More Volunteers Pitching In At Griffin Pond Animal Shelter
SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Peanut butter caked 13-year-old Julia Aguilar’s fingers as she balanced two dog biscuits between her thumb and index finger.
The 13-year-old from Tobyhanna assembled Milk-Bone sandwiches with her mom, Simona, at Griffin Pond Animal Shelter’s inaugural Volunteer Workshop.
It was their first time pitching in at the shelter that relies heavily on volunteers for daily chores, including walking dogs and playing with cats.
As the animal shelter looks to build up its volunteer base, the Aguilars are looking for something different.
Julia’s Yorkshire terrier, Cocoa, died in March from a seizure disorder. He was her first dog, and the family hasn’t adopted another one.
“There was something missing,” Simona Aguilar said while her daughter worked on another treat next to her. “I told Julia that this would be really good for her because she gets to do something for other dogs, for all of them, not just one she calls her own.”
More than a dozen volunteers showed up to turn 30 pounds of biscuits into canine ice-cream sandwiches and to assemble more than 100 cat toys with treats inside.
The dog treats go in the freezer because frozen peanut butter takes longer to eat. They give the animals something to do inside their kennels, said volunteer coordinator Jeff Polanin.
“It gives them stimulation,” he said. “That way they’re not just sitting in their kennels idle.”
Griffin Pond is making strides to rebuild community trust following a drawn-out shakeup among staff and the board of directors that started in 2017, and people are responding, he said.
The shelter completed about 90 adoptions in October. So far, November has seen 78. Earlier in the year adoptions languished around 40 or 50 each month, he said.
In the last few weeks, the shelter launched a new Doggy Day Out program, in which volunteers who complete an application process take a dog for a full-day field trip.
It gives the animals a chance to leave the kennels for a few hours. Volunteers are trained how to spot and report untoward behavior that could make finding a permanent home difficult — for example, whether a dog gets anxious riding in the car.
He said the shelter is always on the lookout for new volunteers who can walk dogs and especially those who can socialize with anxious cats.
“The ones that are skittish are harder to get into homes,” he said, explaining those volunteers should have some experience around jumpy felines. “They would have to be more cat-savvy, someone who is used to, for example, a cat trying to get away from you.”
Contact the writer:
Next Volunteer Workshop
What: Volunteers gather for a special project to help shelter animals. Agenda to be announced.
When: 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29
Where: 967 Griffin Pond Rd., South Abington Twp.
Information: www.facebook.com/GriffinPond or 570-586-3700.