A few months ago I started to volunteer at Petco for their dog adoptions.

I have always loved animals and going to the Humane Society. I also had a bunch of extra time on my hands since I recently quit playing volleyball. My mom thought Petco would be a great place to start volunteer work at since it was close to my house and just required some paperwork and a few hours of my time on the weekends.

All the dogs that are up for adoption are from the Humane Society and have either been abandoned or abused. Petco has dog adoptions every weekend, and every weekend the Humane Society brings new dogs to the adoption.

Each volunteer’s job is to take care of one dog for the entire adoption time or until they find a good home. Before we begin, we brief ourselves on “our” dog’s background and breed so that we can answer any questions from the potential adoptive owners. The adoption time includes walking our dog around the store, playing with them, and informing people about their conditions when someone takes interest. The main goal that all volunteers have is to make the dog look as friendly and lovable as possible. This goal can actually be harder to achieve than it seems because sometimes the dogs will bark at other dogs coming into the store, which doesn’t leave a good impression. We had an incident where two of the dogs didn’t get along and were trying to attack each other. So we had to make sure they were kept far apart from each other.

[one_third]Every time I volunteer, I get paired up with a dog that’s so badly shaken up that I have to hold it for the entire five hours.[/one_third]

I volunteer for five hours about twice every month, and it’s all worth it when you see a dog find its “forever home.” A few weeks ago, a lady called Petco to see if my dog, a terrier mix who couldn’t stop shaking, had been adopted. She said that she wanted to adopt it and was going to come in a few minutes. However, she didn’t show up till hours later, which made everyone worry that she had decided otherwise.

In the end she showed up and was overjoyed to see that the dog was still available. It was such a relief to see that my dog had finally found a “forever home” and was going to be taken care of.

Most of the time only one or two of the dogs will get adopted, which is the saddest part. Volunteering at Petco showed me how awfully some of these dogs have been treated. Every time I volunteer, there are at least one or two dogs that are suffering from a previous traumatic experience. It’ll come to a point where they will just hide the entire time during the adoptions, or you have to carry them wherever you go. Every time I volunteer, I get paired up with a dog that’s so badly shaken up that I have to hold it for the entire five hours. They never want to walk around outside or in the store like the other dogs, and they won’t even eat the treats that we leave for them.

Besides seeing how badly some dogs have been treated, I have also learned that there are a lot of people that care and want to help. I really encourage everyone to volunteer wherever they can because we won’t understand how fortunate we are until we put ourselves into someone else’s situation. I always knew that animal abuses took place but it wasn’t until I volunteered that my eyes were really opened to how bad it is.