Shelter volunteers, bless their huge hearts and determination, are picking up the slack. As with the staff members, they’re fewer in number than they were before COVID-19 hit. They’ve returned to volunteer stuff like walking and socializing dogs, cuddling and playing with cats, and understanding and working with all their backstories to give them trust in people again. They’re also doing a lot of work usually assigned to paid staff. They’re hosing out piles of poop from the dog kennels, changing litter boxes for the cats, scrubbing down and disinfecting living and play areas, and refreshing food and water.
The training program for new volunteers has also been suspended thanks to the pandemic. The core volunteers teamed up with staff members to contact those who didn’t return after the volunteer team was invited back.
“Only a handful responded, not because of lack of desire but life circumstances, and plenty brought on by COVID,” shelter director Staycee Dains said. “It was clear that we’d have to open our new volunteer program—safely with regards to COVID.”
First, though, a volunteer coordinator needs to come aboard, as does the rest of the rehoming team.
“We are currently hiring four new full-time positions,” said Christine Kucenas, the shelter operations supervisor. “The behavior and rescue coordinator and the adoption coordinator positions had recruitments a little while ago, and we are finalizing candidates now. The volunteer coordinator and the foster coordinator are being recruited right now.”
Adoption appointments likely here to stay
Since the pandemic began, LBACS has joined other public shelters in conducting adoptions through appointments. Here’s how it works at our shelter: People visit the shelter’s adoption page or Facebook page, which has a lot of nifty videos of the animals interacting with the volunteers. If they see a cat, a dog or a rabbit they like, they send an email to [email protected] or call 562-570-4925. Fosters can also apply to take a pet on a temporary basis, which offers the animals a better environment than a kennel. Dains recently said that LBACS has about 150 pets in foster homes.
“Like many animal care centers, Best Friends Lifesaving Center in Mission Hills transitioned to adoption and fostering by appointment only,” said Michelle Sathe, Best Friends Animal Society’s public relations manager. “This helped reduce the amount of foot traffic, allowing us to give our best care to the animals onsite as well …….