On Friday, Devon set off on a trip to rehab West Virginia shelters alongside 27 college-student volunteers. The trip was organized by Animal Lifeline and funded by the Petfinder.com Foundation and Animal Planet’s R.O.A.R. Here’s Devon’s latest update from the field. Plus — Denise Bash and Jen Daley of Animal Lifeline are writing in to answer your questions about pet rescue and transport all week! Write your questions in the comments section below.
The outreach project here in West Virginia is unlike anything I have ever been part of. Within my first hour of being here I had already helped save a life by being part of a rescue for a dog we found wandering along the side of the road. We took the dog, whom we had named “Cammy,” to the holding facility of the Clay County Animal Control, which was the first site that I had visited.
The holding facility already had quite a bit of work done by the time we got there. The student volunteers had already built new kennels and added new kennel deck flooring — a mixture of plastic and wood, which can be disinfected. We will be adding roofs to the kennels later this week. We are also helping the local county government set up a spay/neuter program.
The group of college students I have been working alongside has been absolutely amazing. Most of the students are from Delaware Valley College, but there are also a few from other schools across the country. They are very dedicated to this cause and are all extremely hard workers. They are sacrificing their first week of summer break to volunteer and be part of this amazing program. I arrived two days after them, so I missed the opportunity to help with their work in Clay County, but I was able to catch up with them in Braxton County, where we were able to assemble new kennels, help clean the shelter, and do some hands-on work with the dogs there.
The only work site I have not been able to visit yet is the Ritchie County Humane Society. Ritchie County suffered a devastating fire in January, so it is the one site out of the three that will need the most time and attention. There has been a little bit of work done there, but there is still a large amount to do. We will be heading out there tomorrow to help with the reconstruction of the shelter and also with the building of a memorial garden.
The actual physical work is not the only important aspect of this outreach project. Members of our professional staff are teaching staffers at these shelters how to fundraise, temperament test, create veterinary protocols for their shelters, use Petfinder.com to market their pets, get transport assistance and screen rescues that want their animals, and all the staffers will leave with product samples and information on how to find products that could help the animals in their care.
A lot of work has been done with this project, but there is still much to do in the week to come. It should be an exciting yet exhausting week filled with lots of work and a lot of opportunities to learn new things about Animal Lifeline’s outreach programs.
To find out how you can help fund more projects like this, please visit the Petfinder.com Foundation’s donate page.
Have questions about pet rescue and transport, what it is, why it’s needed and how you can get involved? Ask us your questions in the comments below and Denise Bash and Jen Daley of Animal Lifeline will write back by May 28.
Learn more about the West Virginia trip and all the participating shelters here.
For more real-life examples of rescues in action, check out Animal Planet’s new show about pet-rescue transport, Last Chance Highway, which premieres June 19 at 8 p.m. E/P.