By Meghan Byrnes and Morgan Brang
“When life gets ruff, use your love to change a life,” said senior Danielle Doss, which is what she has learned from volunteering at Helping Hounds. Since opening in January of 2009, Helping Hounds of DeWitt has rescued over 1,750 dogs. The mission of Helping Hounds is to rescue dogs that have been neglected, abused or abandoned.
Many students from Jamesville-DeWitt High School have volunteered at the shelter. “I heard about (Helping Hounds) and I wanted to help out with the dogs so I went with some of my friends to volunteer,” said Doss. “I started volunteering about one year ago but I’ve only been four times,” said sophomore Christina White. Sophomore Lauren Morelli and sophomore John Maroney also started volunteering at Helping Hounds around one year ago. Maroney works once a week for one and a half hours. “I volunteer almost every Saturday,” said Morelli.
Most of the dogs from Helping Hounds are from the southern part of the country. “They bring a lot of their dogs up from Tennessee and other southern states,” said Maroney. “Some of the dogs are from puppy mills,” said White. If a dog is abused the shelter will take them in to be cared for. “They get a lot of their dogs from different states or off the streets,” said Doss. Some of the dogs at the shelter were abused and have injuries. However, Doss has seen some of these dogs. “A lot of the dogs are old and you can tell they were neglected. Some of them limp and have patches on their fur,” said Doss. “Some of the dogs are scarred from being bitten or attacked. Some even have legs or feet missing,” said Maroney. However, not all of the dogs there are injured because White hasn’t seen any.
Of all the things done at the shelter, Doss said that her favorite part was she almost got her mom to adopt a puppy from the shelter. She also likes that it is a “no-kill shelter. No matter how long a dog is at the shelter they won’t be put down unlike other shelters,” Doss said. “I love walking the dogs and being able to interact with them,” said White. Maroney also enjoys walking the dogs.
Morelli volunteers at the dog shelter because she loves to walk dogs and she feels bad for them. “I want to help (the dogs) out,” said Morelli. White agrees saying that she also loves dogs and wants to help them. White does other volunteering with the Key Club. However, Morelli and Doss aren’t doing any other volunteering right now.
At the shelter, the volunteers complete many tasks. “We feed the dogs and wash their bowls,” said White. Maroney walks the dogs and picks up after them. Other activities include things like “walking the dogs and cleaning their beds,” said Morelli. “I walk the dogs and I sometimes clean cages and refill their bowls with water,” said Doss.
There are other ways to donate other than volunteering. Helping Hounds can’t afford to rescue all dogs.They need money to keep them operating and to save as many dogs as possible. Their options are limited but everyone can help. They don’t want to reject any dogs in need and help them survive if they can help it.
All of the volunteers interviewed enjoyed working at the shelter. Maroney liked to meet the dogs and enjoyed working at the shelter, even though in the beginning it wasn’t his choice. “My mom made me (volunteer) but now I like it,” said Maroney. Christina White also enjoyed her time volunteering at the shelter. “I liked it because I liked being able to see all of the puppies,” said Doss.