Tag Archives: SPCA

It’s a Holly Doggy Christmas!

This week, I had the opportunity to volunteer at an SPCA special event.  It’s called Home for the Holidays and it’s a combination raffle and dog adoption event.  It was my first experience, and we were quite busy!

Mainly, I took care of the dogs – feeding them during dinner time and walking them.  I also answered any questions that people had about certain dogs.  I stayed with the older dogs but they also had puppies there as well.  That day there were five adoptions, so it was pretty fun!

I was drawn to these two chihuahua mixes, 5-year-old Nutmeg (the brown one) and six-year-old Trixie (the black and white one).  Nutmeg was super cute.  She had this whine that sounded like a chirp, and she would stick her nose or paws out of the crate to try to get people’s attention.  Trixie was more low energy, but she loved to snuggle under my chin when I held her to take her outside for a bathroom break.

I worked with other dogs as well, but I didn’t manage to get their pictures.  I spent a lot of time answering questions.  Since a lot of the dogs came from the other SPCA site, I didn’t know a lot of their background story, however each dog had medical and behavioral notes so I was able to answer most of the other questions.

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All of the dogs at the event were able to be adopted right then (the two girls at the table were filling out adoption information for the dogs who went home that day).  They were all up to date on shots and check ups.  They are also microchipped and spayed/neutered.  All they need now is for their forever families to come adopt them and take them home!

Do you work with any charities during the holidays?

Have you ever gotten a pet for ChristmasMy rat terrier was a Christmas present.

 

Working with Martie

Working with dogs who have experienced low, poor or no socialization with humans is probably my favorite kind of work I do with the SPCA.  Mostly, I do this kind of volunteer work in my home as a behavior foster, but I also work with some of these kinds of dogs in the shelter as well.

This week I worked with Martie, a five month old Shepherd mix.

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When I met Martie, she wouldn’t move off of her dog bed in her kennel.  My job that evening was to introduce her to the leash.  Other volunteers and staff had worked with her, so I wasn’t starting from scratch.  But I still gave her space to get to know me and get comfortable with me.

A staff member helped me get her into one of the indoor “getting acquainted” rooms.  I left a leash on her and let her choose where she wanted to go, which ended up being a corner of the room, right next to a couch.  She would take a step for a treat, but then go right back into the corner.  I read to her for a little bit, to get her used to my voice.

Then, using the leash, I prodded her gently.  When she came near to me, I petted her and found out that she has a spot right in front of her left ear that she particularly likes getting scratched.  When I moved a step away, she followed for more petting.

Eventually, she walked on the leash for me.  We even went outside.  However, she scared very easily, and if I stopped paying attention, she would freak out.

Part of me hopes that she’s there next week so that I can work with her again.  It’s harder to build up a reputation with a dog while they are at the shelter.  I get to spend more time with the dog when they are in my home.  But working with the dogs at the shelter has its benefits too.

There, it’s more of a team effort to work with these dogs.  We build off the work of the last volunteer or staff member that worked with them.  And I know that even after I leave for the week, the dogs will continue to receive love, support, and trust from many people after me, ultimately from their loving family who adopts them.

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Speaking of adoption, Rowdy went home with his forever family this week!  I’m so happy for him.  I know that the family will receive so much love from that pup.  He really is such a good dog.  I’m so glad I get to be a part of a program that likes to deal in happy endings.  I look forward to seeing Martie find her happy ending soon as well.

Have you ever encountered a shy or poorly socialized dog?

My visit to the SPCA

Last week, I was sick, so I didn’t get to volunteer at the SPCA like I usually do. However, this week, I was able to go, so I have more doggies to share with you that as far as I know are still up for adoption!

Since I was getting back into the swing of things, I decided to work with Rowdy, my previous foster. He’s still there and adjusting back to shelter life. It was wonderful to see him! The staff said that he seems more friendlier than before his foster time, so I’m hoping that the work I continue doing with him during my volunteer time at the shelter just brings him that much closer to a forever home!

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Charlie was another dog I worked with this week. Charlie is a 6 month old lab mix who is full of energy! He is super fun and loveable. He can sit on command and is super sweet. If you are walking next to him and you stop, he will stop, sit and look up at you. He also has a howl that will just make your heart melt. I know he will find a home pretty quickly, so I thought I would just share his sweet face now!

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Gabe is the funniest looking dog I’ve ever seen. He looks like a humungous Dachshund, with big floppy ears. He’s actually a one and a half year old part Dachshund and part Catahoula hound, which is what gives him his strange, yet loveable, appearance. He cuddled up next to me when we sat on the grass in the garden at the shelter and just looked up at me.

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Stormy was the sweetheart that day. She is a two year old border collie. I just love her speckled face. She was a little lower energy than the other dogs I worked with that day, which was a welcomed change. We walked out into the garden, and she just leaned into me. When I sat on the ground, she inched over to me and rolled on her back for belly scratches.

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I am so lucky to be able to work with these dogs. The SPCA really is a special place. I’m not the only one who gushes over these pups. The staff there is incredible. We had one dog adopted while I was there that day, and the whole place was buzzing with excited celebration. It’s pretty awesome to volunteer there. And I know I’ve said it before, but if you have an opportunity to volunteer, I highly recommend this place.

(I am not a representative of the SPCA, other then being a volunteer there. They didn’t ask me to write about the dogs. In fact, they don’t know that I gush this much about my time there. I just want to share all the cute doggy pictures with you!)

Have you ever worked in a shelter?  Do you have cute dog pictures to share with me?

Tips to Adopting a Dog

I haven’t been to the SPCA in a couple weeks, because I’m fostering this dog.

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However, the last time I was there, I managed to work with a few dogs, and some of them have already been adopted!  The turn-around rate at the SPCA is pretty fast.  I’m only able to go in once a week and I’m always seeing a slightly different group every week.  Some pups stick around longer than others, but they all seem to find their forever homes.

If you are thinking about adopting, I can give you a couple of tips.  The shelter can be taxing on even the best dogs.  It’s hard to know the real dog when you only see them under a high stress situation.  One suggestion would be to ask to see the dog in different environments.  The SPCA where I volunteer has a garden, a play yard, indoor meet and greet rooms, and the kennels.

I have seen dogs behave completely different outside versus inside, or even just being moved to one of the private indoor rooms, away from the noise of the adoption floor.  Going into different environments can give you some idea of how the dog will do in your home environment.

Plus, the staff interacts with these pups the most, so they are also a huge asset in learning more about the dog you want to adopt.  Ask them questions.  Tell them about your lifestyle.  Are you looking for a running buddy?  Or are you looking for a dog to play with your kids?  Each dog goes through a behavior test when they come in, and are continually monitored by behaviorists, behavior volunteers, as well as medical volunteers and staff.  If they have been fostered, then the foster will usually have more information about how the dog did in their home.  So don’t forget to ask and be open to suggestion.  You might just find your new best buddy!

I’ve learned so much from working with the SPCA.  But my favorite part is getting to be a part of these dogs’ lives on their way home!  This post isn’t sponsored, I just love this organization so much, and the dogs here are so well taken care of.  If you are looking for a companion, I would encourage you to check out the SPCA at spcafindapet.com.  You never know just who you will find!

A Rowdy Foster

So, I have another foster.

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At the shelter, he is super stressed.  He’s lost weight, and he shakes all the time.  The only exception is when he is outside.  He loves to play with other pups and runs around.  He’s like a different dog.

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He’s pretty playful here, both inside and outside.  We have a lower energy level here, so it gives him space to orient himself.  Although he still prefers outside where he can run, he is progressing pretty well.

He’s still not a snuggle baby yet, but he gives us kisses when we feed him or change his water.  He feels comfortable hanging out in the living room, and will follow Michael and I at a distance.  I hope by the end of his stay, he will feel more comfortable interacting with humans.  That’s the point after all!

Have you every worked with a skittish dog?

An Afternoon at the SPCA

Since my September was incredibly busy, I didn’t get to foster or go to the SPCA very much at all.  So, this past Monday I was extremely happy to be working with the dogs at the shelter!  Since I’m a behavior volunteer, I usually work with the more challenging cases, but since I came in at the end of the day, I also walk the other dogs right after they have had their dinner.  Since I hadn’t been in for a while, I thought I would work up to some of the more challenging cases.

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One of the first dogs I walked was Tucker.  This sweetie was friendly and playful.  He zigged and zagged all over the garden.  He was super cute and super sweet.  He gave me kisses on my hands both before I put on his leash and after, I guess to say thank you.

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This is Sailor.  He was SO difficult to get a photographed.  He just didn’t want to sit still, unless I was petting him with both hands!  His fur felt like teddy bear fur.  It was super soft.  He was labeled as a socialization case, but whoever has been working with him these last few weeks has done an excellent job!

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And then there was Susie Q.  She was SUPER shy and scared.  She let me leash her up, and then stayed right by my side the entire walk.  She wasn’t interested in exploring or anything.  We sat in the garden and chatted a bit.  She would lean her head against my leg (and this was the best picture I got of her, unfortunately.  She wasn’t much for sitting still either).

I walked other dogs, but these three really stood out to me.  I can’t wait to go back next week and volunteer again!

Have you ever worked at a shelter?  Did any dogs steal your heart?

3 Reasons I Love Working With the SPCA

I wrote about the Clear the Shelter day back in August.  I wanted to expand a little bit on why I work specifically with the SPCA organization.  To share my experience on why I love working with them.  Why I plan to continue indefinitely to be involved with this organization one way or another.

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First of all, I love working with the SPCA because they equip you.  I’ve worked with other Animal Welfare Organizations, but I’ve not had the training that I have had here.  The training gives me confidence.  It allows me to understand not only protocols, but also how best to help these dogs to meet their specific needs.

Second, they work with you.  Before I worked one hour in the shelter, I sat down with volunteer supervisors to voice what I was passionate about, and they did their best to fit the work to what I desired to do.  And they offer classes to help meet your goals.

Third, they include you.  I feel like part of a team, not just some volunteer who clocks in the time.  And when I work with a dog, I’m not alone.  I am in conversation with staff and volunteers on how to best approach that specific dog’s needs.  I can leave at the end of my shift knowing that the dogs I spent time caring for will be cared for every day until they find their forever home.

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The forever home is definitely the goal with these animals, but the journey along the way is definitely hard for them.  As a volunteer, I really feel like I make a difference.  If you have been on the fence about working with the SPCA, I would suggest that you go for it.  I don’t think you will regret it.

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*I was not asked to write this post by the SPCA.  I just decided to because I love sharing my passions with you!

My Experience with Dog Fostering (So Far)

Last week, I said goodbye to my fourth foster.

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The Fourth Foster

She returned to the shelter so that she could be put on the list for available adoption.  When we got her, she was terrified of every little sound or movement.  She didn’t trust humans at all.  A lot of people think that this kind of behavior means that they were abused.  Sometimes it does, but it also can mean either they had very little to no exposure to humans or it could just be their breed.

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She spent the first two days under the chair in our living room.  She started trusting our dogs immediately.  One of the advantages I have in my foster situation is I have two pretty calm dogs who create a low key environment.

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Eventually, with time, a lot of patience, and about a month and a half, she warmed up to me and learned how to trust and interact with humans.  She was still jumpy and not very social, but she could walk on a leash, which she couldn’t do before fostering.

But not every foster experience is the same, and each foster can be there for different reasons.  My first foster, which I talked about in this post, was another socialization case.  She’s in a happy home now, living it up and being spoiled.

But my second foster was a home evaluation.  It was just a day long, and it was to see how he would do in a home environment.  The shelter is pretty stressful.  It affects some dogs more than others, which makes it hard to tell how they will do if they go home.  Hence, the home evaluation foster.

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The Second Foster

Another kind of foster is the high energy behavior training.  My third foster had a crazy amount of energy.  The stress of the shelter can make that worse.  So he came into my home for 5 days to be observed and to work on some of his challenging behavior.

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The Third Foster

Fostering is something I really enjoy, something I’m truly passionate about.  All of my foster dogs have found forever homes, except the last one (as far as I know).  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to be a step on their path to their families.  Have you ever thought about fostering, or do you foster animals?  What is something you are really passionate about?

Clear the Shelter Day!

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Some of you may know that I volunteer with the SPCA.  This was my first time volunteering on Clear the Shelters day, though.  Once a year, shelters in North Texas waive their adoption fees for the animals.  They told me that last year at the SPCA, it was crazy, with a line wrapped around the building, so I expected that it would be an adventure.

I got there about a quarter to 10 to get my assignment.  They told me people had been waiting in lawn chairs since 6am that morning.  I was assigned to be an adoption specialist.  As each group came in, I walked with them, talked with them about what kind of dog they were looking for.  Sometimes it was a particular dog that they wanted, sometimes it was a type of dog.  But even if the dog they wanted was already adopted, they were still open to other canine companion options.

It was such a rush to find a forever home for the dogs.  During my shift, I matched five dogs to their families.  Seeing them interact with such love just made my heart smile.

And from the time I got there to the point I had to leave, we had 35 dogs and cats go home.  In total, the SPCA of Texas found homes for 132 animals on Saturday.  It was especially neat to see some of the dogs who had been there for several months go home with loving families.

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Picture from SPCA of Dallas

This is Cree.  She is a 6 year old Shepard mix who has been in the shelter since April.  Towards the end of my shift, it was announced that she was going home.  All the volunteers and staff were over the moon, wiping away happy tears and cheering.

This is why I love the SPCA.  Everyone who works there, everyone who volunteers there, truly love those animals, taking care of them until they go home with their families.  Because that’s what it’s all about, finding homes for these precious animals.  I hope they do this again next year, and I hope I get to be a part of it again.  It truly was a wonderful experience.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering with the SPCA of Texas, check out their website hereDo you volunteer with any charities or organizations?  Or have you adopted from a shelter before?