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”.

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