National Volunteer Month

April 10, 2012

April is National Volunteer Month, not only save a life, but make a family that adopts the dog very happy, and the effects of your deed will last for many years, throughout the dog’s lifetime.

Animal control pounds are always full, and consequently, rescue organizations are always full. The difference between the two is that the animal control pounds have to kill animals for lack of space, and the rescue organizations strive to save as many animals as possible from the pound’s death row. Most rescue organizations do not kill animals for lack of space, so until they place the animals under their care somewhere, they cannot save additional animals.

You can go to a local pound and walk dogs, scoop poop, clean cages or simply advocate for the homeless dogs to promote their adoptions. But I like the idea of fostering one dog per deed. If 10 people came to my rescue organization today to foster a dog, we could save 10 more lives today.

When you foster a dog, you are not only saving the rescue organization costs of boarding, but helping the dog to become more adoptable. When dogs are boarded in a kennel, there are limitations on learning about the dog. For one, we would never find out if the dog is potty-trained.

Many dogs also become kennel crazed in boarding and develop agitated behaviors. Dogs in foster homes are acclimated to a home environment and given an opportunity to be more socialized, so they can benefit enabling a smoother transition to their adoptive homes.

If you have never had a dog in your life, your rescue organization will help you. You’ll learn all about caring for a dog, from how to hold a leash to training the dog. Fostering can also help you find out if you are at a place in life to adopt a dog or not; like a test drive. In the process, you are saving a precious life. A win-win plan for the National Volunteer Month.

Marie Atake is Founder & President of Forte Animal Rescue and a former Commissioner on the Board of L.A. Animal Services.