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Casper Critters

Volunteer with Animal Rescue Organizations in Honor of National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

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10/01/2012 - By Gayle M. Irwin

During the past few months, I've met several people in our community whose passion is helping animals in need. These individuals operate rescue organizations, often aimed at specific breeds, taking in neglected, abused, and abandoned animals. I greatly admire people who take on such a responsibility, assisting not only the animals in need, but ultimately the community.

Some of these rescue groups are small, operated by a few individual volunteers. Other groups have a regional or even national reach. Yet, all serve people, all serve animals.

Those of us who recognize the sad, unfortunate need for humane societies, animal shelters, and pet rescue groups also recognize such organizations cannot do the good that they do without help. From providing food and medical care to fostering and transporting, no one group can do the positive work that's needed without help from other people. One of the primary cries from animal rescue organization is for more volunteers.

I respond to that call in a variety of ways. My schedule and current pet situation don't allow me to serve as a foster home. However, there are many things I can do, such as donate supplies, time and transportation, all of which I do fairly regularly. For example, this summer I transported two different dogs for a group called Big Dogs, Huge Paws. BDHP specializes in rescuing and re-homing the larger dog breeds, such as Mastiffs, Great Danes, and Newfoundlands. I love to travel, and I love to help animals. As a transporter, I get to do both simultaneously; I am able to drive through Wyoming, into Montana, and occasionally to the Black Hills as I help rescue groups get their animals from Point A to Point B. I have also transported for English Springer Spaniel Rescue, and I've conducted home visits for that group, evaluating a potential adopter and the home to ensure an adopted dog will be happy, healthy and safe.

Wyoming has a variety of rescue organizations. These organizations need our help, whether it's transporting, fostering, or donating time, money and product. If animals are your passion, don't just think about helping, be actively engaged, assisting however possible. If a specific dog breed makes you smile, look into how you might help a rescue group of that breed. One of the best ways to locate a breed rescue is through Petfinder (www.petfinder.com).

If Springer Spaniels capture your heart, visit http://www.rockymountainesra.org/ and learn how you can help a Springer in the Rocky Mountain region. If big dogs are more your thing, log onto www.bigdogshugepaws.com and see how your volunteer service can benefit a large canine. Bassett Hounds make you bray? Visit www.wyomingbassetthounds.com. Border Collies make your heart race? Visit www.wyomingbordercollieresuce.com and see how you might help. Cats more your calling? Visit www.caspercatrescue.org and see how you can help kitties in our community. Our local humane society and animal shelter needs caring volunteers as well and so do the other local groups such as Paws2Help Foundation and Rescue Rangers. You can find many of these organizations on Facebook as well as their organizational website.

One way I'm helping this fall is through upcoming book signings. The new book about my blind dog Sage, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, was released earlier this month. October happens to be National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Part of all book sale proceeds will go to rescue groups and other animal welfare organizations. I'll be at TomCats Learning on October 20th from 10 am to Noon and the Casper Humane Society on Oct. 27th. I'll also be at Wind City Books on December 1. Copies of the Chicken Soup for the Soul dog books in which I have a story, including the latest edition titled I Can't Believe My Dog Did That! will also be available at the signings. Give the gift of a great dog book to yourself or someone you love and you'll also be helping animals in need in our area!

Volunteering with animal rescue organizations helps not only the organization and the animals, but also the community. Homeless animals are a community problem that can only be solved when the community joins together with the individuals and groups working to help the helpless.


Gayle M. Irwin is a writer with a strong background in animal welfare. She volunteers with various companion animal organizations and is the author of several books about her dogs. Her newest book, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, was released earlier this month. Additionally, two short stories appear in new editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul this fall. Learn more, including where she's scheduled to appear, by visiting www.gaylemirwin.com.

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