I worked at HAS for one month in July as a volunteer to help take care of the animals over there. There were some cats and even sometimes birds and cows, but the shelter is mainly taking care of dogs. There are tons of bad cases: diseased dogs, mortally injured ones, paralyzed others, it’s almost as if the lucky dogs are the ones who were abandoned. All of these beings need much care and attention, so that’s mostly what I did during the time I was there.
Dogs being sociable animals, they’ll just ask from you to play or stay with them, because someone coming to see them is their happiness of the day. It is also one of the most important task: socializing the dogs. Nobody wants in their home a dog who is afraid of them or bite, so getting them used to humans is a really important part of the job. Some will say that some dogs are lost cases, but we’re still relentlessly trying to befriend them, with patience and gentleness. And it proved to be the right answer, because we could see drastic changes in dogs that we thought would never be able to get used to people. There were others, but I’m now thinking about Henry, a dog with paralyzed back legs, who has been with HAS for years and was scared all this time of humans, and just recently began to accept people stroking him.
Unfortunately, we also often have puppies and kittens, most of them being abandoned for some ridiculous reasons like being hurt or for many of them, being a female. It is unfortunate that people don’t know more about spaying, because HAS is also taking care of it for free, so abandoning females because they could have puppies is something that comes from a lack of information. The direct consequence of these acts is that those babies need extra care, because socializing them at a young age is extremely important to have nice and level-headed adult animals.
Since I’ll engage next year in veterinary studies, I was also extremely interested by all of the operations and veterinarian point of view. I could help sometimes the veterinarians to do small tasks, like changing bandages of an amputated dog or watching another while there were giving him injections.
I had a great time at the shelter, and seeing that you can change a living being life just by spending some time with him is one of the greatest reward. We did some rehabilitation of paralyzed dogs, and for the ones who still had hope it showed really good results, like Caesar, who was beaten by his owner and could walk again, or Arthur, a labrador cross who is now trying to stand on his own. But all of those dogs need to be worked with every day if possible, and that’s where volunteers are really needed and can be the more useful.
Thank you so much everyone from HAS and all of the volunteers for letting me have such a wonderful experience, and I hope I’ll be back someday.