BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month’s organization, The Animal Rescue League of Boston, has been working tirelessly for more than a century to rescue and care for animals in need, and now boasts three shelter locations.
There’s quite an expansive volunteer network in place that helps socialize shy and fearful animals and get them adopted into their forever homes. The League’s volunteer base has grown by leaps and bounds over the years.
“There’s 520 [volunteers] now yeah, there is a lot of them,” said Debbie Vogel, Associate Director of Volunteer Services at the Rescue League.
She says every new volunteer coming in takes part in a training program that includes learning how to care for cats and dogs at three behavior levels, ranging from level 1 (extremely friendly pets) to level 3 (the extremely fearful).
“If they wanted to move on…really start with working on some of the behavior plans with some of the dogs that really need it, they could go through level three or mod-squad training to learn how to really change the behaviors of how to change these dogs and make them much more adoptable, and much more family friendly,” she said.
Vogel says volunteers know they are making a difference in the lives of the animals they touch.
“Maybe we’re the first person that was ever kind to this animal,” she said. “Or maybe we’re the person that turned around so that this animal can move from the back to the adoption center. And there is a lot of pride in that, and they put a lot of effort into it.”
Volunteer Betsy Jones works with shy and fearful cats.
She said her job involves gaining their trust through talking to them, reading body language, getting them used to human touch, treats, and play–and just finding out what makes them comfortable.
“Some of them have never even experienced any human interaction, so you just want to slowly introduce yourself and sometimes it takes a while, but most of them get there.” Jones said.
Jones admits the work is not always easy to do.
“I have gotten my war wounds,” she said.
She says the temporary pain is worth the long-term gain.
“You know, we help the ones we can,” she said. “Seeing an animal who’s gone from being so scared to being so trusting, doing an 180, there are just no words to describe it.”
The goal is to ensure every animal finds a home.
For more information about The Animal Rescue League of Boston, visit. <a href=”http://www.arlboston.org”>www.arlboston.org</a> or the <a href=”http://www.cbsboston.com/wbzcares”>WBZ Cares section</a> on the CBSBoston.com website during the month of March.