As you follow along with my journey of fostering animals, you’ll need to realize that I didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I’m going to find an animal to take care of today!” I went online and did some research on the animal rescues in my area. The Nevada Humane Society (NHS) was the one I was most drawn to through their values, no-kill initiatives, and overall atmosphere. I signed up for orientation and went on November 14th, 2019.
When I got to orientation, they had a list of different types of volunteering activities that you could choose from: cat enrichment, laundry, front desk assistance, clinic work, spay/neuter packs, walking dogs, and fostering were some of the options given. I had originally signed up for cat enrichment and front desk assistance as those seemed like easier tasks to start out with. I went through orientation and learned the ropes and about a week later signed up for my first session for cat enrichment. This included brushing, playing with them, treats, and overall, stimulating their brain while they are in the shelter. This was awesome! I felt like I was truly helping each one of these animals and giving them the love and attention they deserved.
I then started helping with other tasks as needed such as laundry, filing paperwork, and helping clinic staff when they had busy spay/neuter days with paperwork and filing. I then decided that I was comfortable enough to start walking dogs. At NHS, the dogs are categorized into green, yellow, and purple dot dogs. Green dogs were usually older, calm, and not too big. Yellow dot dogs could be a little larger, stronger, and more energetic. And purple dot dogs are either small dog breeds, dogs that have yet to be tested on demeanor, or dogs that are not yet socialized enough to be around volunteers. I received my green and yellow dot training and was walking dogs at least once a week, in between classes. This was so fun!
Learning how to spend time with cats and enrich their experience in the shelter, as well as take dogs out of the kennels for playtime, walks, and socialization, really helped me realize the impact just an hour of my time had on these animals. I didn’t know it yet, but this realization was part of being drawn to fostering animals.
I think the most important thing that I learned in my first few months of volunteering at NHS, was how much I was drawn to animal rescue. I was starting to understand the different ways to be involved and how I could use my time and strengths to help these animals. I will continue to tell you all how I started volunteering in my next blog post, so subscribe to be the first to read! In the meantime, I challenge you to look up at least one local shelter in your area and give them a follow on social media.