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First, find your local animal shelter. You can ask your crazy dog friends (we all have them). Or, Google “your city” and “animal shelter” or “animal control” or “humane society”.

Shelter websites usually have a dedicated volunteer page. Is there a volunteer application? Volunteer orientation? What are the age requirements? Are there other ways to help homeless pets?

Dog Walking Tips

Always treat dogs with compassion and respect.
A six-foot leash and martingale collar is recommended. No-pull harnesses are great, but make sure you practice adjusting the straps for proper sizing. Check out SENSE-ible Dog Harness or Weiss Walkie.
Always be in control. If a dog is walking you, put them back.
Walking dogs isn’t glamorous and sometimes it’s even dirty. Change clothes and shoes after volunteering to prevent disease transfer.
Wear closed toe shoes. Happy feet will be dancing all around you.
Sanitize hands between handling of each dog.
Shelter dogs history is a mystery. Children must be under supervision.
Pay attention to the dog’s body language. Dogs send us signals letting us know if they feel relaxed, playful, worried, or fearful.
Shorten the leash when walking past dogs, people and cat cages (duh).
When mistakes are made, dogs ultimately suffer. If you need assistance or have questions, always ask the shelter staff.

Remember.. some dogs enjoy a slow stroll and some dogs are in a big hurry. Some dogs want a pat on the head and some dogs would rather sniff a pile of poop. You never know what to expect from a shelter dog, but expect to make a difference.