Column: Dog Walking Day seeking volunteers

Published 4:18 pm Thursday, May 25, 2023

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

The Humane Society of Chilton County will host Dog Walking Day on June 2 to bring the community and shelter dogs together. Volunteers will walk dogs in need of adoption and exercise while evaluating the dog’s skill set. The event will be from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. but volunteers may come during that time frame when they have availability.

Each person will receive a brief orientation which will explain the information to be gathered and receive a clipboard to use in evaluating their furry companions. The information gathered will be instrumental in helping the dogs find homes.

“There are currently 110 dogs in the shelter and only five people to evaluate them,” board member Katherine Reece said. “Most of the dogs are strays or have been brought to us by animal control so we don’t have much background information on them. When volunteers help us evaluate the dogs, we find out if they know commands like ‘sit’ or can walk on a leash. A dog is much more likely to be adopted if he knows those things. We will also give the volunteers treats and water and they might even be able to teach their dog how to sit while they are volunteering.”

Each dog-walking time frame will take approximately 30 minutes to an hour to receive a proper evaluation. The route and duration of the walk is to be determined by the volunteer.

“When the dogs come out of the kennel they have pent up energy and will bounce around because they are excited to be going for a walk, so it is important to wait 10 minutes before starting the evaluation otherwise each dog will seemingly be bouncy and energetic.”

Individuals or families that would like to volunteer are encouraged. Walkers should be 16-years-old or older, or have a signed permission form from a guardian.

“We are encouraging volunteers to take photos and a video of their dog and post it on their social media page,” said Reece. “When they post their video and link it to the Humane Society’s page it allows people to see the true nature of the dog and increases their chances in getting adopted.”

People of all ages and health backgrounds are welcomed.

“We will match each person to a dog that best suites them,” said Reece. “If you are 63-years-old with a bad hip and need knee-replacement surgery we are not going to give you a 100-pound dog. It works out better for both the dog and person to match them accordingly.”

Additionally, the Humane Society will have other volunteer opportunities available on Dog Walking Day such as assembling new dog houses. All volunteer help from the community is welcomed.

The Humane Society of Chilton County is located at 139 Shade Tree Drive, Clanton.