Rescues Beth, Sean, and Cleo (2007). How many cats can fit on one perch?

I decided a little while ago that I wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter. I went to two no-kill shelters, one bigger and farther away, one closer and smaller.

At the first one (the larger one), I said I was doing shelter tours to decide where to volunteer. I was immediately informed that they were only the “true” no-kill shelter in the city. Confused, I had to ask for some clarification. Because it seems likely that out of all the shelters in my city, more than one should be no-kill. The lady I spoke to said that it means the other shelters put down animals that could otherwise be saved–sick but treatable animals, ‘undesirable’ breeds, or otherwise hard-to-adopt animals.

But the second one’s website also says that it’s no-kill. And when I went to it, there were dogs being treated for heart-worms or kennel cough, elderly animals, and pitbulls and other big breeds I’ve seen labeled ‘undesirable.’ I met a 10-year-old black cat going gray who just wanted to be petted, and was told he and some other cats were moved to these big sun rooms because they’ve been there for more than 30 days. Sounds no-kill to me.

So I don’t know what to think about that. I can’t help but feel that big-shelter is being, perhaps, a little judgmental. Shelters are there to help, and any place that truly cares about the animals and does their absolute best to find all of them homes is a good place in my opinion.

I’m going with the small-shelter, and we’ll see how that goes.

So far, I’ve visited 3 times to socialize (play with) the kitties. I offered to volunteer for dog walking too, assuming they want someone with my meager skills. And maybe I can help at the desk, or at adoption events. Orientation is this Saturday, and I’m looking forward to it.

Where (if anywhere) do you volunteer? What do you most like to do?

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

2 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    Wow, I’m so impressed that you decided to do this. And that you were concerned enough to visit shelters and select the one you felt was the best fit. I hope you love your work there, and that you feel good in the knowledge that you are making a difference. I used to do volunteer hospital work years ago, but I chose the maternity ward. Being an overemotional young thing, I needed to be in a ward where the main focus was a happy one. Then, for many years, I volunteered at our local Audubon Society. I ran their gift shop and also fostered orphaned baby birds until they could be released back into the wild. That was a very satisfying time in my life. This type of volunteer work can be so rewarding and enriching, I wonder if we aren’t doing even more for our own souls than we are the people or animals we help.

    I hope you’ll keep posting regarding your experiences with these very precious animals. All of our cats and one of our dachshunds are shelter animals, and I can’t imagine life without them.

    • caitlinstern says:

      Yeah, I couldn’t deal with a shelter where they put down animals due to space issues. It’s so sad to think about, much less see.
      I actually posted yesterday about my first day as a volunteer, and I’ll certainly share more as I go on.
      I met a man looking for a dog posted online (scheduled for euthanasia the next day.) We figured out that he had come to the wrong place. I hope he got the dog safely home.

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