Today was my first day of volunteering!
As we drove to BARK I felt both excited and anxious at the same time. Would I be too upset by all the dogs there and burst into tears or would I enjoy myself? I’d say I was in between.
We drove up to the farm and met with the BARK volunteer coordinator. She gave us the low down on what we were going to do – move all of the dogs to the outdoor runs so that we could clean their indoor shelters and then bring them all back inside. She said we could choose between moving/walking the dogs and cleaning the runs. It didn’t seem to fair to make the regulars push all the poop around while we played with the dogs so my husband, my sister and I decided to do both.
Once we were inside the sights, sounds, and smells were overwhelming. The barking was at club music level where you have to scream at anyone in order for them to hear you. Over 100 dogs are held at this part of the farm, craziness. We wandered around a bit just to take it all in. The first couple rows were all beagles. The coordinator said that after hunting season is over a lot of beagles are just given away by their owners since they (in their minds) have no need for them anymore. This is horribly depressing to me. I must explain – 1. Growing up the ONLY type of dog I wanted was a beagle and 2. On Wednesday Caitlin from Healthy Tipping Point posted a video about former lab beagles experiencing grass and sun for the first time – article. I’m not much of a crier but I bawled when trying to explain the video to my husband. Needless to say, I wanted to rescue all of them on the spot.
Over the next couple hours we moved dogs, got jumped on with poopy paws, played, scraped up said poop, and brought all the dogs back in to rest after their play time. At points I didn’t know what the heck I was doing but I just found a job and cranked it out. It was very rewarding to say the least. It really fueled my desire to foster a couple of them and volunteer their regularly. A career-worthy job? I should say so.
The day wrapped up with a great walk on a woodsy trail. Each of the volunteers got to pick out their own dogs to walk and well I chose a beagle. 🙂 It was such a great experience. After only one day volunteering is exactly what I hoped for. It’s tough at times but so very worth it.