Volunteer at the Humane Society, because why not?

Every few weeks, I find myself thinking “Gosh, I would love to have a dog.” Then I’m reminded of the fact that I am a double major who works part time and is involved in several clubs, including a sorority. I have no time to feed myself, much less take care of a pet. Despite my acceptance of this predicament, and at risk of losing the only sliver of free time I have left, I agreed to join my roommate when she suggested we volunteer at the Humane Society of Central Texas.

Now I’m obsessed — Not only are the dogs the perfect fix for my cute animal addiction, but the staff and the facilities are amazing. The people at the Humane Society care so much about every animal they take in, and it shows through how spotless they keep their buildings and how attentive they are to each guest (and volunteer) that walks through their doors. Not only do I encourage all of you dog lovers to go and love some dogs (and cat lovers — they take kitties too), but I encourage you to learn about the shelter, too.

I feel that the Humane Society is often passed over by interested adopters in favor of more professional dog rescues such as Fuzzy Friends, and a lot of that may be because of the Humane Society’s possible status as a kill shelter. While they have been fortunate enough to maintain a no-kill status for the past year, there is still the possibility that if they become too full, they would have to turn to euthanizing animals. This should encourage future pet owners to adopt from there, not dissuade them.

A major difference between the Humane Society and rescues such as Fuzzy Friends is that the Humane Society is classified as an intake facility: Essentially, it is required to take in every animal that is brought to it. This means that if a dog is found on the street and is taken to the Humane Society, it has to find space. Many times, they outsource dogs to rescues like Fuzzy Friends, but unlike the Humane Society, Fuzzy Friends can refuse a dog if they are short on space or if the dog does not seem adoptable.

Worse yet, about two-thirds of the Humane Society’s population right now is made up of pit bulls. Known for being one of the least-adoptable breeds of dogs, pit bulls are often labeled as aggressive, protective and violent. There are many pit bull lovers trying adamantly to change that reputation, but when it comes to adoptions, the stereotype seems to impact their chances at finding a forever home. From personal experience, every pit bull I have interacted with at the Humane Society has been sweet a gentle creature. Just today, I had a pit bull stick his sopping wet head in my lap while he was getting a bath because he was scared of the water. If more people volunteered or visited with these animals, not only would it help the dogs learn how to act toward humans, but it would also prove that these lovable dogs are pets, not monsters.

The Humane Society of Central Texas needs all the help it can get. Many people sign up to volunteer and then only participate once or twice.

I get it — life is crazy, and sometimes you just can’t make the time to get out and volunteer, but the employees and the animals at the shelter really value the time volunteers spend there. It makes the employees’ lives much easier, and it gives the dogs the consistent love and attention they deserve. Even if it’s for a short time span, it’s still better than no time at all. You get to love on puppies and receive some love in return, and you get to help an organization that truly needs assistance. The Humane Society of Central Texas and all its workers are truly dedicated to saving the lives of abandoned and abused dogs. They can’t turn a dog away and I don’t think they want to. So go pet a puppy — it’s helpful and therapeutic, too.

For more information about how to get involved, visit the Humane Society’s website at http://humanesocietycentraltexas.org/about-us.