Aug 10, 2011
This past Friday, I expanded my volunteering horizons. Up until this point, my volunteer experiences have always been with other humans. But, as a lifelong animal lover, I’d wanted to do some work at a shelter for quite some time. ARNO was a perfect opportunity.
The weather was a little nasty on Friday, but volunteers were out en masse, walking dogs. When I arrived, I was given a binder of volunteer protocols to read. ARNO is devoted to making sure their volunteers are educated before they begin working with the animals. Afterwards, I was sent out to begin walking dogs!
ARNO was formed in October 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Besides rescuing and adopting out animals, ARNO assists in humane trapping of feral and lost animals, works to foster out animals, and provides medical care (including spaying/neutering) for their animals. They are a no-kill shelter and are volunteer-run.
Volunteer work at ARNO includes dog walking, cleaning pens of dogs and cats, laundry, general housekeeping, and manning booths at public events. Besides the thrill of getting to meet and run around with a bunch of dogs, it was great to meet fellow animal lovers and the staff, who are incredibly devoted to the shelter. I was surprised to find that I was in the minority as a newcomer; many of the volunteers there were regulars.
Working at ARNO was also a sobering experience—as much as ARNO does for the community, there are still so many more animals in need of help. But the more we do for ARNO, the more ARNO can do for us and for the animals we love.
If you are interested in volunteering for ARNO or donating, please visit their website, animalrescueneworleans.org. You can also like their page on Facebook!