Tagged: “working with animals”

Join our Life Saving Team!

Join our Life Saving Team!

What are you doing this summer?  Actually for the next six months?  Looking for a way to put your love of animals to good use?  Have a couple hours free each week?  We need you!  Come join our team of life-saving animal lovers by volunteering at the shelter.  Whatever your skill level we have a job for you.

Love dogs but aren’t very physically strong?  Come read to them!  Having positive experiences in their kennels help make their stay here more pleasant. It also teaches them to relax and present well when the adopting public comes through; who would want to bring home the dog flinging himself at the kennel door and acting out of control?  We’re working on a lot of new kennel enrichment practices to help the dogs stay sane while waiting for their new homes.  Of course they do enjoy their time outside and going for walks too.

Did you know that cats should have two 10-15 minute sessions of interactive play each day?  It helps to relieve stress and boredom and mimics their natural life cycle to some small degree.  We certainly don’t have enough staff to spend that kind of time with each of our feline guests.  Thank goodness for our awesome cat cuddlers.  Sure it’s hard work – but someone has to play with these cats!

Have any computer skills?  We need help with data entry – there’s always paperwork in a business, right?  Assist our volunteer coordinator with tracking volunteers’ hours and scheduling.  Assist our vet tech with our busy foster program – tracking who’s next for follow-up appointments, inputting treatments in the computer and more.

Are you a creative writer?  Help showcase our adoptable animals with fun, upbeat and creative descriptions – something that would make people want to come meet them!  Help with press releases and other publicity for upcoming events.  In fact, we need people to help at these events too!  Are you a people person?  Work the shelter’s adoption desk or assist at outreach events and feel the joy when you help a family find their new BFF.  There’s nothing more satisfying than convincing someone to take the time to get to know a shy cat that would be perfect in their home.  We love match-making – do you?

Don’t forget our bunnies!  They crave daily attention and playtime.  Our monthly Bunny Days, where we set up the rabbits outside and invite the public to come interact with them, are very popular.  Our Bunny Boutique does a brisk business and so does the Bunny Nail Salon!  We could definitely use an extra pair of hands to help out.

As you can see there are a lot of different ways that you could get involved.  The only requirement is that you are at least 18 years- old and can make a regular weekly commitment.  Come find out more at a one-hour orientation Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. in the shelter lobby.  We are located at 301 J. Rogers Lane, off Redwood Drive (by the Costco).  No harm in at least learning more…. right?  After all, what else are you doing this summer?

The Secret Life of Dog Catchers

The Secret Life of Dog Catchers

Did you know we have a celebrity animal control officer in our county? Shirley Zindler has been with the Sonoma County Animal Care and Control since 2001, the last 10 years as an officer.

In 2012 she published a book that is a compilation of short stories telling about her adventures and various situations she had to deal with as an officer, appropriately titled “The Secret Life of Dog Catchers.” It is interesting, well written and really enjoyable. I learned a lot about what an officer does and even picked up a few tips that might come in handy at my shelter.

What comes through loud and clear, though, is Shirley’s compassion and passion for animals and people. I think everyone who has worked in this field has at one time or another had someone say to them, “I could never do what you do, I love animals too much.” What does that mean? That we don’t? Yes, if we were overly sentimental and sensitive we probably couldn’t stomach some of what we have to do. But it is because we love animals that we choose to work with, and for them, every single day. I always want to ask those people “so what are you doing to help them?” Crying hasn’t saved a single animal.

I love that Shirley has described a full gamut of the type of calls an animal control officer has to face. She has dealt with wildlife problems, cock fights, pit bulls, pit bull owners, people appreciative that she’s rescued their pets, people angry that she’s impounded their pets, injured animals, abused horses…the list goes on and on. Certainly she’s had experiences that I would never have thought an animal control officer would have to deal with. Some are scary, some are sad, lots are happy. Each story has a message. I would be interested to know if that’s apparent to the average reader or if I’m just seeing it because of my connection to the work.

Although, of course, Shirley got to pick which stories to include, and she comes off looking quite the hero in many of the situations, she is honest about the dangers, the falls and injuries, the late night calls and sleepless nights, as well as the physical energy required in the job. If you are at all considering a career in animal control (or have a teen that might be interested), or are just curious about the job and what it entails, I highly recommend this book. It should be required reading for anyone applying for that job to see if they have that level of compassion and the stomach for all aspects of the work. You can order a copy from Amazon for just $11.66. Shirley is donating part of the proceeds from this book back to animal welfare organizations – of course.

What I like best is that every short chapter is a separate story, so you can read it in little bits. We’re thinking of incorporating some of the stories into our camp program and giving the kids a taste of a day in the life of an animal control officer. Despite the title of the book, they really don’t like to be called dog catchers anymore. And after reading this book, you can see the name dog catcher doesn’t even begin to cover the depth of experiences they deal with on a daily basis. My hat is off to them for a good job. Our county is lucky to have officers like Shirley out there protecting us and our animals.book cover