Greetings Volunteers,

This post gives me another chance to say, Happy Volunteer Week! The theme for national Volunteer Recognition Week is “empathy in action.” Can you think of a more appropriate theme for Marin Humane volunteers?! Whether you’re walking dogs, assisting in the clinic, cleaning cat cages, helping out adopters, fostering, doing behavior evaluations, helping customers at the Thrift Shop, doing data entry, soothing a child with your Animal-Assisted Therapy dog, or any of the dozens of other things you do, volunteers exemplify empathy. You truly keep this shelter running. It’s not an overstatement to say that we couldn’t function without YOU!

Shelter update: We currently have 182 animals in our care: 98 animals in foster and 84 animals in the shelter/Kitty Corner. Our residents include: 16 dogs, 5 puppies, 40 cats, 3 kittens, 6 rabbits, 6 guinea pigs, 2 reptiles, 1 bird, and 5 fowl. 

Adoptions update: Congratulations to last week’s adopters — including this sweet boy and his new puppy; who could resist a kid in dinosaur pants with a puppy in his lap! And thank you adopters for giving our shelter animals the second chances they deserved.  Here’s the wonderful adoption slideshow you’re all waiting for! There are still lots of animals waiting and their paws are crossed that this week will be their lucky week. Here’s the 411 on last week’s adoptions in the Adoption Report.

Happy Tails from Community Engagement: The Community Engagement department has been quite busy these past few months! To learn about ALL this department does (hint: Animal-Assisted Therapy, Pet Care Assistance Program, Pet Safety Net, student volunteer programs, to name a few), read this Happy Tails Newsletter Spring 2022!

Feeding the shelter animals: Many people have commented on the complexities of feeding such an array of animals as we have at the shelter. To learn more about the feeding process, read Animal Care Manager Sam Winegarner’s piece: “When entering a cat’s room or taking a dog from their kennel you may come across signage that is less obvious in its meaning than others. “R/D BID” or “SDG TID” may seem like a strange code language- well, it is! These are abbreviations for food types and frequencies that tell our staff and feeding volunteers what an animal should be offered at mealtime. All of the animals with these signs will have corresponding notations on the Food Board hanging in the hallway outside the clinic dog runs. Feeders check both the board and for signs to ensure an animal gets the proper diet.  

Why do some animals have special diet instructions and not others? When an animal enters our care at Marin Humane it is offered one of a handful of basic diets depending on its age and species. This is the automatic feeding protocol that caregivers are trained to be familiar with. However, several things might necessitate an animal be placed on a special diet that differs from the default.   

Sometimes an animal is given different food for behavioral reasons. Appetite is often the first thing to disappear when an animal is stressed (and a change in environment is stressful for most animals) so there are times when we need to “dress up” an animal’s meal with wet food or chicken to encourage them to start eating. Or perhaps the animal is a little too enthusiastic about eating and needs its food offered in a “slow feeder” or foraging toy to slow them down. Or perhaps our diets are just so different than what they are used to eating that they don’t always recognize it as a delicious meal and need a bit of olfactory encouragement.  

Many times an animal is put on a special diet for medical reasons. They may have dental issues and need soft food, or have allergies and need a hydrolyzed protein formula, or need extra fiber for tummy troubles. We have at our disposal a wide array of special veterinary foods to help keep our shelter animals healthy and thriving.  

As our shelter population changes over time to include more and more behaviorally and medically challenging animals, our need to be flexible, knowledgeable, and sometimes creative when it comes to feeding increases. Our Animal Care and Veterinary staff as well as our volunteers are constantly monitoring our animals’ intake (and outtake!) to make sure all needs are met. It is an elaborate system and can sometimes be a great deal of work, but it’s an important part of what we do.” 

Tails of Marin: Recently, it’s been puppies galore here at Marin Humane. Almost every day for the past couple of weeks we’ve sent fluffy, wiggly cuties home with their giddy new pet parents. Animals adopted from Marin Humane have already been spayed or neutered and received their first vaccinations, but that’s just the beginning of what bringing a new puppy home means in terms of keeping them healthy. Read this week’s Tails of Marin article for more info on how to get your puppy’s health off to a good start.

Flyball, the best kept secret in dog training: If you’re looking to pursue a new dog sport, check out Dawn Kovell’s B&Tea blog post this month on Flyball.

Hope you’re feeling the “love” for being the best volunteers!