Published on: 26 Jul, 2022
Campaspe Council’s Volunteer Program Changes the Lives of Homeless Pets!
There are SO many benefits of foster care; it provides a happy and nurturing environment for a pet, allowing them to adapt easily to life in a family home. The enrichment and training that loving humans can provide is invaluable for helping pets get ready for adoption.
PetRescue pound member Campaspe Animal Shelter, winners of the Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2018 Outstanding Shelter, has established a volunteer program that has had fantastic outcomes for pets and the community. Kate Kemp, Operational Manager at Campaspe Council, kindly shared the council’s experience and learnings with other pounds and rescue organisations via a webinar hosted by Nell Thompson from G2Z (Getting 2 Zero).
Campaspe’s successful volunteer program
In 2017, Campaspe held discussions with internal and external stakeholders to determine whether a volunteer program would suit the council’s needs. When it was clear it would be hugely beneficial, they ran a small media campaign and held a community information session for folks interested in volunteering with animals, which resulted in plenty of interested participants.
The sole focus of all of Campaspe Council’s volunteers is to provide much-needed enrichment for the animals in care. There are two types of volunteer roles; Animal Shelter Support, and Animal Foster Carers.
Animal Shelter Support volunteers provide socialisation and basic training to animals in care. They also play with, groom and make enrichment toys.
Animal Foster Carers provide an additional level of care and enrichment within their own homes. They provide short-term relief from life in the pound, often to kittens during the busy kitten season. Foster carers are required to have experience and knowledge of caring for pets and be willing to have a home inspection conducted by the shelter staff.
Finding pet-lovin’ volunteers
The council advertised volunteer positions on their social media and listed them on the website. The process for engaging and recruiting volunteers is kept as quick and straightforward as possible, with an Expression of Interest form to fill out instead of a lengthy application process. From there, candidates are shortlisted and interviewed. The council makes sure that volunteers are included in employee events and shown appreciation because their work is so valued and important for the animals in care.
The best outcomes for pets and the community
Establishing a volunteer program was a time-consuming process for the council, but the benefits have more than outweighed the challenges. The volunteer program has greatly benefited the enrichment and socialisation of the animals in the pound’s care. Since the program began in 2017, almost 400 pets have been placed in foster care, with a 94% success rate of pets fostered finding adoptive homes.
Foster carer Val McDonell says about the program;
"Being a foster carer brings a lot of pleasure into my life. I feel rewarded that I am helping the shelter in providing care, time and space and also looking forward in giving the foster animals every advantage to being adopted and loved. The whole process is seamless and there is no cost to me."
The program has greatly improved the Council’s relationship with the local community too. By building personal connections and spreading awareness about the shelter and its work to rehome animals, it’s given folks a greater understanding of the level of care given to animals within the pound Campaspe’s wonderful initiative helps to ensure the best outcomes for the animals that come into the care of the shelter. As a safe and sound pound, they’re keeping pets safe and ensuring they’re given the best chance to find a new home.
If you’d like to hear more, you can watch the webinar here.
Council pounds across Australia use PetRescue to rehome the animals in their care. If you're a council pound and would like to learn more or arrange a virtual tour of the PetRescue platform for your management and team, get in touch with us here.
Learn more about PetRescue’s Safe and Sound pounds program here.
Image: Moose, adopted via Campapse Animal Shelter.