January 30, 2012
Many cat and dog lovers think "It would be a good thing for me to volunteer at a shelter." But they think it will be emotionally draining. When people find out I volunteer at AAWL, they ask "How do you do it?" The fact that AAWL is a no-kill shelter was a large factor in my decision. I now train volunteers and I tell them "When you leave at the end of a shift, you will feel good!" Even on long days when I am driving home tired and dirty, I feel I've done something worthwhile. I have made a difference in fighting Maricopa County's disgraceful statistic as the second largest area in the country for unwanted and euthanized pets. At AAWL I have worked a lot with the dogs; many of whom are right off the truck from "the pound". I talk to them and I say "I know you are scared and confused. You may have lived on the streets, you may have been abused, you may have been abandoned by your owners. But don't worry. Everyone here will treat you well. You just have to wait for your people to come for you." So that is how I look at it. We are just taking care of these animals until their forever families come for them. And that is rewarding work. While offering the expected activites caring for cats and dogs, AAWL offers volunteers many other activities. I have enjoyed working with the cats, dogs, reception, clerical, the clinic, off-site events, adoption counseling, training other volunteers, special events, and working with the various critters in the Education Department. As a designer and former teacher, I especially like taking on "odd jobs" such as researching a dog walking program for cardiac patients, working on AAWL training materials, reviewing plans for the new shelter, or painting a mural. AAWL can probably find a way to use any skills,interests, or talents that volunteers bring with them. And that feels good.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?