Volunteers can help dogs at shelter
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Thursday, 18 April 2013 09:41
During her lunch break, Nora Solomon leaves work to become a part-time paparazzi for puppies and full-grown dogs. The photos are then posted on Facebook in hopes that someone won't be able to resist the sad brown eyes or a long slobbery tongue.
|Volunteers Nora Solomon, left, uses a dog treat to get the attention of Bumble Bee, a two-year-old pit-mix, while Michelle Wasylecki takes a photo to post online. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Solomon, of Bowling Green, is one of the first local residents to sign up for a new volunteer program at the Wood County Dog Shelter.
"I love dogs," said Solomon, who has three of her own at home. "Dogs can really turn the day around for you."
Solomon said she was heartbroken when she learned that some dogs at the shelter are not reunited with their owners and do not find new homes.
"Unfortunately, it's not a no-kill shelter," she said. "Their people let them down."
So Solomon signed up to help find new families for the homeless dogs.
"My life is so enriched by them. I want to help where I can," she said.
Wood County Dog Warden Andrew Snyder is looking for more people like Solomon, who are willing to volunteer at the dog shelter.
"There are a lot of people who don't know we're out here and don't know what we do," said Snyder of the shelter tucked in the back of the county's East Gypsy Lane Road complex.
And many don't realize that a new state law passed last year regarding dangerous and vicious dogs requires the dog warden's office to investigate every dog bite in the county. Last year, that was 174 cases.
"It's resulted in a lot of our time focused on these investigations," Snyder said.
And since there is no additional funding from the state to support more staff, and the county is not interested in raising dog license fees, that means Snyder is implementing a volunteer program to help the dog shelter continue its good record of reuniting dog with their owners or finding new families for them.
Last year, the dog pound took in 671 dogs. Of those, 191 were reunited with owners, 312 were adopted by new homes, and 168 were euthanized. Of those euthanized, 141 were considered unadoptable because they were aggressive or unhealthy. So the adoption rates of the "adoptable" dogs was 95 percent, Snyder said.
Snyder is concerned that the new dog bite investigation requirements are taking staff time away from caring for the shelter dogs and finding homes for them. So he is asking for volunteers to sign up for several jobs, such as:
• Taking photos of the dogs and posting them on Facebook or petfinder.com, "which helps us get them adopted or transferred to rescue organizations," Snyder said.
• Provide socialization and exercise for dogs to improve behavior, mental health and decrease excess energy. "Our dogs need more interaction with people," especially since the shelter is holding them longer in hopes of finding them homes.
• Develop personality profiles to be posted on dog's cage for potential adopters. "Our knowledge of the dogs is limited," Snyder said. But if a volunteer can spend some time with a dog, they can then describe their personality, such as "Rocky likes to go outside and fetch. He knows how to sit," he said.
• Name the dogs. All the dogs are given names at the shelter, and "we run out of name ideas," Snyder said.
• Bathe and groom adoptable dogs. "A lot of the dogs have been running awhile and need a bath," he said.
• Provide counseling for potential adopters.
• Help with community outreach program.
• Assist in circulation of weekly adoption flyers.
• Perform fundraisers and promote donations for special causes such as injured dog medical funds. "We want money to set aside for treatment of these dogs," Snyder said.
• Sponsor dog spaying, neutering or vaccinations.
• Assist in cleaning the dog shelter.
• Help with community education program on dog care, behavior, licensing, etc.
• Help with education program on responsible pet ownership.
Volunteers must be 18 or older, and have no criminal conviction for animal abuse or neglect laws. Training will be provided.
Anyone interested in volunteering may fill out an application by stopping at the dog shelter, 1912 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green, or emailing