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helping out?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've been wanting to volenteer at a no kill shelter in my area, but I guess I'm not really sure on what qualifies as a good shelter? I know of one not to far from me & I was going to go there, but a freind I work with said that she had been there & wasn't that "impressed" by it. She said that the cats were all in cages in one room. From what I understand this woman had just been to the city's newest humane society & they have wonderful facilities. However, I personally could not volenteer at the humane society because pretty soon my 400 square foot apartment would be filled with cats that they were going to put down (honestly I always tell my freinds that one day I'm going to be the crazy old cat lady with 100 cats) I guess I was just wondering if anyone had any info on how to pick a shelter to volenteer at. Also, I have a 16 year old cat with CRF & I was wondering if I needed to be worried about the possiblity of her being exposed to any illness from me being a volenteer (forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I don't know much about animal shelters)
post #2 of 7
It's highly unlikely that you could catch a disease from an animal. However, just as colds are spread through touching the same thing as the ill person has touched, you might carry home bacteria on your hands or clothing. I'm sure you will be supplied with a lab coat if you are going to volunteer. Your cat's CRF has probably weakened his immune system, so it makes sense to change clothes and wash before going home.

I would visit several animal shelters if I were you. Compare the sizes of the cages, the cleanliness, the quality of the food, and ask about veterinary care. There are many sources on line, but they refer you to slide shows and books. Of course the number of attendants in comparison with the number of animals would be helpful to know. Ask if the animals get petted, exercised, etc. Does the shelter spay and neuter and give adequate care to sick animals? Sometimes there is a limit. Recently, in the Pittsburgh area, a cap of $200 in medical care had to be adopted by a no-kill shelter in order for them to continue their work.

It's very kind of you to consider volunteering. Perhaps you could help a shelter that needs you, rather than one that has an adequate staff. Good luck. Please keep us posted!
post #3 of 7
That's so great you are thinking of volunteering! There are many opportunities to help out, not all involve direct contact with the animals. (So recruit your allergic friends too!)

I recently contacted my local Humane Society (they are no kill) about volunteering. They had a very formal process to get volunteers trained. They even required that you get a shot! I think maybe tetnus (sp)? However, that group didn't work out for me. They needed you to come in at a set schedule and my work schedule just doesn't allow for that.

However, I did find a low-cost spay/neuter and wellness clinic that needed volunteers. They are a great group of people! I schedule myself for Saturdays when I can. I work in the back, scrubbing surgical instruments and preparing sterilized surgical 'packs' for the vet. They also have other volunteers that answer the phones, set appointments, counsel owners on how to care for their little patient as he recovers...etc.

I think you should go to that clinic near your place. Maybe your friend didn't like what she saw...but maybe that is an opportunity to change things there! You can't do that from the outside! You need to understand how things work at that shelter to see where the true road blocks are, in order to rally your community to overcome them!

Good luck! let us know where you end up!
post #4 of 7
The best thing to do is to check out the internet! I found three, no kill, cat exclusive, shelters in my area. Visit each one! I choose one close to my home , not just because it was close, but I could be there in an emergency if they needed me. You want to consider buying your self some medical scrubs. You can take them off before you go home and put them in the trunk of your car. Wash your hands and arms before you go home. That way, you won't be exposing your cat to anything!
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well to update everyone I did go out & look on line in my area, and unless I missed something they are the only No-kill shelter I could find. There was one Low kill shelter, but to me not the same thing. So last night I went there & filled out a volenteer form & I'm going to start tomorrow. Basicly it is a small shelter, so they don't have a lot of room, but the cats were all well cared for & the people all loved cats. I know this shelter also deals with dogs, but due to lack of room all of their dogs are in foster homes & I also know from seeing thier web site that when ever possible they like to have the cats in foster homes as well. One thing I really liked is that they have several pairs of cats. When they get cats in pairs they adopt them out in pairs. I personally think this is very important because for some of these cats the only stable thing in thier little lives has been that other cat & frankly the last thing they need is the additional trauma of losing their best friend. When I was there last night there were two pairs of cats that had already been adopted & one of the single cats. To be honest I was very sad when I left because some of these cats have been there a long time & that's no way for a cat to live. So thanks for all the adivce, I've been thinking about doing this for a while, I just had to get myself motivated. I'd take every last cat into my house if I could, but since I can't I'll just have to settle for this.
post #6 of 7
It's wonderful of you to volunteer. It is sad that those two cats were separated, but try to leave your worries at the shelter. You're doing a good thing. You are an extra hand to feed, pet, and care for these poor cats. Concentrate on that, please!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Well I spent my first afternoon at the shelter. It was OK. I went in the afternoon so there wasn't a whole lot going on. I helped the director clean out the back room. I think this week I'm going to make sure to be there in the morning. I guess the two hours before they open are the most busy. I was glad to hear that the cats spend 6-8 hours a day out of their cages. It's nothing like living in a house, but it's better than being locked up all the time.
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