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Old 04-18-2008, 02:40 PM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,547
Default Sheter Vent: Or Maybe I'm Too Sensitive?

Since I'm between jobs right now, I thought it would be nice if I volunteered at a local shelter (About 60miles from the one I'm employed at.) So I went to three orientations before I was allowed to handle the animals.

The first one was basic stuff, policies etc...The volunteer coordinater ran it, and told everyone that with the exception of euthansia, volunteers would be allowed to do just about anything with the animals. I was pretty excited, as I have 8 yrs of experience with various duties, but what I really wanted to do was train. One of the questions he asked was whether anyone would be comfortable judging a dogs age by it's teeth. I was the only one who raised my hand. He absolutly jumped me, rudely asking if I was a trained vet or vet tech, since they were the only ones with this incredible skill. I was startled and embarassed but I just said I had been trained by a vet and let it go.

Afte that, I wasn't going to volunteer any information. Then he asked how many people had their animals microchipped. I was the only one out of about 15 who didn't. Again, he jumped me, demanding to know why I hadn't had Puss chipped. So I told him it was a health issue and briefly discussed Puss's microchip issue, and the vet and I had discussed the possiblility, but decided against it. Well, he had never heard of such an issue. I really wanted to rudely ask if he was a certified vet or vet tech, but I refrained. Barely.

Well, I got through orientation and figured that he was rude, but I wouldn't be working directly with him, and it was for the animals anyway. So, I received my training packet and started wtih the dogs. I was pleased to see a clicker was included in the packet and was told that all dogs were on clicker training. Great, I'm still learning about clickering, but I get the basics. Well, in theory they are all being clicker trained, but in practice it seems to be pretty punishment based. I was also snapped at by a staff member when I asked if it was possible to tell which dogs had started training and which would need the clicker charged. Apparently I'm supposed to magically know which dogs are which.

Finally, yesterday was the last straw. I can put up with being treated like crap by the employees, I can put up with being treated rudely by the coordinater, but I hate it when they are making choices that are not in the animals best interest.

I've been working with Boomer. None of the other volunteers really want to handle him, and he is huge an unmannerly, In other words, my type of dog! So, I've managed to teach him sit, down and give paw (most of the time). I was excited to see him yesterday. Well, I get there, and am told I'm no longer to work with Boomer. I asked why, because I was concerned I'd done something wrong, or something had happened to him. No, I've done nothing wrong, it's just that Boomer is attached to me now, and unless I get away from him, he'll never bond to a new owner. Yes, I was actually told that. So I had to walk by Boomers kennel and not acknowlege him in any way, even though he was sitting politely and waiting for me to get him. I wanted to cry when I saw him there.

Now I'm afraid to get close to any of the other dogs. I mean, if they get adopted that's one thing, and the goal, but to put so much time into them, and then watch them rot in a kennel, bored and understimulated bothers me. I'm seriously considering not going back. Or am I making a huge deal out of nothing and this is how most shelters are run? I know if I (at the shelter I'm employed at) ever treated a volunteer the way I've been treated at this shelter, I would be getting my rear chewed out by the boss.
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:45 PM
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HoundedByHounds HoundedByHounds is offline
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Location: N Texas, USA
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They sound like a shelter with their heads up their butts to me. Sorry you're being made to feel so unwelcome. I'd be asking some questions of the head honcho were I you.
Gina H.
"Run with the dogs, Suburbia"-Pet Shop Boys
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Old 04-18-2008, 02:46 PM
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Zoom Zoom is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 40,739

Wow...that's not a shelter I want to work for. How are you supposed to teach a dog to trust if they aren't ever given the chance? A dog works for those they bond to and you have to form some sort of a bond in order for the training to really be effective. Of course the dog will bond to a new owner!

I have no idea how you would go about fixing this, other than to thumb your nose at the stupid rules and keep on doing what you know is right. The worse they can do is tell you not to come back, but in the meantime you'll have made some serious progress with Boomer and maybe others. Because really, who is going to adopt a giant, unmannerly type of dog? Very few people. If he can prove that he's at least got his basics, it'll go a lot further.
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:24 PM
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Whisper Whisper is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 13,747

Wow, that's certainly not how the shelter I volunteer for is.
We're encouraged to socialize with the dogs and spend time with them individually. Sometimes when all the dogs are done being walked I just go sit in the kennel with one (or two), and just spend time with them. Sometimes I've taken dogs that still look wired up for a second walk. The shelter is fine with that and even encourages it in most cases.
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:36 PM
Suzzie Suzzie is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,134

they sound like a bunch of dumbasses. The only thing I can figure out is that they are so overworked and underpaid they constantly have a chip on their shoulders and take it out on the volunteers.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:26 AM
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Tazwell Tazwell is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,083

What a sour experience...

So wait, If my foster doggies like me, that means they won't bond to a new owner?? Oh no! They can never be adopted!

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Old 04-19-2008, 09:06 AM
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mrose_s mrose_s is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: QLD, Australia
Posts: 12,169

sounds really badly set up

my advice?... adopt boomer.

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Old 04-19-2008, 09:38 AM
Buddy'sParents Buddy'sParents is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 25,376

What a hard place to be in. This is a shelter that I probably couldn't be in. You are very strong for staying put. can you speak to a higher up about your experiences?
"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave". - Mohandas Gandhi

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