Volunteering is a great way to help our animals at the Rushville Animal Shelter.

Because we don’t euthanize for time or space, animals are spending a longer amount of time locked in a kennel 24 hours a day. The amount of time they spend at a shelter is directly related to how old they are, what breed they are, and if they need help with undesirable behavior.

Finding adoption homes as quickly as possible is the most desired, but the reality is the majority of adopters are only looking to adopt the young, the small breeds, well rounded, and already trained shelter animals.

The longer an animal stays at the shelter the more stressed they become and with stress comes dangerous behaviors and illness. When an animal becomes dangerous to themselves or others or becomes ill, they are at a high risk of euthanasia. Their only option is to find an adopter who wants to work with difficult behaviors or take on a vet bill or find a rescue with the resources to do so.

Let’s be honest, if there were plenty of adopters wanting to adopt an animal with behavior or medical concerns, that animal wouldn’t be in the position of sitting in a kennel day after day to begin with. And many rescues are full with sick and difficult to adopt animals, so in the majority of cases the only option is to end the animal’s miserable reality and offer them a peaceful end.

So how can volunteering help?

They can reduce the stress dramatically, help promote how wonderful the animal is, and work with that animal on their behavior quirks. If a volunteer can help an animal feel relaxed and loved, it increases their chance of adoption. If a volunteer can help describe the pet’s personality and promote them on social media, it increases their chance of adoption. If a volunteer can spend time teaching that rambunctious adolescent dog how to better behave, it increases their chance of adoption.

Increase the chance of adoption = less time spent in a shelter

But how does one overcome their personal struggle with their emotions when it comes to fighting the urge to “Bring them all home” or “I can’t stand to see them like that”?

VOLUNTEER! Yes, that’s right, cure your struggle by volunteering. I promise after having to clean up after several dozen animals day in and day out, you will not want to do that in your personal home. The sooner the animals are adopted, the less of them are sitting in their kennels, sad and begging for love, making it easier to “not see them like that”.

Trust us, it is far worse to avoid the shelter and the animals that so desperately need your strong and overpowering love for them. By avoiding them, you are instead helping them to continue to be exposed to the stress of sitting in a kennel day in and day out.

What about waiting until it’s nice outside? Well, the shelter houses dogs and cats all year round. During the cold months adoptions tend to slow too. So the animals actually need volunteers the most during those cold months, dogs still enjoy walks in the snow and cats still like to play with teasers. They all also need extra work when it comes to promoting them since adoptions are not as frequent. So don’t wait until it’s warm, bundle up for a few minutes and walk that dog who loves to romp in the snow!

For different ways you can help the animals who need you the most, see our list of volunteer “jobs”.

Kitten Season

We are quickly approaching “kitten season” and are going to need your help! Kitten season typically begins as early as March and finally dwindles in late fall. This is the period of time cats go into heat, become pregnant up to 3 times, and produce on average 5 kittens PER LITTER (that’s 15 more cats added to our community from 1 mother!)

Last summer we had 50 kittens under the age of 4 months housed at the same time in our tiny cat room that can only comfortably accommodate 25 cats/kittens. Adoptions for cats are difficult to come by and the more cats that are housed together at one time increases the risk of illness and euthanasia due to illness.

Here is how you can help! If you have an outdoor cat, get them spayed ASAP! If you are feeding cats you are considered the owner and will need to take on the responsibility of ownership, including vaccinations and spay/neuter. If you are unable to care for your cat or the community cats, bring them to us ASAP! We currently have plenty of room and the ability to accommodate cats before they start reproducing.

If your cat has or you come across a litter of kittens, we prefer them to either enter the shelter with their mom or be between 6 and 8 weeks of age, but we will take them in regardless as they have a fighting chance going through us than left to become feral (not friendly) by being left outside.

By stepping up as a responsible owner, feeder, and community member; you will save more lives before they start!

To surrender friendly and easy to handle cats, simply bring them by during our visiting hours. We only require you to be a Rush County resident and there is no cost to surrender owned or stray pets! See our visiting hours here: Visiting Hours

If the cats are not very friendly and need to be trapped: call us to set up a trap service appointment where we set, check, and pickup or you can set your own trap and bring the cats by during visiting hours.

For spay/neuter and vaccine options see here: Veterinarians and ClinicsCat overpopulation image


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