Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How we turned Russell into a blue-chip recruit

Any of our readers ever play football? Me neither. It looks pretty rough out there, and I bruise easily.


Plus those coaches are always yelling and swearing at you.

No thanks. It’s really fun to watch on television though. These guys seem a little dorky, but the sandwiches and beer sure look tasty.

You get the idea. Anyways, one thing I DO know about football is that training camp features the dreaded two-a-days, where the players have to go through two practices per day (yet another reason to not play organized football).

Well, we had to employ the same strategy recently when one of our recruits was not in game shape when he reported to camp. Of course I am talking about Russell.

Russell came to the shelter as a very scared dog, very nervous, and was quickly deteriorating in his kennel. Some drastic measures were needed, or this boy was never going to see the field!

We try to give each shelter dog at least one walk a day, but that didn’t seem like it was going to be enough for Russell. He needed a lot of companionship and exercise. So the two-a-day policy was instituted. Volunteers got organized to make sure that Russell was getting at least two walks per day. We also moved him to a relatively quieter corner of the shelter, where he would not be so spooked by other dogs barking.

Russell turned around very quickly. He mellowed out and became much easier to work with. His improved behavior attracted the notice of a family, and Russell was adopted into a home. Now Russell gets to showcase his skills every day.

While we know that dogs LIKE to be walked and receive human companionship, it’s not always apparent how much they NEED to be walked and receive human companionship. It is very rewarding to see immediate tangible results like we did with Russell, especially since he’s already been adopted. Of course, this type of rigorous training regimen is only possible with the help of some extra volunteer hours. It’s not as if other dogs were being ignored so that we could double up on Russell’s walks.

If you’re a current volunteer who hasn’t been very active lately, how about trying to stop by for one extra dog walk per week? Just one walk can make a big difference for a dog like Russell.

And if you’ve been thinking about becoming a volunteer, there is no time like the present to make a difference for a dog or cat. Give your local shelter a call and take the steps necessary to become a volunteer. If you live near Berkeley, we’ve even got the meeting set up for you. All you have to do is sign up and show up.

Don’t make me come find you…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes! More walks = better behaved dogs. (And tired people are generally very peaceful, too.)