This is a bit long, but if you have ever considered volunteering, please bear with me.
I began volunteering at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley early in 2014 after seeing a plea on this very Facebook page for dog walkers. I remember walking in that first time, hearing the dogs barking, thinking “What a sad place this is. All of these animals are here have nowhere else to go.” That is a sentiment I hear a lot while interacting with people during events. Most of the comments are similar to “I appreciate what you do because I know I would never be able to do it. I would be too sad” and “I couldn’t stand being around all of those animals. It’s so sad.” I understand that sentiment. I have been at that point myself several times. However, in my little more than two years of volunteering, an amazing thing has happened. I no longer automatically think of the shelter as a sad place, Instead, I think of it as a place of hope. Every single animal that finds its way to the HSOV is treated very well by some of the most caring people I have ever met. Whether it is the humane officer or dog warden bringing in a stray or abused animal or the kennel techs who work very hard every single day of the year to make sure the animals’ living conditions are good, every single person cares deeply about those animals. This is where the role of the volunteers comes in. Volunteers are the ones who choose to do the tasks that free up the staff so they can focus on their jobs. There are many things a volunteer can do to help out. Some of the tasks that come to mind are the following:
Walking dogs to get them out of their runs
Cuddling cats to get them out of their cages
Washing food bowls and other items
Washing blankets and bedding used by the animals
Simple building maintenance
Driving animals to rescues
Taking animals to community events for better exposure
As you can see from this far from complete list, there is a wide variety of ways to help at the HSOV. This brings me to my main point. Please don’t allow “It would be too sad” to be an excuse to not volunteer. That feeling doesn’t last. In fact, the longer you are there, and the more animals you see find their happy homes, the better and better you will feel. As I have mentioned, I now see the shelter as a place of hope. The first time a dog you are walking looks up at you with their thankful eyes or a cat cuddles up in your arms, you will see that hope first hand. The only thing those animals want is to be loved, and, as a volunteer, you can help with that until they find their forever home. Yes, there will be sad times. That is unfortunately inevitable. However, in the long run, the happy stories will far outweigh the sad. Volunteering truly makes a huge difference in those animal’s lives while they are at the HSOV. YOU can make a huge difference in the animal’s lives by volunteering. Won’t you please consider making a difference by volunteering at the HSOV?