On a really good day, I am encrusted in muddy paw prints; I have murky brown dribbles of an indeterminate origin on my shoes, a pulled muscle in my right arm, and the widest grin you’ve ever seen across my face–all at the same time. No, I am not (technically) in a mental institution. I am volunteering at the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia shelter (ACCT) at W. Hunting Park and Front Streets! It’s true that I live about 40 minutes away (on a good day), but I keep coming back here because of the giddy joy I get out of helping these animals, the variety of (human) friendships I have made, and the wonderful chances volunteering has given me to develop skills and talents that don’t normally see the light of day.
I started volunteering in animal rescue when I was just out of college and working in retail. I wanted to use more of my skills than I was currently using at my job. After making my way through the worlds of no-kill rescue groups and Facebook crossposting, I found my way to ACCT. Before I officially was a volunteer, I was a “regular” on the volunteer-run Philly Urgents Page on Facebook, sharing and reposting animals available for adoption and contributing to fundraisers. I also greatly admired the work of the pen pals, who are paired up with a special dog one-on-one or two-on-one and spend time with that dog, devoting more time to getting him or her adopted. I saw a posting on Facebook asking for transporters, so I thought it seemed simple enough to do. One snowy, slushy day in October, I had the wonderful experience of escorting the biggest puppy I had ever seen and an injured Chihuahua to the Delaware County SPCA near my house. Everyone at ACCT was so kind and grateful for my help that I knew it was a special place. That following March, I signed up for volunteer orientation on a whim. It was definitely one of the best impulse decisions I have ever made!
Almost immediately, I was welcomed into the ACCT family. I was paired with a mentor and welcomed into the closed Facebook pages for ACCT volunteers, where we can all talk about the animals and help each other. There is so much support here, it is incredible. A few months later I felt ready to officially join the Pen Pals program. I have met some incredible friends here and learned so many things about dogs and people. I have gone on pen pal hikes, gone to events (and become an event leader), graduated from the mentor program so to speak and just recently became a mentor myself, drive many miles to transport animals to the safety of rescue groups, and celebrated my one year anniversaries as a volunteer and as a pen pal volunteer. I help out in adoptions handling dog meets and processing adoption applications. The joy I get pairing a pet with a new “parent” is absolutely indescribable. I think I’m known around the shelter as the girl who runs squealing and jumping around so much! I also love the variety of people I have met here who have become friends, people I think I never would have met if I did not decide to make that impulsive decision to drive 40 minutes and go to that volunteer orientation in March.
If at first you don’t succeed…oh wait- we DID succeed and we are gonna do it again! Last year Philadoptables, with your help, constructed a giant doggie play yard at ACCT Philly. Our next project, starting in approx two weeks is twice as nice! TWO more new doggie play yards where dogs can run, jump, and play. Once that is done we will be moving to the other side of the building to replace the three damaged smaller dog runs with brand new safe fencing. All of this does not come cheap. We worked hard to win a grant from the cool people at Animal Farm Foundation but we are still $6,000 short of our construction goal.
We are currently looking for friends who would be willing to sponsor a run, which will help us to offset the costs of some of the fencing, fence inserts, benches and other necessities. Your generous donation will earn you a beautiful plaque with your name on a run of your choice, a special acknowledgment on our social media pages and a beautiful framed picture of a Philly shelter dog enjoying the new run.
Donations can be made by clicking the blue DONATE button on the Philadoptables’ Facebook page.
For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If this is an example of the next generation, we have nothing to worry about. You may have met Jena, Philadoptable’s Junior Volunteer, before when she and her Brownie troop were making decorations for events, dropping off linens and dog treats, or when she was paying a visit to the shelter dogs. Recently, Jena and her fab mom Susan joined us at the Volunteer Breakfast armed with homemade dog treats, towels for the kitties, and amazing decorations made by the Brownies for our Love Potions event Feb 23, 2013. THANK YOU to the adorable animal loving Brownies for the cute decorations- we will be using them a lot!
Linda began her 11 years and counting of intense fostering when her children left the nest. Then when her son went to Iraq it was the only way she felt she could keep her promise to him that she would be okay. ( He returned safely) Last year she made a big move from a loft in the city to the suburbs after years of getting on the elevator with at least 4 and often more dogs 4 times a day! It’s been largely a case of Pit bulls and/or Chihuahuas and sometimes the chi’s intimidate the pits. ” I feel that my own dogs train the puppies and many of the dogs as they start to trust a family- that makes it great for me, cause I get to just pamper and teach them that humans need not always be feared. We love mange dogs, deafies and any dogs with handicaps but truth is we love them all.”
Her God child Destiny helps now that she is older and responsible enough to follow through on many many details that are part of this. Destiny’s principal and her teachers all keep close tabs on the various dogs that she lives with on weekends, summers and vacations