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Dog lovers needed: Shelter seeks 'extreme dog walkers'

Jessica Fuller • May 22, 2018 at 11:36 PM

Dogs at the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter need a few loving humans to make sure they get enough exercise throughout their stay.

While the shelter has about five volunteers who come to walk the dogs on a regular basis, operations manager Tammy Davis said the shelter is seeking a few extra dog-savvy volunteers to walk the shelter’s bigger — and more rambunctious — dogs to make sure everyone is getting sunshine and exercise.

Every morning, Davis said shelter staff let the dogs out in play groups within their fenced-in areas so they can socialize with other dogs and get daily exercise, but she said about half of the dogs don’t socialize well and can’t be released in these groups, so they have to be walked separately.

The current volunteers can’t always get around to walking every dog that needs to be walked.

That’s where the extreme dog walkers come in.

“These dogs that we’re looking to have people come and walk, they may not enjoy the company of the other dogs and may not want to be in the play groups,” Davis said. “They just need a little one-on-one with a human. It helps them learn a little bit of obedience — how to sit, how to walk on a leash properly. Those are the kinds of things we are looking for.”

Davis said she’s looking for volunteers who are experienced with larger dog breeds and have a few hours a week to spare for the program. She said she’s looking to put volunteers on a schedule for a couple hours a week during the shelter’s regular 1 to 6 p.m. operating hours. Applications for the extreme dog walker program can be picked up at the shelter.

“I know a lot of people don’t want to come (to the shelter) because they think this is a sad place and it will make them cry, but we are trying very hard to change that image and make it a happy place,” Davis said.

“We think we’ve done a good job of improving the lives of the animals at the shelter.”

Davis said that she shelter is also still seeking foster homes for its kittens that are too young to be adopted out as well as any toys or supplies that can be donated.

“Even if you can’t adopt, coming and volunteering, the animals need that interaction and it shows the animals that people care.”

Email Jessica Fuller at jfuller@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Jessica on Twitter@fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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