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Helping Animals: My Story of Volunteering With Dog Rescues

Posted November 20, 2015

At NHV Natural Pet Products, we believe strongly in creating a team that genuinely loves and cares about the well-being of our animal companions. Many of you, who call our office, have probably spoken with our amazing team member, Wendy. In addition to her working life at NHV, Wendy also makes time to be a dedicated volunteer at her local rescue group. We know so many of you want to help animals, but don’t really know where to start, or what to do. We hope Wendy’s story will inspire you to reach out to your local rescue groups. Together, we can begin to make the lives of neglected and abused animals better.

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Hi, I am Wendy and I love helping animals!   I have been volunteering with a number of rescue groups over the past 9 years and still find it so rewarding. Along the way, I have learned a lot about animal care and have met a lot of great people and dogs!

At the beginning, all I knew was that I wanted to help animals. But what could I do? What was I qualified to do?

Not knowing exactly where to even start, I decided to try to contact my local Animal Control facility that took in stray dogs to see if they needed any volunteers. The Animal Control Facility told me about a program for volunteers they offered to walk the dogs that had come into the shelter. I singed up, went through an orientation, and soon I was walking these sweet, amazing shelter dogs and having my first foray into volunteering with animals.

It was a great introduction to volunteering— It didn’t have a fixed committed schedule and I could go whenever I had a spare moment during shelter hours. For those of you, who have a busy schedule, this might be a good place to start, as you don’t need to commit to a fixed schedule. Shelter dogs had such an impact on me that later I adopted my own dogs, Ruby, Ty, and Luke, through a local shelter.

Volunteering at the shelter connected me with what is known as an independent rescue group. At the time, I was not even aware of the existence of independent animals rescues. Learning about independent animal rescues opened my eyes to a whole new world! I never realized that there were rescues that specialized in specific species or animal groups, like birds, small animals, senior animals; or that there were rescue groups that specialized in certain breeds, like French Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Shar-Peis (just to name a few).

I found working with these smaller independent groups incredibly fulfilling; I could feel how much they needed and appreciated my help.  Most of these groups are funded primarily by donations, fundraising events and the adoption fees. All the volunteers are regular people, like you and I. Some have families, some are single, some have animals and some don’t. We were all of different ages and lifestyles but we all came together for our love of animals.

The first organization I worked with was Bully Buddies, a Pit Bull rescue in Vancouver, BC. They provided me with a great first timer experience. They asked questions like what I wanted to do, how much time I had to volunteer, whether I had any animals in the home and a bunch more questions designed to make sure the group and I would get the best experiences and outcomes. I started with helping at events and fundraisers to promote Pit Bull awareness; then I moved into doing home checks in potential adoptive and foster homes, meeting dogs at the shelters and then to actual fostering of dogs in my home!

As a small independent rescue, the group does not have a shelter or other central facility to house the dogs. All the animals that are taken into care are fostered in a volunteer’s home.   We share our home, our lives and our friends with our foster dogs. It is much more of a commitment, but is that much more rewarding.

If you are interested in volunteering, here are some great questions to ask yourself first:

  • Is there a particular type of animal you wish to work with? Dogs? Cats? Birds? Reptiles? Small animals like rabbits or Guinea pigs?
  • How much time do you have available to help?
  • What are you comfortable with doing? If you enjoy people, you may be great at events? If you sew, you could help make bedding or other items? There are all kinds of skills that may be beneficial to the rescue or shelter.
  • What are you uncomfortable doing? Some people may be uncomfortable with working with bigger dogs, and that’s okay. By knowing what may make you uncomfortable you can articulate your boundaries and create a more enjoyable experience for yourself, and a more productive experience for the shelter or rescue.

Do some research on the group you are interested in working with. Some websites may even have a “how you can help tab” that would list some of the volunteer opportunities currently available. Attend events to get to know the group and their volunteers better.

I have been very lucky to have fostered for some really amazing rescue dogs. They not only provided or paid for the food, they provided the necessary vet care as well as any additional / speciality items that may be required from time to time, like harnesses for the dogs that pull or special foods for dogs that have allergies. Different groups offer different types of support, so don’t be shy to ask!

* Currently, I am fostering a little Sharpei named Sully from the TnT Sharpei Rescue. He was abandoned with wounds on his face and chin. He ended up at the local animal control who then contacted the rescue for assistance. He was skinny as he was not interested in eating and his wounds were not healing as he would not let anyone clean his face – he was shutting down day by day. I offered to foster him and he came into my care Nov 1st and with each day he is becoming more comfortable and trusting. He is even starting to be playful this week!! Sully and I have face cleaning sessions several times a day; I have been using a combination of the vet prescribed cream along with the NHV All Clear on his face. This combination seems to be working well for him. We still have a number of other health issues to tackle. I have started to include other NHV supplements for added support. Sully is currently on NHV Milk Thistle to support his liver since he is also currently taking antibiotics. I’ve also put him on NHV Stimmune to boost his immune system, NHV Tripsy for his kidneys, and NHV PetOmega-3 oils & NHV Multi Essentials for general support.

I’m so glad that I began volunteering. It’s been so rewarding, and the people and dogs I’ve met are such a source of love and community. I encourage anyone that loves animals to look into volunteering.

Yours in wellness,

Wendy
NHV Natural Pet Products

This is Sully after his bath. I'm so glad his wounds are finally starting to heal!

This is Sully after his bath. I’m so glad his wounds are finally starting to heal!

Ty-NHV Natural Pet Products

My heart dog Ty. Adopted from Petfinder.com

NHV Natural Pet Products

Luke was also adopted through petfinder.com

Both Ty and Ruby were adopted through petfinder.com

Both Ty and Ruby were adopted through petfinder.com

*Product reviews are solely the experience and opinion of the reviewer. Actual results may vary.

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*Product reviews are solely the experience and opinion of the reviewer. Actual results may vary.