my shelter 2-min training

I’ve been shirking my commitment to the shelter duties I took on.

I made the decision to work at the shelter on a weekly basis back in November ’08, at the beginning of our quiet time. I had met and befriended folks at the Parkersburg (WV) shelter and we hosted a presentation by Sue Sternberg, who was here for an agility camp.

My goal was to provide the Marietta shelter (which I perceived as more needy than the Parkersburg shelter) with a volunteer station and materials to teach potential dog adopters basic obedience exercises.

I met and befriended the volunteer coordinator at the Marietta shelter and, when she was nominated and voted the shelter board’s new president, I agreed to assume her former duties and a small mountain of volunteer application forms.

As volunteer coordinator, I:

1) donated a volunteer station cabinet ($60) and framed instructions for dog-walkers ($40). On this station, I provided a sign-in notebook, SMART (Shelter Matchmaker And Rehab Training) team guidelines, several leashes from our vast collection, two canisters of disinfectant, and several containers of hand cleanser.

2) created a display board for “Training Tips by Marsha Houston” which included a large supply of my seven 2-Minute Dog Trainer brochures for choosing the right shelter dog and basic obedience training.

3) sorted through the mountain of volunteer forms and harvested e-mail addresses, assembling a team of 3-4 SMART team members.

4) Spent 2-3 hours every Friday and Saturday at the shelter January through April ’09, training dogs, talking with potential adopters, working with dog-walkers, and replenishing supplies at the volunteer station.

5) Coordinated volunteer events and projects for Marietta College students, fascilitating a wonderful PR notebook which is available to the shelter at no charge, and assisting 20 students’ efforts to clean and freshen the shelter facility — donated painting supplies and a 5-gallon bucket of primer ($75).

6) Walked dogs at the shelter, at We Luv Pets, and at adoptathons.

7) Assembed teams of dog wranglers for various transport efforts, preparing dogs for transport to other shelters and rescue groups.

8) Attended several board meetings, was tentatively asked about my interest in becoming a board member.

9) Created a new volunteer application, taking the existing TWO applications (2 and 3 pages each), and putting all necessary information on one page, plus adding the “do you wish to foster” questions.

10) Sorted through the mountain of volunteer forms and discovered that shelter staff were having absolutely everyone complete an application, including visiting classes of grade school students, college students, and children accompanied by an adult.

11) created call lists for 10-12 jobs at the shelter, including only pertinent information on contacting those folks, and gave the call lists to board president Snell.

At the last board meeting I arrived 45 minutes late due to a misunderstanding regarding the meeting time and the worst storm this area has seen in 10 years. I was informed that someone else wanted the volunteer coordinator job, someone who is a bit of a flake and who is disliked by the staff of the shelter.

Because we have a puppy at home I’ve curtailed my visits to the shelter which, regardless of disinfectants and meds used, is rife with kennel cough, worms, and parvovirus.

However, now that Kory has had his second set of booster shots, I can probably resume my shelter visits. With summer in full swing I really need to replenish the training information and sign-up sheets for volunteers and potential adopters.

So I’m going to plan a visit the shelter to  a) work with dogs,  b) fill the training display with brochures,  c) turn in the box of volunteer forms and,  d) resign as volunteer coordinator.

Additionally, I’ve decided to remain as a dog training at the shelter and as provider of dog-training information to anyone interested, but to NOT accept a board position for one particular reason.

I’m getting phone calls from adopters of dogs, from dog-owners who visit local veterinarians who refer them to me, and from residents of the city and county, asking for dog-training advice and am offering basic obedience training on a pay-as-they-play basis.

This income from dog-training will keep me from serving as a board member for the shelter. I can’t be a board member and have real or potential income from dog adopters.

Dodged a bullet there, didn’t I? <g>

Today’s task is to print more volunteer applications and dog-training brochures. Tomorrow I’ll deliver them to the shelter.

In other news, we have a nice, long break from the hampster wheel we’ve been on. I hope to use this time to work on cottages, plant more ground cover, tame the weedy areas around the training building, and complete my work on the 2-minute dog training handouts for Go Rally Training Manual.

Additionally, we have 4 major events happening in a few months:  a) August 1-4, Games Camp,  b) August 11-16, teacup camp and TDAA trial/seminar,  c) Sept. 29-Oct.4, teacup camp and TDAA trial,  d) October 7-11, TDAA warm-up workshop and Petit Prix in Wisconsin.

We have 5 weeks to prepare for the first and about 14 weeks to prepare for the last. All that while trying to continue swimming and getting more fit. That’s a busy summer, probably.

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