After doing some research on Last Chance At Life, and meeting them at a local event, I knew immediately this is the Rescue group I wanted to be join.
After attending their orientation and mandatory hands-on training, which I think is the BEST idea (you learn all the ins and outs of their building, how to meet and greet a dog from the kennel, what to do while on a walk with the dog should anything happen, or if you are approached, etc.). I was given the walking schedule and all the important phone numbers of contacts. I was also given the code to the locks should I ever be around and want to walk a dog. This gave me a feeling of responsibility, honor and respect. I gained respect from these people to earn the access to the facility where these dogs are kept, and am honored to be part of such wonderful organization.
Benefits for the Organization:
- Spread the organization’s mission and stories with others. Sometimes I hear stories about these dogs that I wish I never heard, but watching the work LCAL does with these dogs and seeing how far they come – it amazes me! I love being able to share those stories. I am also able to spread the word about pet ownership and animal protection since we rescue pets from all different scenarios.
- Ambassador to gain other volunteers. It takes a village to raise a dog – financially and the time commitment. I am able to share my experience as a volunteer with other pet lovers and encourage them to volunteer at our organization.
Benefits for the Walker:
- Exercise. Since my dog passed away, I don’t get up and walk the 3,4,5 times a day anymore, so walking these rescue dogs is the way I get my exercise now! I have my FitBit on and watch my number of steps go up, up, up!
- Companionship. I sometimes walk them for an hour, then just sit on the grass and have conversations with them. Or, we’ll both sit on the grass and just meditate.
- Shopping. I’m sure you’re thinking- what?!? The organization I volunteer for has a thrift shop across the street from the rescue, so if it’s a super hot day, I will take the dog over there and get some retail therapy in. The proceeds benefit the rescue, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
- Resume builder. It looks great on your resume that you are involved and active in the community. I know it helped me land a new job I’m starting on Monday!
- Making friends. Not just the four-legged kind. Working side-by-side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.
- Enjoyment. A wagging tail, a purr, a smile. Didn’t someone once say that the best things in life are free?
- Unconditional love. These dogs may not know me, and I may have never met them before we start walking, but I still get so much love from the. They are the best medication!
Benefits for the Dogs:
- Getting out. Although we have a fabulous facility, it is nice for the dogs to get fresh air. They love to check their “pee-mail” and leave some for the next dog
- Exercise. Not only do the humans get a work out, but so do the dogs. It’s great for them stretch their legs.
- Socialization. Getting these dogs out helps socializing them, getting them used to other noises, people coming up to them, and putting their behavior training to good use – all making them more adoptable.
- Increases visibility. The more these dogs are out; the more people are seeing them. As a volunteer, I may know a lot about the dog- its personality, trainability, triggers, etc., so we can speak highly of these dogs and be their ambassador. A passerby on our walking path just may end up falling in love with one of our dogs and adopt them. Truly a love at first site experience.
- A better life. Many of our rescue dogs have such heart-breaking back stories, that I know being at the rescue is a much better life than what they have experienced, or could have experienced.
Volunteer to walk dogs at LCAL has touched my life significantly, and I encourage anyone wanting to get involved with a rescue group or animal shelter to do so. It will give you back tenfold what you put into it.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Danielle Salice is a pet lover, and Boxer dog aficionado— she has owned three boxers during her adult life (CarlySue, AbbySue and Capone). She also has a penchant for German Shepherds, which was her family’s breed of choice growing up. Danielle is active in the animal welfare industry and currently volunteers at Last Chance at Life, All Breed Rescue and Adoptions. Danielle became a PetFirst Pet Insurance policyholder in 2009 and has been a pet insurance advocate ever since.