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Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Volunteering at an Animal Shelter


When I arrived to take pictures of adoptable pets at Cocheco Valley Humane Society last Friday this two year old Straffordshire Terrier, Bella, was in the lobby wagging her tail excitedly. I presumed she was going home with the two men who were sitting nearby but they were surrendering her instead. I didn't want to pry for details because I was already heartbroken for this happy girl and for the owners who may or may not have done everything they could to keep her. 




Before I left the building I stopped by to see how she was doing and although it was nice to see her still looking hopeful it broke my heart because she probably had no idea her owners left her forever. Poor girl! I hope her new owners arrive soon because she would be a lovely companion for them!

This incident made me realize that taking pictures of adoptable animals and posting them on-line as quickly as possible is the right job for me. I've often thought that working as an adoption counselor would be the perfect job for me but after witnessing Bella being surrendered at the shelter, I'm certain the adoption counselor position would be too heartbreaking. I'm sure I would go home in tears or with several animals in the back seat of my car in no time at all!

If you were a volunteer at a shelter what position would suit you? If you are an adoption counselor, what do you do to dissuade the heartbreak of seeing surrendered pets cross your path?

20 comments:

  1. We are just too soppy we couldn't bear it. We wish Bella a forever home soon. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. I hope she does too! She's adorable and so sweet!

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  2. If my MOM was...well lets just say we would have a house full. It's all she can do when we volunteer at the shelter to not bring home the doggies she walks and plays with.
    Blessings,
    Goose

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  3. I don't know if I could take the heartbreak.

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    1. It is very heartbreaking but somehow the workers at the shelters find a way to deal with the ups and downs of their positions. When I take pictures of adoptable pets or walk dogs I try to think of the good I am doing for them at the time and the fact that I am giving them a bit of relief and companionship for just a few moments and I'm sure they appreciate it.

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  4. I'm the foster coordinator for a dachshund rescue. Dogs in NH, MA, VT get surrendered to me ALL. THE. TIME. It breaks my heart every time it happens. I take solace in knowing that I have some amazing foster families to place these dogs in - and we have an extremely thorough application process for those wanting to adopt. Then, I get to post on our rescue's blog about every adopted dog and later a "happy tail" from the new family. The joy of a happy tail balances out the tears of surrenders.

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    1. Cole,

      I've been following your blog for some time now and I didn't realize you were a foster coordinator until you mentioned and I apologize for not knowing that. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I believe that every job has its ups and downs and now that I've read all of your responses on this subject I am sure I could be an adoption counselor.

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  5. It is their hopeful demeanour that absolutely breaks my heart!! I do hope Bella finds a loving home soon. I saw a news item today that in the UK the incidents of pets being abandoned has gone up exponentially. Thousands upon thousands of unwanted animals are just being dumped!! It is so very sad!

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    1. That is very sad that the rate of abandoned animals has gone up in the UK! How do people dump their animals without feeling guilty? Don't they realize they can drop them off at a shelter?

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  6. Aww she sure is cute! I've found that I really enjoy processing adoption applications of all things. I like learning about a potential adopter and helping them find a good match for their lifestyle, then setting the wheels in motion. Plus, you know, I'm a fan of training as well. But you clearly have a talent for pictures- you can see what a happy dog Bella is!

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    1. I hadn't thought about how much fun it would be to match applications to adopters but now that you have I think being an adoption counselor would be a rewarding experience. I'd just have to find a way to get past the heartache of seeing a pet waiting in the lobby to be checked into the shelter.

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  7. Any position would be hard for our mom cause she would take every buddy home
    Snorts,
    Benny & Lily

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    1. I agree with your mom! I want to take all of the animals home each time I visit them!

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  8. The best volunteer job at shelters around here is walking the dogs. Volunteers do their job rain or shine and the dogs get attention and exercise.

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    1. I walk dogs at the shelter as well and it is a very rewarding experience! They are all so very excited to get some exercise and some companionship!

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  9. I bet my human could hardly resist adopting a couple more kitties!
    Purrs

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    1. I can tell you that my mom has a hard time walking out of the shelter without another cat or dog in her arms, believe me!
      XOXO-Daisy

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