September 23, 2023

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

Santa Fe Animal Shelter hopes to get more dog-walking volunteers

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Santa Fe Animal Shelter is looking for dog walkers. They want to help the animals get some fresh air this summer.

Saturdays are now training days for new volunteer dog walkers at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Human Society. Right now, the shelter has about 70 dogs in their care, but they see 6 to 12 strays coming into their shelter a day.

They’d like to give the dogs time outside at least twice a day, especially in the summer months. Tony Wasowicz, with the shelter, said that’s where they rely on volunteers.

“Right now, the biggest push, for us, is dog walkers. We have a lot of dogs, and dogs need a lot of love and care, and that takes a lot of volunteers,” said Santa Fe Animal Shelter Volunteer Coordinator Tony Wasowicz.

Due to the high number of stray dogs coming in, they started the “Faithful 50 Campaign” around three weeks ago hoping to sign up 50 dog walkers for the summer. They already reached that goal with 59 currently signed up, but they’re still looking for more help.

Dog walkers can show up on their own time to take one of the dogs on a short walk or simply let them out into a play area.

“Taking them out stimulates them. It gives them something besides the four walls of their kennel,” said new volunteer dog walker, Daniel Gaghan.

By getting enough dog walkers, staff will be given time to create extra enrichment activities to help reduce stress in the animals, the shelter explained.

“Our enrichment activities include such diverse things as morning music. After their walk they get music that’s scientifically designed to reduce stress, reduce cortisol. Dogs get grooming. They get aroma therapy,” said Wasowicz.

The shelter relies on donors and volunteers, especially after plumbing issues caused flooding in one of their buildings this week, forcing some of the animals out of their kennels. After asking the public for help, the shelter added the community fostered and even adopted some of those misplaced animals.

“There’s over 50 different programs. Even if you’re not into walking dogs or socializing with cats or what have you, there’s always something we can find for you,” added Wasowicz.

The shelter will be hosting an event on July 22 where they hope to recruit more volunteers. Volunteers can also contact them through the shelter’s website.