You & Your Dog

Volunteering

“Saving one dog may not change the world,
but the world will surely change for that one dog.”

Author unknown

Volunteering: You Can Make A Difference
                                                                                                       by Brian Kerchner

Millions of dogs remain homeless in the United States every year but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little bit of time and effort on our part, we can have an impact on the lives of those dogs. Now, you may be asking, “How can I help? I’m just one person.” Take it from someone who has helped saved hundreds of dogs: One person CAN make a difference. Here’s how…

There are a number of ways you can help homeless dogs either directly or indirectly. For starters, you can donate money. Monetary donations are critical to the continued operation of many SPCA groups, humane societies and rescue organizations, as oftentimes donations are their only means of financial support. You can also donate items to your local animal shelter. Typically they are in need of blankets, food, toys and cleaning products. Give them a call and ask them what they need.

Walking Banjo, a shelter dog
One thing most people don’t realize is that donating your TIME can have an even greater impact…and it’s free! You don’t have to purchase anything or collect anything or ask anyone for a donation. Just go to your local animal shelter and ask them how you can help. The staff there have a lot of work every day just like any other business—answering calls & emails, assisting people at the front desk, filing paperwork, keeping track of the animals taken in and adopted out, feeding all the animals and keeping them in good health, cleaning out the kennels, fundraising and so much more. There are many ways to volunteer your time, but the way I enjoy helping the most is by walking the dogs. Getting them outside for some fresh air and exercise! The dogs at an animal shelter are kenneled separately for health and safety reasons, but just like your dog at home, they need outdoor stimulation and interaction with others for their mental well-being. So the next time you go to your local shelter to drop off some food or old blankets, take a few minutes out of your day to walk one of the shelter dogs. You will make his day! (And I bet you’ll feel pretty good about it, too.)

Volunteering for a rescue group is also a great way to help dogs in need. Again, there are many ways to help such as: assist in managing some aspect of the rescue (organize events, help with fundraising, write grants, donate professional services such as legal advice); raise public awareness through advertising, seminars, and other media exposure; transport dogs to and from vet appointments or to and from adoption events; make phone calls to check references for potential adopters and to follow up with families who have already adopted; and perform home checks by interviewing an applicant at her home to help ensure we’re adopting dogs to good families.

VGSR Adoption Event

In my opinion, the greatest way to help is to foster a dog. Being a foster parent is an incredibly rewarding experience. (It’s where I first realized that I could help dogs with behavioral issues.) Imagine…you get to help save a dog’s life! What could be more rewarding than that? It’s pretty simple: You take a dog into your home—maybe you know his background, maybe you don’t, maybe he was a stray, maybe he was surrendered by a family…you never know. You provide for him: food, shelter, safety, companionship, socialization and most important of all Leadership and exercise. You help him become the best dog he can be! Finally, you play an integral role in finding him a good adoptive family—a “forever home” in rescue speak. Most rescue groups pay for a foster dog’s vet bills and some even pay for the dog’s food, too.  And there’s a bonus: As soon as you find a good home for your foster dog, you can help another one in need by taking in a new foster dog. Yes, it’s a big responsibility but you’re giving a dog a second chance at a happy life. Without foster parents, thousands of dogs would still be homeless or unnecessarily euthanized each year.

Whether you donate money, toys or blankets to your local animal shelter, help raise public awareness about homeless dogs and responsible dog ownership, or take the big step and foster a dog in your home, you can help.

So please: Volunteer. You can make a difference.