While at college, it’s normal for students to miss their fury friends back at home. Luckily, just an 8-minute drive from Marist College is the Dutchess County SPCA. The DCSPCA relies heavily on their volunteers and are always looking for help, so, if you want to spend some time with an animal in need of love, volunteering at the DCSPCA is the right fit for you.
To volunteer at the shelter and work directly with the animals you must be at least 18-years-old. The first step in becoming a volunteer is to attend the orientation where you will learn about the DCSPCA. The next step is to attend three to four scheduled training classes, depending on how much you are able to learn in the scheduled time. After you pass the training classes, you have to compete 10 hours of mentoring for cats, and 20 hours of mentoring for dogs before you can be fully on your own with the animals. To compete these hours, you will shadow an experienced volunteer, watching how they socialize with the animals and assisting them hands-on. Depending on how well you do with the training, you may not have to complete the full 10 or 20 hours. As a volunteer, some of your possible activities include cat/dog socializing, behavior modification, dog walking, office assistance and off-site events.
Marist Alumni from the class of 1990, Wayne Mabey, has been volunteering at the DCSPCA for 10 years. Mabey had always had dogs growing up but because him and his wife travel a lot, they were never able to get a dog of their own, so they both volunteer at the DCSPCA. Mabey started working with dogs but as of three years ago he started working with the cats and enjoys the combination of working between the two. Mabey explained that while working at the DCSPCA you get to know the animals and it’s easy to help people find which animal that would fit well with what they are looking for: “I love being here, being able to help these animals find homes.”
Ashley Taylor, a volunteer, has been working at the DCSPCA for 6 years. When asked if the DCSPCA could benefit from college students she said, “Absolutely! They could take them to the play outside and run, then when they come back they can sleep and won’t be restless.” Having younger volunteers at the DCSPCA would be very helpful, as Taylor explained, because a lot of older people volunteer at the shelter and have been with them for over 50 years; college students would have more energy to keep up with the dogs. Taylor also expressed the most rewarding part of the job is, “helping a dog that’s shy and giving them a home.” She also said that volunteers could benefit from the experience because, “it makes you feel good about yourself.”
For more information about the DCSPCA and how you can get involved, you can visit their website at www.dcspca.org or call them at 845-452-7722.