Once a week I tell my sweet pooch goodbye as I head out the door for an afternoon of volunteering at our local shelter. We are the dog walkers. A name we gave ourselves as a group because apparently creativity was absent that day.
There are anywhere from three to six of us that show up to walk the dogs. The number of dogs vary from week to week but it’s in the range of 20-40 dogs weekly. Although there are some we are not allowed to walk as volunteers for a variety of reasons, all of the others get out for their one on one time.
This is my fourth year volunteering at this shelter. I enjoy it. However, some days are tougher than others. Either we will have exceptionally rambunctious pooches or the weather is less than ideal. I should premise this with we walk them year round. In the Mid-west. In the winter with snow and wrapped up in jackets, boots, hats, and gloves. Picking up dog poop can be especially challenging then. All the way to the height of summer and 95 F and high humidity. A cooler packed with water and frequent breaks for both humans and canine is a must.
Over the years I have brought home a few dogs for some overnights or a week at a time. Mostly, to give them a break from the shelter and to give the shelter feedback on their behavior.
One of the dog walkers, Jana, started calling it Camp Amy. I like it. It describes what they get. A nice time away from the stresses of shelter life all on 100 acres of woods and complete with free range of the cabin. It’s pretty sweet I must say. Lots of treats, loves, and hikes.
This year’s first Camp visitor was a sweet 1.5 year old Boxer mix named Daisy. As much as I wanted to get pictures of her, she was quite the little shit. She would get up every time I reached for my phone or camera. But I did manage to snap a few while she was here.
Seriously, look at that face!
Not the most picturesque set-up but I had to go with what she gave me.
She slept with her tongue sticking out but she opened her eyes as I took this one.
And here is Josie, our Boxer, wondering “when does she leave again?. You might be asking why didn’t you keep her? Josie, is the reason. We have found she is an only dog. She loves playing with other dogs but she likes when they go home.
People have asked how do you volunteer at the shelter and not bring them all home. It’s actually not as hard as you might think. First I cannot afford to. Second I don’t have the space to do so. Third, the dogs love their one on one time with us each week. It makes them more sociable and adoptable. We know we are doing a good thing for them. Helping to de-stress them, give them love, and of course treats. Plus when they find their furr-ever home, it’s the best feeling in the world.
I love volunteering and I plan to do it as long as I am able, hopefully a long time. I also enjoy bringing home a few dogs here and there for some time at Camp Amy. When I bring them back, they are usually adopted quickly thanks to the information I am able to give the shelter.
As for Daisy, she is currently enjoying some time with one of the shelter employees. She is also a Boxer lover. Her household is trying her out for week to see if she can leave the poor cats alone. If not, she is such a sweet dog, adoption will be easy for her. I wish that were the case for all of them.
Adopt over shopping when possible. Lot’s of dogs are in need of a good home.