You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
― Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
My experience with working with the Leon county Humane Society was unlike any other, it taught me many things along with gifting me the opportunity to lend a helping hand. I have worked with animal shelters in the past but this one was far more enjoyable, the staff was very open and friendly and all shared a mutual love for animals. Although cleaning cages, bathing dogs and making sure these animals receive the right amount of exercise may not seem appealing to others, it was the perfect little side work for me. At first it was hard to find time juggling work and school but right when u see those tails wagging because they’re finally interacting with someone and getting love makes it all worth it.
I chose to do this because even though human lives are more important when it comes to volunteering, I feel as though animals and the attention they need gets over looked. It’s more than just dropping off some clothes or food, you are giving your time and attention. Imagine sitting in a small cage all day with nothing, they can’t explore, there’s no interaction, and they are just simply waiting to be picked. Human interaction is so important in an animal’s life even if it seems minuscule, they are just like humans and because they can’t take care of themselves, they are forced to rely on people. They are helpless and innocent and all deserve some type of attention because believe me if they could talk I would be getting a whole lot of thankyous.
My tasks varied on what they needed that day, sometimes I would show people around the shelter and help them try to find their forever friend. Somedays I would just strictly be cleaning, those were the days I drank lots of coffee and tried to look at the bright side of picking up poop. I overall just cared for the needs of the animals making sure they got fed on time and had constant access to water, along with physical needs, I tended to their mental needs as well by playing with them and showing them attention. A little goes a long way when it comes to animals and even though it doesn’t seem too drastic, the younger dogs actually need the attention even more; it’s crucial for their development to interact with people. This will get them adjusted to humans and later make them more of a desired pick.
Through volunteering at this shelter I feel as though it has made me way more responsible for the future. Taking care of something/someone other than yourself also makes you very selfless. Another trait I took in from this all is the need to be patient with everything, there were days that I would clean and in 10 minutes later it would all be messed up again. This is key for the future, especially when you plan on having kids. From being in a veterinary assisting course for 4 years in high school, I already have a good amount of knowledge about animals but with volunteering here I learned a few more facts along with tips and tricks.
Although this doesn’t have a huge impact on the community, it still contributes in some way. I know the people that run the shelter greatly appreciated my help even if it was for a short period of time. It impacted a couple individuals by fulfilling their need for a companion when I helped them find their pet. With as many animals as there are abandoned and out there on the streets, any help at shelters would be appreciated and the community always benefits from that. Honestly what would the town be like if there was a whole bunch of wild dogs and cats all over the street scavenging through people’s garbage cans? The roles of the people at the shelter are all important in their own way and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to help. Aside from people, I know for a fact I made an impact on the furry community. Every time I went in there those animals were ecstatic for every little once of loving and care they received.
Lastly and most importantly the greatest outcome of volunteering here had to be adopting my very own little companion. An older lady had been given a dog by her daughter hoping it would make her happy due to the fact that her other dog had died. Unfortunately she said she is too old and the dog is too much work/going to be too big and she went to the shelter to see what she could do. It was my lucky day, the dog she couldn’t handle was the perfect dog for me. I’m forever grateful for this experience because it taught me many traits, I was able to give back to the community and it introduced me to my very own puppy, Norman.