I’m not sure what exactly gave me the idea, but I decided to get Junior Vox out to the Idaho Humane Society headquarters this weekend to walk some dogs. We’d never volunteered there before, but there was a darling bulldog whose picture really caught my eye, and I wanted to go check him out.
JV and I were able to borrow a leash at the customer service desk and we took him out in the yard to walk around. I had called a friend of mine about him the night before, and since my friend lives 80 miles north of here, we wanted to get some first-hand information about the dog. He was gorgeous and funny, but a whole lot of dog. I’m not sure my friend will end up getting him. But JV and I got to talking to a volunteer there and asked her a lot of questions. It turns out that this guy will have a great chance at getting adopted–while the IHS is technically a “kill shelter,” in that they do occasionally put animals to sleep, it has a very high adoption rate. She said 98% of the animals there do get adopted, and it’s really only the very aggressive or very sick ones who are euthanized.
Since we were there and having fun, we asked if we could take some more dogs out. The volunteer coordinator asked how we felt about the bully breeds (American pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, etc.) and I said I’d grown up with them and loved them. She told me a lot of people are too scared to walk the bullys there at the shelter, and if we were willing, they’d point out a few that really needed a trip outside. So that’s what we did–we ended up walking four other bullys, as well as a border collie. There were a couple of dogs that didn’t have the greatest on-leash behavior, but mostly they were great. JV and I had our dogs out for around 20 minutes at a time; I later learned that many volunteers take the dogs out long enough to poop and pee, but they don’t get too much play or human interaction. We were enjoying the sunshine and the company, so we took our time.
On our way home, JV said that it was the best day of her whole life. I can’t tell you how tickled I was to hear that. She also said she wanted to go back the next day. So that’s what we did–Mr. Vox joined us, and we took five more dogs out, including repeat trips with the sweetheart border collie (and the page tonight shows she got adopted!), and an incredibly darling pit bull mix, Cooper.
Both times we had him out, Cooper was the most mellow boy. He was kind of like a kindly overseer. We took him in to one of the kennel/run areas and let him off leash, and he’d look out at the other dogs getting walked, then he’d come over where we were on the bench, hop up, and lean into me to get cuddled. He washed JV’s face quite a few times with his tongue, and generally just charmed us all. The last couple of nights, I have spent a lot of time going over the pros and cons of having three dogs (our lot is not large and our subdivision covenants dictate that only 2 dogs are allowed per home, at the top of the con list). I just can’t see it being a good idea right now. But if he’s still there next week, I might have to look at fostering. He’s just so lovable.
So now I know what we’re going to be doing on the weekends for the foreseeable future; we all agreed that it was fun and it made us feel good. In fact, Mr. Vox had been in a fairly rotten mood on Sunday when we got there, and partway through walking the first dog of the day, he said, “This makes me feel so much better, just spending time with these dogs.” Hard to beat a free weekend activity where you help out and make both human and dog lives better!