Helping animals live their best lives

This is the time of year when we reflect on gratitude and say thank you to those who deserve it throughout the year. Seattle Animal Shelter volunteers are one of them.

Whether they spend time walking dogs, welcoming animals, cleaning, fundraising, or helping with adoptions, volunteers are the ones who make the path shorter and easier for pets in search. of their home forever.

In the past 10 months alone, volunteers have worked about 7,500 hours in total, or about 25 hours per day, each day of 2021. And that doesn’t include all the time spent caring for the animals. So far this year, 531 animals have each spent an average of 51 days in one of the 254 foster homes.

Steph Renaud, the shelter volunteer and foster care coordinator, said volunteers are essential in the adoption process, especially for foster animals.

“Behind the scenes, dozens of people are working to help our animals, including our foster families. They are rock stars, ”said Renaud. “They greatly facilitate the adoption of animals because they are less stressed, more relaxed and better socialized. They get more love and enrichment from playing and engaging with people.

Foster parents look after the animals at home until they are adopted. They also help potential adopters meet and learn more about their foster animal so they can decide if this is a good match. Some host families have kept dozens of animals for many years and others are brand new. Still others have special skills in animal care.

“There are special foster families who are well equipped to take care of ‘babies’, very young puppies and kittens without their moms who have to be fed every two to three hours for weeks,” Renaud said. . “They must be placed with a host family because the staff is not available 24 hours a day. Other foster homes specialize in animals with special medical or behavioral needs.

Besides welcoming animals, the volunteers also offer two walks a day for each dog in the shelter, as well as behavioral training, extra love and enrichment by playing and engaging with people.

“We really couldn’t do what we do without the many dedicated volunteers. The staff take care of the essentials and make sure the animals are healthy and fed, but the volunteers make sure their lives are as good as they can be, ”said Renaud.

The shelter welcomes those interested in providing foster care, especially those who wish to learn and practice dog behavior training. And there are plenty of other ways to get involved.

  • Dog walkers take dogs out of the neighborhood shelter twice a day
  • The Get Fit with Fido team takes the high-energy dogs for races three times a week
  • The Sunday Morning Outings Team take dogs for extended weekly outings in the park
  • Canine Behavior Team Hold Behavior Modification Training With More Challenging Dogs
  • Helpers at the shelter do the laundry, do the dishes, keep our supplies organized, and prepare enrichment treats for the animals
  • 9 Lives, Team Shy Cat and Team Critter provide hugs, play and enrichment to our shelter cats and critters
  • Team leaders help with communication, planning, training, support, answering questions and more. Our foster managers and support teams match available foster homes with our animals, coordinate pickups, answer questions and provide support to foster parents, help write and take pictures of animals for the website, coordinate and schedule potential adopters, and schedule and train new foster parents.
  • The Pet Loss Support Group has trained volunteer animators who help those who mourn their beloved pets
  • Volunteer gardeners plant, water, weed and maintain our Interbay P-Patch plot, growing vegetables and herbs for our animals to eat and explore
  • Pet Food Bank volunteers make appointments for those in need and distribute food
  • Support and administrative volunteers help orient new volunteers, keep our kitten and puppy kits stocked and ready, deliver donations and complete many other behind-the-scenes projects.
  • The cat follow-up team contacts each cat adopter to see how things are going and if they have any questions or need help
  • Foster families provide comfortable homes away from the stress of shelter, food, play time, enrichment, medication and love for our animals.

If you want to make a difference in the New Year, consider volunteering at the Seattle Animal Shelter. Find out more.

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