"Open Paw in Shelters:
While it is Open Paw's goal to use education to keep animals out of shelters, we recognize that there are animals in shelters now who need our help. Imagine walking into an animal shelter where all is quiet and it smells good. The dogs are peacefully, lounging on beds chewing away on delectable food-stuffed chew toys or sitting calmly at the front of their kennels wagging “Hello” at every passer by. The cats are either curled up in beds on elevated platforms or batting at dangling catnip toys. Volunteers are busily training dogs throughout the facility and Cat Cuddlers are patiently teaching young playful cats to retract their claws before getting over-excited. This is a shelter where people come for miles, clamoring to adopt the friendly, well-trained residents. These are cats and dogs that will easily settle into their new, permanent homes. This is a shelter where everyone that walks in, walks out just a little bit smarter, more aware of their animal companion’s needs. This is an Open Paw shelter.
Open Paw was created in January of 2000 with the goal of preventing the unwanted animal problem at its source. Most shelter animals were once perfectly normal, lovable and loved puppies and kittens. Yet many are surrendered to shelters or abandoned when they are six months to two years old. Why have these animals become unwanted? In most cases, because of behavior, temperament, or training problems, all of which could easily have been prevented. Sadly, having come to the shelter with behavioral baggage already, many animals rapidly deteriorate after only a short time in the shelter environment. They often become de-housetrained, hyperactive, noisy, anxious, and lonely. Unless a vigorous socialization and training program is in effect, the animals, particularly puppies and kittens, become less and less adoptable, and less likely to remain in a home if they do become adopted, with each day that they stay in the shelter."
This is the beautiful vision that the creators of Open Paw strive to pass on to the shelters who use their programs. It is our goal as well as we train our incoming volunteers!
This course is designed to help you begin your dog walking experience with Willamette Humane Society. We are happy to have you and we have a few guidelines we need you to follow. While it may look like all we need you to do is walk them around for their potty breaks and re-kennel them, it is actually a much more complex job!
The time these animals spend with us is limited and unpredictable, and we want to send them into our community with their best shot at being great animals for their new owners! With these long termed goals, let's begin your training! Continue to Welcome to Class!