Volunteer at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley | Animal Shelter Volunteer Opportunities | LasCruces.com

ASCMV Volunteer Coordinator Yoli Jurado has been busy! Since she started in August 2021, volunteer numbers have swelled to 318 and volunteer hours shot up to more than 700 in January alone. 

But with 500 animals housed at the ASCMV on any given day, there can never be too many volunteers.

Here are the top 10 ways you can help animals by becoming an ASCMV volunteer.

1. Dog walking volunteer for animal shelter at event

Not surprisingly, dog walking is one of the most popular volunteer activities! Volunteers give the dogs much-needed exercise, meet other dog lovers, and — not for nothing — get some exercise themselves. 

Before taking out a dog, volunteer dog walkers go through an hour-and-a-half basic training from licensed dog trainer Claren Mulhall, who with husband Eric co-owns Cloud K-9 Dog Training Services. Training is required because walking shelter dogs can be quite different than walking your pet dog, and the training session includes learning and practicing how to get dogs in and out of their kennels and in and out of crates at adoption events.

2. Cat care and socialization 

The other most popular volunteer activity for feline fanciers is cat care and socialization. ASCMV Animal Caregiver Sophia Baca provides a two-day training to teach volunteers about working with cats in the stray cat room as well as adoptable kitties. The first day of training is how to clean, feed, and socialize the cats, and the second day is how to keep an eye out for common cat diseases that spread easily and are important to catch early.

3. Off-site events

Are you the social type? The ASCMV holds on-site adoption events and off-site events at the Farmers & Crafts Market of Las Cruces, PetSmart, and Petco. Your friendliness and communication skills will be key to getting good information to potential adopters.

4. Vaccination and microchip clinics for the public

Each quarter the ASCMV hosts a low-cost drive-through vax and chip clinic at the Field of Dreams for pets belonging to members of the public. (Ordinarily the only services available at the ASCMV for owned animals are microchips, which are $10, and spays and neuters are only available to Spay Neuter Action Program clients). At these events you don’t work with the animals, but might direct traffic, take supplies between stations, or answer questions about paperwork. The next quarterly clinic is March 20, 2022.

5. Laundry and dish washing

Laundry and dishwashing may not sound glamorous but are good options for people who want to help but don’t want direct contact with the animals. The kennel staff teaches you what to do, and you can come in to help anytime during ASCMV operating hours. Dishes and kennel blankets must be properly cleaned to prevent the spread of disease, making this a vitally important volunteer duty.

6. Data entry 

This is a superb volunteer option for people who enjoy a detail-oriented — and life-saving — task. Data entry help is mostly needed after one of the quarterly vax and chip events (#4). At these clinics, the ASCMV provides at least 1,000 vaccinations and more than 200 microchips, and the data needs to be entered and the chips registered. Microchips get lost animals back home, so this is a critical task.

7. Community outreach

Love animals, love kids, maybe even have experience in education? Community outreach teams are just being formed, and their primary duty will be going into elementary and middle schools to talk about responsible pet ownership, taking care of your pet, and animal safety. 

8. Rescue transport

The ASCMV works with local and out-of-state animal rescues to give animals the best shot at a loving forever home. Fifteen or more animals at a time are regularly transported by van to rescues in Northern New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and other places where the demand for pets outstrips the supply. ASCMV could transport more if enough volunteers were willing to take a few dogs or cats in their own car. If you have a reliable vehicle and enjoy a good long drive, this is a great way to help ASCMV animals.

9. Photography

Great photos help animals get adopted! When animals are brought in to the ASCMV, “intake” photos are taken, and these are placed on the website when the animal is available for adoption. However, these photos are taken by staff under harsh lighting when the animals are still stressed and being held still. Staff intake photos just don’t show off how beautiful the animals really are. Handy with a camera? Volunteer to help ASCMV animals show off their best side!

10. Become a foster

Time with a foster family is the best way for an ASCMV animal to get love, attention, and training in preparation for adoption into a forever home. Foster volunteers are priceless — it takes a special person with a heart of gold to love an animal enough to get it ready and then let it go to rescue or be adopted — and do it all over again. Do you have what it takes? Fill out a foster application on the ASCMV website or contact Volunteer Foster Coordinator Geri Wheelis if you have questions. 

How Do I Become a Volunteer for the ASCMV?

Start the process by filling out the online volunteer application. The application asks about your interests and availability. Within about a week you’ll hear back via email from Yoli, the ASCMV volunteer coordinator, and she’ll send you a link to the orientation materials. You’ll first connect with Yoli to schedule a tour of the ASCMV and find out upcoming dates for trainings and workshops according to your interests. 

When you are a volunteer, ASCMV staff are always available in your area to let you know what tasks they need help with. It won’t take long before you know the routine, and, when possible, it’s great to set a schedule.

ASCMV volunteers can choose their hours during weekdays or weekends as long as they are when the building is open. Volunteers must be 18 or older (or 16 and volunteering alongside a guardian who is at least 18) and are students, retirees, and everything in between! There are lots of couples who spend quality time volunteering together.

With so many animals, the ASCMV truly relies on its volunteers to ensure that the animals have the best possible experience given their circumstances. Please consider joining the ASCMV volunteer family!

Follow the ASCMV on Facebook at facebook.com/ascmv and on Instagram at @animalservicescenter.

Written by Elaine Stachera Simon for the ASCMV

Posted by LasCruces.com

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