We are so excited!!!
We have been working with Austin Animal Center, our city’s municipal open-intake shelter, to iron out the details of a partnership that will allow us to expand our efforts to get more dogs out of the shelter and into homes by providing the behavior support they need to thrive as companion animals. A big piece of that expansion is launching our volunteer program!
Going forward, our group classes and individual project dog model will continue and will expand to include seminars targeted specifically to support shelter dogs, staff, and volunteers, as well as the following volunteer opportunities:
DOL Dog Handlers!
We are looking for qualified handlers to work directly with the DOL dogs! DOL Dog Handlers help implement individual training plans, attend group class as dog and handler teams, and support the dogs in reaching their training and adoption goals. This volunteer position requires dog handling experience, willingness to go through training and internship program, and commitment to adhere to all DOL protocols and procedures as well as the dog’s individual training and care plans.
This is the “everything and the kitchen sink” volunteer team! Being a Canine Ally is a great way for those not quite ready to be handlers to have an invaluable impact on life-saving and quality care while getting to know the dogs first hand. Canine Allies visit dogs at the shelter or in foster, engaging them in enrichment, socialization, and training games. In addition to spending time with the dogs, volunteers help keep Kongs stuffed, puzzle toys clean, training and enrichment supplies organized, and the dogs happy! Plus, Canine Allies act as matchmakers, helping to showcase dogs to potential adopters!
As we’ve written before, the majority of shelter dogs can get on the path home with the type of behavior, enrichment, medical care, and adoption support that is best-practice for high-quality animal shelters. However, there is a population of dogs that can’t.
These dogs are too resource intensive for high-volume adoption shelters to reasonably support through standard programming without taking away from the needs of the general shelter population. Furthermore, there is a pattern of these dogs who do manage to get adopted landing back at the shelter at-risk because they didn’t receive the intervention and post-adoption support they needed to successfully make the transition home. It is these dogs that Dogs Out Loud was founded to save and it is these dogs we will be targeting through our program at Austin Animal Center.
In a No-Kill city such as Austin, these dogs make up a portion of the last 10%. For those not familiar, No-Kill is defined as saving every healthy, treatable, and rehabilitatable animal in the shelter. The standard for a shelter to call itself No-Kill is a 90% live-outcome rate. As Austin achieved that milestone, it became clear to those of us on the front lines that there were good, adoptable, savable dogs still dying in that last 10%.
As a result, a patchwork of organizations has sprung up to target different subsets of that last 10% and get them out of the shelter and into homes. Hard Luck Hounds was the first, specializing in dogs who are overlooked or harder to place for any number of reasons. Classic Canines joined this year to focus on senior dogs, followed recently by Paw Aid Brigade to raise funds for medical cases. We are proud to be part of the team focusing on this piece of the puzzle and grateful to our higher volume adoption shelter and rescue allies who make it possible for us to do so.
The beauty of Austin’s patchwork of programs stitching together the framework of shelter life-saving means that there is a volunteer opportunity that’s the right fit for everyone. If, like us, your passion is the incognito superdog who needs someone to teach him to use his powers for good, we would love to have you join us!
To find out more or get started, fill out our volunteer application or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Interested in learning more about who Dogs Out Loud is and what our long-term goals include? Check out our video!