Austin Animal Center seeks dog walkers to brighten shelter dogs’ days

From the City of Austin:

dog walkAustin Animal Center is asking the community to be part of ensuring animals receive needed exercise as it seeks volunteers to help with walking dogs.

The AAC will host two dog-walking information sessions for possible volunteers to walk medium to large dogs from 7 to 8 p.m. July 15 and from 9 to 10 a.m. Aug. 8 at 7201 Levander Loop location.

Because of the high volume of dogs in the shelter, more help is needed to ensure dogs get out for bathroom breaks and to stretch their legs throughout the day.

As Austin’s only open-intake shelter, the City relies on rescue partners including Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Humane Society to take many of the 18,000 animals — about 50 animals a day — that come into the shelter.

Even with partner assistance, the shelter is often at capacity, meaning more than 200 dogs need to be walked multiple times per day.

As the largest no-kill city in the United States, staff and volunteers at Austin Animal Center give animals as long as they need to find their forever homes. Some animals wait many months to get adopted, living in kennels, before a family comes to take them home.

The walks are key to keeping them happy and healthy so they can be ready to meet potential adopters.

“We should look at the shelter as a summer camp where you learn a new song, do a craft, exercise, go for a walk, and then you go home,” said Chief Animal Services Officer Tawny Hammond. “And the idea is to create this type of environment and this same model at the shelter because these animals are going home.

“Becoming a dog-walking volunteer at the shelter is easy and you’ll get to exercise while knowing you are the brightest moment in a shelter dog’s day.” Hammond said. “With more than  18,000 animals coming into the center annually and an average of 48 animals coming in per day, staff and volunteers cannot do this alone. We know the community loves animals and will be part of the solution.”

To sign up to become a volunteer dog walker, visit www.austinanimalcenter.org.

Volunteer dog walkers will attend a brief orientation and training session prior to beginning to walk dogs. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt and volunteer manual.

Contact the shelter today and you could be walking dogs next week.

City shelter pet adoptions are available at the Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop, from 11 to 7 p.m. daily and the City’s overflow kennels at Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., from 11:30 to 7 p.m. daily.

For more information visit www.austinanimalcenter.org or check Facebook for daily pet updates.


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