Every year, PAWS Companion Animal Shelter helps over 3,000 companion animals find new homes. With less than 20 full- and part-time employees devoted to the care of the cats and dogs during their stay, we rely on the help of many volunteers from the community. Without these outstanding folks, we could not dream of doing the work that we do.
One of the positions that is vital to the care of dogs in our shelter is that of Kennel Attendant. It is the Kennel Attendants’ responsibility to take care of the dogs and provide customer service to potential adopters in the kennels during our adoption hours. They provide fresh water and bedding whenever it is needed, scoop and mop messes out of kennels, keep laundry and dishes going throughout the day, and spend time with the dogs. These volunteers are the eyes and ears of the kennels. They alert staff to changes in health, and in behavior.
Above: Kennel Attendant Pattie Beaven hangs out with Sydney.
Kennel Attendants are also instrumental in teaching our dogs new tricks and basic manners. It is incredibly important to keep dogs' minds occupied while they wait for their forever homes.
Like everyone at PAWS who works with dogs, Kennel Attendants employ our Good Dog! Program to teach our pups things like sit, shake and how to walk politely on leash, just to name a few. After interacting with a dog, they write notes about the animal's behavior so staff knows how the dog is progressing or if he or she needs any extra attention.
It is thanks to our volunteers that we get to know our dogs as well as we do, and thus can make the best match possible between adopter and adoptee.
To become a Kennel Attendant, first apply to be a volunteer at PAWS. After your application is reviewed, we will send you an invitation for a volunteer orientation. Once you've attended orientation, you can sign up to for your desired position and shift (as a note, there are lots of other volunteer opportunities, too). You will attend a skills training, and complete one shift shadowing a veteran volunteer. As with the majority of positions for PAWS volunteers, Kennel Attendants must commit to 12 consecutive weeks in their position.
We really mean it when we say we can't do our work without our volunteers. It's a wonderful experience to work side by side with people who truly enjoy helping animals in need. Thanks to all of our past and present volunteers who have put in so much time and effort for our animals. And for those of you that are interested, we hope you'll join us.
Kennel Attendants Becki Hunter, Noel Arguello-Mailler and Pattie Beaven folding laundry