Are you ready to get more involved and spend some time with dogs at the shelter, but aren’t quite ready to handle dogs directly yet?  Photographing dogs, spending time with shy dogs in their kennels, and giving enrichment toys all help dogs in a hands-off way.

Work with dogs in kennels at the animal shelter

Unfortunately, at most animal shelters, dogs spend the majority of their time in their kennels. Some may be too scared or potentially dangerous to come out. Some are a lot to handle, so they rarely are chosen to be taken out by volunteers. You can help all of these dogs through the bars of their kennel. 

Talking to dogs and reading to them helps them learn to trust people again. Music seems to calm dogs and reduces their stress in the kennel. 

You can reward tricks or calm behavior with yummy treats or take the time with a shy dog to offer food and companionship until they trust you. Give enrichment toys or play games by tossing treats into the kennel or playing “guess a hand,” in which the dog tells you which hand the treat is in. 

There are so many ways to enrich these dogs’ lives right in the kennel, regardless of your age, physical limitations, or time restrictions. 

Photograph shelter dogs

A good photograph can make the difference between a dog who has interested adopters and a dog that nobody knows about. Shelters do all they can to photograph and list every dog, but many photos are blurry, dark, or otherwise low quality, or show dogs when they are terrified at intake. 

Even if you don’t have a professional camera or don’t want to get hands-on with the dogs, you can help provide better pictures than what the shelter can otherwise produce. Smartphone photographs that show a dog’s personality can convince a potential adopter to meet a dog. 

If you are a photographer, please consider getting involved. High-quality pictures can bring attention to an overlooked dog or attract positive attention for a rescue event or volunteering opportunity. Volunteers are happy to help handle dogs so that you can keep your equipment safe.

Which version of Wade would you adopt? A picture can make the difference between a dog who someone wants to adopt and one that they don’t.

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