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CAPITAL AREA HUMANE SOCIETY
August 2, 2011

I have served as a volunteer at the Capital Area Humane Society in numerous capacities for roughly 250 hours over the past twelve months. My experience has been uniformly positive.

My fellow volunteers and staff have been mature, disciplined, communicative and well-informed almost without exception. Every person at the shelter is empowered to share information for the benefit of the animals. The new training program, which begins in September, represents a substantial time commitment and minor financial commitment for new volunteers. Although this will reduce the total number of new volunteers going forward, I believe that the Humane Society will be best served by people who are willing to make such a commitment and who can take full advantage of the extensive training that will be required. Opportunities for advancement as a volunteer seem to be limited only by each person's desire to learn, practice and participate.

The facilities, including the veterinary clinic and other areas not visible to the public, are are hygienic and properly maintained. Many customers remark that they are impressed with the rooms where the adoptable animals are housed - the temperature is pleasant year-round, bedding is freshly washed, newspapers are regularly changed, and excrement is cleaned up promptly. The housing for non-adoptable animals, the grooming and training facilities, and even the interiors of the humane agents' vans are no different.

Of the Humane Society's many programs beyond its basic shelter operations, I am most familiar with the Department of Cruelty Investigations, which investigates all reports of animal abuse, abandonment and neglect in Franklin County without any support from outside funding. The humane agents' professionalism and their ability to manage time and resources never ceases to amaze me.

I have heard two concerns expressed from time to time: the rate of feline euthanasia and the issue of executive compensation. However, I have not heard any suggestions for improvement based on widely-accepted best practices or examples from comparable organizations. It's easy to say that a group can spend its money more efficiently, especially when lives are at stake. I'm sure that the decision-makers at CAHS would be happy to hear specific constructive criticism, because in my experience they do value feedback and transparency.

I intend to continue volunteering at CAHS indefinitely, and I am confident that any funds I donate will be put to good use.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing shelter dogs out in the community enjoying a new lease on life. This is especially moving in cases where the animal arrives in horrible medical condition and requires a great deal of socialization, only to eventually go to a new home as a healthy, trusting and disciplined companion. Also, knowing that the animals that don't survive have been given the best chance at such an outcome.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to standardize and improve communication across volunteer departments. Expand community awareness of the Cruelty Investigation and Safe Haven programs.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Codify standards of communication among volunteer groups - i.e., every volunteer leader could be formally required log a certain number of hours per month to stay apprised of things, and every leader could be expected to send a weekly e-mail keeping the volunteers informed.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

It's introduced me to many new friends and allowed me to develop my customer-service skills. It has also taught me a tremendous amount about animals and animal welfare.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Challenged and rewarded.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I match adoptable animals with suitable families, train and socialize dogs (including those with special needs) and dispatch the Franklin County Humane Agents.

Review from Guidestar