Knowing that my vacation was coming up, I asked a new volunteer to write about her experience coming to the shelter. This is from SSU student Ashley Boerner.
From a young age I’ve been captivated by animals. As a long time animal lover, I was very excited when I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Rohnert Park animal shelter. I’m about four weeks into volunteering and my only regret at this point is not helping out sooner. Every time I go in, there is something new. New animals to meet, new people to introduce myself to; I am in love with the variety this place holds. Animals can be sweet or sour at times. Some animals take longer than others to acclimate themselves to shelter life, but the people here are always friendly.
I am constantly surprised at the level of patience the staff has. All of my bizarre questions and requests are addressed in the most polite way possible and I always feel like I can ask for help when I need it. There is a strong sense of teamwork when you walk through the halls here. This sense stems from the abundance of like-minded individuals who love animals and want to do their part in bettering the community.
Another great surprise was how easy the process of becoming a volunteer was. You stop by, do some paperwork, run through an orientation and then you’re on your way to making a difference. During your orientation various staff members equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to navigate the shelter and its residents. They go over safety (yours and the animals), how to interact with them, where the supplies are kept and other important details. Their goal is to make sure you’re adequately prepared so you feel confident while taking part in shelter activities.
My official job for the shelter is writing animal descriptions for our website. I was shocked when I found out how many other jobs the shelter has to offer. It takes people with all different talents and experience levels to keep the place running. We need everyone from cage cleaners, to cat and bunny cuddlers, to the brave people who do laundry. There are jobs for every kind of animal lover. The contribution of each person here is what makes the shelter run so smoothly, but we could always use more help. Everyone from the young, to the young at heart are encouraged to volunteer and take part in these activities.
The best advice I could give someone who is interested in becoming a volunteer is to simply stop by and talk to one of our front office workers. Like I mentioned previously, my only regret is not volunteering sooner. Even if it’s just a couple hours per week, the shelter is extremely flexible and appreciative.
The time you do spend here is incredibly fulfilling and I always leave feeling like I accomplished something positive. What you do here helps so many animals and changes the course of what might have been a much more challenging life. There is no better feeling than coming in the next day and finding out an animal you worked with has been adopted to his new family. I cannot stress how amazing my experience here has been and how impressed I am with my fellow shelter workers. If you have even the slightest bit of interest, I strongly encourage you to take the next steps towards pursuing volunteer work with us. You can contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Conner Cimmiyotti by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or download a volunteer application from our website, rpanimalshelter.org. I hope to see you here!
BUNFEST, a celebration of everything rabbit! Sunday, April 29, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Burton Recreation Center. Free admission gets you some great speakers on rabbit health and care, lots of adorable rabbits to meet, bunny supplies to purchase and more! Check out information at sonomacountybunfest.com.