‘100,000.’ This is the number of abandoned animals last year. As Korean society becomes used to life with companion animals, the number of abandoned animals continues to increase every year. There is another thing that is growing along with the number of animals; that is the number of shelters that protect them. It's not easy to keep countless abandoned animals in these shelters. Actually, most of the shelters are suffering from poor environment and lack of animal feed. Therefore shelters need volunteers, and many people want to serve there, but there is something strange here. When you search for volunteering at abandoned animal shelters on the volunteer application website, you can’t find any shelters and if you can find one, the application process is very complex. For this reason, many people give up volunteering at abandoned animal shelters. Therefore, in this issue, I want to introduce the way to keep ‘the smile of angels’ by the small act of sharing an experience at one abandoned animal shelter and how to use their relatively simple application process.
1. Shelter for the animals who are emotionally hurt, ‘The House of Angels’
The Gachon Herald visited the house of angels, a small shelter for abandoned animal that houses and protects about 20 abandoned dogs and nine abandoned cats. Unlike most of the shelters on the outskirts of the city, this place is close to Amsa station on subway line 8. However, the exact location is not released so you will need to be guided there by a guide on the day of volunteering. According to the guide, the reason for the secrecy is because there are some people who abandon their pets in front of the animal shelter or apply to volunteer once just to take home animal feed and goods for their own animals. Also, the house of angels is a private shelter operated at the director’s own expense and auspices of volunteers. The director has operated the shelter because under the current law, abandoned animal shelters operated by local authorities must put animals down the animal if the owner doesn’t claim it or if nobody wants to adopt it within ten days of arriving at the shelter. There are a lot of people who volunteer regularly in shelters operated by local authorities, but this place is always short of help because it is a private shelter. Therefore, animals who have to take medicine or must eat soft food from a can because they have no teeth - must often skip meals are because there are no volunteers. The house of angels is a shelter for animals who are emotionally hurt and really need a small act of compassion.
2. Volunteer Application & Preparation: if you are a real volunteer, start with thorough preparations!
Applying to volunteer at the house of angels is easier than other shelters. After joining the house of angel’s Internet cafe (http://cafe.naver.com/little1004cafe), the volunteer application can be found through comments section. When you apply to volunteer, you should record the number of participants, gender, age and whether you keep pets or not. Volunteering is possible only by recommendation by an existing volunteer. When you apply to be a volunteer, guides who participate as volunteers, will contact you through comment or message. This shelter is permitted to have up to three volunteers, including guides on weekdays, and up to five volunteers on weekends. When there are special days, such as beauty volunteering or construction, they will allow extra two people. The starting time for volunteers is 10:30 a.m. and the finish time is 10 p.m. Volunteering hours, depends upon the circumstances of guides, but volunteers usually stay for about three to four hours a day.
Materials needed include work attire (long pants to prevent injuries) or an apron, and if you can prepare wet tissues to use on the day of volunteering and delicious treats to prevent the barking of the animals, so much the better. In addition, before volunteering you should visit after reading the comments on the Internet café about how to change the newspapers and give medicines.
※ NOTE! The house of angels does not receive volunteer applications from minors, and it does not issue a certificate for volunteering because it is a private shelter.
3. Volunteer Process: volunteering at abandoned animal shelter, how is it done?
1) Cleaning the cages in the cats room.
We cleaned the cats room as soon as we arrived at the shelter. Cats cover their feces with sand, so they are clean animals. You must filter the feces out from the sand on the bottom of the cats cage using a dustpan. Rearrange the sand and you’re done.
2) Preparing food and water for cats.
Prepare cat food and water that has been neglected. After taking feed from the feeder in the corner of a room, serve it in a feed bowl, empty the water bowl and fill it with clean water.
3) Changing newspapers for dog poop.
After cleaning the cats room, we went to the dogs room. Due to the large number of dogs, the dog room needs much more help than the cats room. First, we changed newspapers for dog poop to help clear out the filthy smell. Throw away the dirty newspapers, and fold some in good condition. At this time, lay the new newspapers together to make it accessible to many dogs. Finally, clean the poop marks using deodorant.
4) Arranging the dogs’ quilts.
The house of angels has spread dog quilts in each room for their health because there are a lot of old dogs. After cleaning up sewage on the quilts, slightly shake the dust off and arrange the quilts.
5) Preparing food, water and treat for dogs.
This process is the same as the cats room. It’s just, keep proper physical distance between feed bowl and water bowl because dogs may spill water on the feed bowl and waste the food. Old dogs are fed treats because they have trouble eating food.
6) Taking out the garbage.
Lastly, separate and take out the garbage. It is very important because the house of angels is located in the city near a residential area and offices.
※ NOTE! You must lock up the door of each room. You must give attention to prevent fighting between the animals, to say nothing of escaping.
The era of ten million companion animals has dawned, but a lot of people are throwing companion animals on the streets. It overshadows the meaning of companion (comrade). It’s time we worked hard to protect these little lives. Some of those who read this article may feel, for various reasons, that it is hard to decide if you want to volunteer at an abandoned animal shelter because of time and the tricky volunteer process. However, I am sure that the reward will be much more than the tricky volunteer process. There is nothing more valuable than giving help to the world. Dumb angels are anxiously waiting for your touch today. The Gachon Herald also hopes for your small act of sharing to help save the smile of angels.
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