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I encourage everyone to volunteer and adopt from their local animal shelter. Your volunteering or adopting will help to enrich and improve the lives of these dogs while they wait to hopefully be adopted. After actively volunteering at animals shelters for over five years, I can personally attest to the fact that you will gain more from this experience than you could ever imagine
When you visit your local shelter to either adopt or volunteer, don’t be surprised if the dogs are barking, jumping, tearing up their blankets, etc. Please look at things from the other side of the cage…
Many dogs are kept in cages most of the day, which leads to pent up energy. Unfortunately most people do not understand this reality. As a result, dogs pay with their life – either by being euthanized or spending their entire life in a cage (missing out on being adopted).
If you’re looking to adopt, don’t judge a dog by the way they look or act in their cage. That is an unfair assessment that may cause you to misjudge and miss out on the right dog for you.
If you see a dog who is barking or becoming over excited, don’t lean over the cage and stare into their eyes, while saying to them “stop barking”. Dogs will misconstrue this as threatening. Instead, do not make direct eye contact and stand up right (avoid looming over the cage). Even standing at an angle, instead of head-on is best. This should also go without saying, but I see it happen several times a week, never put your fingers in the cage – regardless of how friendly the dog may seem.
Make sure to express your interest in volunteering or adopting with a staff member. Staff is usually very busy multitasking, so it’s best to approach them and ask about meeting a dog.
By taking a dog out for a walk, playing fetch, or simply sharing your affection and love, you help to relieve their energy, allow them to go to the bathroom, and make their day happy! Once the dog has been out of the cage for just a couple minutes, you can better see their true personality and loving character blossom through.
The love and affection you share will make a positive impact in improving their quality of life and drastically help their chance at adoption. So please, visit your local animal shelter to adopt or volunteer. YOU will be making a difference in helping to save a life, plus the sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction gained, will make your life so much better.
Westchester NY Dog Trainer Steve Reid, of S.R. Dog Training. Learn more about Steve at www.srdogtraining.com and www.Facebook.com/SRDogTraining.