Animal Shelter makes it easier 
for volunteers to receive training,
 help pets get adopted

The expansion of the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter volunteer training program has made it much easier for residents to visit the shelter to spend time with the animals.

Volunteer training sessions used to be held once a week, but now those interested in volunteering can visit the shelter during operating hours five days a week to learn about the shelter’s disease prevention protocols and rules, take a short quiz and start volunteering.

“The St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter revamped its volunteer training program about two months ago. The orientation is now much smaller than the large groups that previously attended the training when we offered just one session per week,” Dr. Jena Troxler, supervisor of the animal shelter, said. “This schedule helps to make it more accessible and in smaller groups, giving our volunteers a more personalized experience.”

The orientation takes about 20 minutes to complete, in addition to a 10-minute personal tour of the shelter. After that, volunteers are set to go behind the scenes.

Once residents have been trained, they can interact with the animals by socializing kittens, offering enrichment, giving baths, walking dogs, and helping get the pets ready for adoption. The shelter also offers a Rescue Run Club on Thursday mornings at 6 a.m., where volunteers can take dogs on walks, jogs, or runs in the area around the shelter, giving them exercise and working on their leash manners.

Troxler added that there is no age limit to be a volunteer at the shelter.

“We value the fact that children take a strong interest in learning empathy and caring for pets,” she said. “They are part of orientation with a parent and volunteer with a parent if they are under the age of 14.  Our young volunteers are very engaged and aware of protocols for safety and disease prevention and look forward to seeing the pets as they move up to adoption healthy and ready to interact.”

The youngest volunteer the shelter has had so far was under the age of two.

“Many times, families have more than one child and bring all siblings along,” Troxler said.

Troxler said that volunteer support is important for the pets at the shelter.

“The animals get extra walks, enrichment with homemade toys and treats, plus interaction with a variety of people so they are well adapted to people beyond our shelter staff,” she said. “Our volunteers also learn the personalities of the pets and help us promote them for adoption. We are open two Saturdays per month, and we even welcome oriented volunteers to check a dog out for an outing – some establishments and parks allow pets, and that’s a great way to get them seen in the community.”

The shelter is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., in addition to two Saturdays a month.