Q: The animal shelter only offers two volunteer classes the first Saturday of each month. While it’s limited to 16 per class, both classes are full and there is no waiting list or registration available. Why are more classes not offered? Volunteers willing to serve should not be turned away.

A: “More classes are not offered because we are low on staff and have an outrageous number of animals to care for on a daily basis for the size of our shelter,” said Debbie Blackwood, director of People for Pets — Magic Valley Humane Society. “We are sorry to inconvenience you. We hope to someday have the capacity, staff and volunteer coordinators to fulfill the needs of our growing community, but as of right now this is the best we can do. Thank you for your understanding.”

Volunteers must complete a volunteer application, read the shelter rules and sign the volunteer agreement and waiver. The animal shelter requires all volunteers to attend an hour of training before they’re authorized to volunteer.

Volunteers under the age of 16 need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Volunteer training is on the first Saturday of each month. The time slots are 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Dogs need to be back in the building by 5 p.m. on weekdays and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. According to the shelter’s website, they only have room for the first 10 people who show up for the class, so be sure to arrive early.

Dress according to the weather but volunteers must wear close-toed shoes.

The shelter’s greatest need for dogs is walkers. They take a dog for 20 minutes of exercise and then return to the shelter for one-on-one time giving belly rubs, cuddle time, ear scratches, etc. They also offer treats provided by the shelter and teach basic commands such as sit, lay down, stay and come.

Dogs could also benefit from a good brushing, and the shelter has dog brushes.

Some of the cats remain at the shelter for months before being adopted and they get depressed. Volunteers need to interact in the cat room and hold, pet and brush the kitties. It elevates their moods and keep them from becoming sad. The shelter can’t stress enough how badly these cats need volunteers to love on them. Volunteers can help cats find homes faster by keeping them happy, social and more appealing to potential adopters.

Since Jan. 1, the animal shelter has had 588 cat and dog adoptions.

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