Woof! Woof! Everyone, even you Tennessee Fans are encouraged to volunteer! Recently I visited the Athens Dog Pound, and again they are in need of volunteers. Whatever reason you find for being unable to volunteer, I encourage you to pray about it. Then write a list of what you think you can and cannot do. You know, we can’t pray enough, so pray some more.
Here are some realistic expectations if you volunteer at the pound. First, understand that you will be expected to clean kennels. It can range from scrubbing and spraying the kennel out, to just cleaning up poop. You may be asked to handle different animals such as cats and dogs. Some may come in with nothing wrong with them and win your heart. Others may come in diseased, starved, beaten, and severely maimed, perhaps making you cringe away from them. Those that do, need the love you give just as much as the others.
Second, I will warn you, volunteering for the pound can be a very thankless job. But, you are there for the animals, not the people, and when you get rattled or upset, remember this.
Third, remember everyone thinks differently, because Our Heavenly Father made everyone different. You are going to see people crying and surrendering their animals for various reasons. But, you will see the cold and callous people who don’t care either way. It is better that those who don’t care come to the pound, rather than exterminate the animal themselves. At least, at the pound the animal will be treated with respect and love.
Fourth, the hours can require long and tireless patience. During feeding times, there is probably going to be chaos because of so many mouths to feed. If you enter the kennels to place food, you may find yourself being jumped on. They are only happy to see someone, (and the food is a bonus,) so try not to be upset.
Fifth, wear clothes to work in, and not to look pretty. Ever see someone who went in the yard with an all too happy, affection starved dog? Usually they return from the encounter with paw prints all over them.
Lastly, listen to Priscilla, the Director. She has a huge heart for these animals. It is the team she has built that makes the pound so bearable to many of the animals. After you get home from your time commitment at the pound, always change clothing before interacting with your “canine family members,” and those “wonderful felines.” That way, you’ll keep your furry family free from illness, and know that you have helped ones that don’t have a family…yet.
“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel and Zues Allen
Professional Dog Trainer and Service Dog