Students volunteer at local animal shelter

Caileane Thurston, Reporter

Volunteers continue to spend their time caring for animals at the Caring Hands Humane Society. Students who volunteer take care of the animals, and it gives them something to do during their free time. Students volunteer any day of the week. Typically, students volunteer because they enjoy watching the animals and taking care of them before they are adopted into a new home. 

Sophomore Raegan Boaldin says she typically sees an increase in adoption throughout the winter months. In many cases, animals are purchased for loved ones as presents throughout the holiday season, however, the pressures of being a pet owner are too great and the owner makes the choice to surrender that said animal. According to ASPA, reports have shown that an increase of shelter surrenders occurs after the holiday season. Many people return their pets as they cannot take care of them.

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“People return the pets to [Caring Hands] because they either don’t want the pet, can’t take care of them, or the place they live doesn’t allow pets. It is very sad seeing an animal that got adopted out, come back within a matter of weeks or days,” Boaldin said. 

Junior Chloe Compton volunteers at the Caring Hands Humane Society every Thursday. During her time volunteering, she has the responsibility of cleaning dog kennels, making dog and cat treats, walking dogs and handing out cat toys. 

“You have to clean kennels and dog poop and it’s fun because you get to hangout with the animals,” Compton said.

Junior Benjamin Stovall says there are many pros and cons of volunteering. Some of the pros for him are getting to walk and interact with the dogs as well as getting to bond and play with the cats. Volunteers are sometimes given the responsibility to train the animals, overall getting them more used to people in preparation for future adoptions. Stovall says that the hardest aspect of the job is that it is very hard to see animals that have been neglected or abandoned at the shelter. 

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“People [often] get puppies or kittens that are cute and cuddly but then they realize they are a lot of work and the cost can be a problem [as it adds up] with vet appointments, food and toys,” Stovall said. “If [an owner] has to go out of town they have to find someone to care for the animals, [which can be an additional unforeseen pressure to the new owner.]”

As a volunteer at Caring Hands, there are colors you have to earn, for example when students first volunteer, their volunteer badge starts out a color pink. Pink indicates said volunteer is allowed the easy animal to go on the walk with, as they are less likely to bite or attack. The next color, yellow, indicates the volunteer is now allowed to handle the hyperactive animals, as they may be more challenging as they are known to pull a lot and are typically door darters. Finally, the orange color indicates the ability to work with the more aggressive dogs, who are hard to handle. Stovall has been awarded the color yellow so far. 

“[We] get to work with animals and care for them and help them during a hard time in their lives,” Stovall said. “It is very rewarding to see them go to a forever home.”