It's been a long time since the Moose Jaw Humane Society has been able to welcome volunteers into the shelter, but executive director Dana Haukaas says the time may be coming soon for programming to start back up again.
“Until the province is entirely open again, we aren’t having any volunteers [but] we’re shooting for the middle of July to have doors open again,” said Haukaas.
The local shelter runs several different programs for volunteers of all ages, interests and availability, said Haukaas, and the plan is to bring those programs back using an appointment system.
Since the shelter has limited space and staff are still making adoption appointments a priority, the Humane Society will be booking times for volunteers to come in and lend a hand when those opportunities resume.
This includes the dog walking program, where volunteers are paired with an appropriate shelter dog to take out for some exercise.
“We’ll schedule the times, to prevent anybody from making a special trip [and] then we can partner the person with the right dog,” said Haukaas.
It also applies to cat cuddling opportunities, which will also return at this time, as well as the program to come in and read to the animals — which Haukaas said is perfect for younger volunteers.
“Kids whose parents like them to practise reading over the summer can come in and read quietly to the cats,” said Haukaas.
For those looking to help out but avoid collecting any pet fur while doing so, Haukaas said the shelter will be looking for willing volunteers to help sort through donated recyclables to go to SARCAN and through donated books for the bookstore.
“It's been a long few months [but] we are looking forward to welcoming the community back and hopefully continuing to do these options for volunteers,” said Haukaas.
All of these volunteer opportunities will be contingent on the province’s state of public health, emphasized Haukaas, but there is another way for interested members of the public to help out right now.
The Moose Jaw Humane Society is one of many registered shelters on the mobile app ResQWalk, where users can track their steps to raise money for a selected charity of choice.
“All the money donated is in U.S. dollars [and] every step you take earns money for the Humane Society,” said Haukaas. “It's a great app for people who want to keep track of their fitness goals because it will track how far you walk each day, month, in total.”
Haukaas said the Humane Society has been a member charity since about 2016, and app users have walked 241,389 kilometres to raise $1,723 for the shelter since.
The app is entirely free to use, said Haukaas, and a very easy way to let the Humane Society reap some benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Individuals interested in being added to the volunteer list for later this summer are encouraged to email or call the Humane Society to learn more.
Keep an eye on the Moose Jaw Humane Society Facebook page for further updates about available volunteer programs in the future.