By Kristi Lausch, HSOTC Board of Directors

At every stage of my life, I’ve said, “After this, things will slow down,” but it never really does.  We have so many things that demand our time and energy like family, friends, our health, jobs, our church and community. There never seems to be enough hours in a day but when it comes right down to it, we make time for what matters most to us, right?  So humor me, close your eyes, and take a step into the Humane Society shelter with me on West Fir Avenue in Fergus Falls. Bring a friend. It’s a clean, vibrant place, full of energy. What if I said you could volunteer to work with some furry friends at the shelter while at the same time, enjoy a laugh and bonding time with a friend or family member?  What if I told you that volunteers play an important role in the quality of life of our shelter animals? Could it serve as a good lesson for your children on how to give back to their community?  Could it educate them on the importance of being a nurturing, responsible pet owner? And did I mention that being a shelter volunteer can also greatly benefit your health? It’s scientifically proven that spending time with animals helps lower your stress levels and blood pressure. It’s a feel-good thing for both you and the animals as you will instantly see the results of your labor. Kennel stress is very real and often changes the behavior of a dog or cat. When confined for an extended period of time, they can become timid, aggressive or destructive even if that is not typical for them. Having human interaction is critical and as they are socialized, you will slowly see their true, fun-loving personalities emerge. And making them shine, certainly makes them more adoptable.

With summer days upon us and the kids out of school, it would be a great time to become a valued shelter volunteer. Volunteers must be 16 years of age or accompanied by an adult. All prospective volunteers need to complete an application and a 30-minute orientation session. We have jobs to suit a variety of ages and physical abilities.  Some people love to walk the dogs or throw a ball to them in our fenced yard. Some prefer to have a kitten purr quietly on their lap. Others prefer to do yard work or maintenance that isn’t directly associated with the animals. We have Katie from Galloping Dreams Photography who volunteers a tremendous amount of time to photograph the animals for our website.  Tim from Pardy Painting plans to paint a colorful mural on one of our garage doors this summer. Carol and Bonnie have been faithfully mowing our lawn for years!  Whether you have an hour or a day to spare, we appreciate your help. Please stop by the shelter for more information or visit our website at humanesocietyotc.org.

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