Volunteers play a major role in comforting and socializing animals at the Isabella County Humane Animal Treatment Society.
At 1105 S. Isabella Road, HATS houses more than 100 animals, but with less than 15 employees, it’s hard to give each animal as much attention as they would like.
That’s where volunteers play a large role.
“They see us everyday, all the time, and when we’re working, we don’t always have the time just to hang out with that dog one-on-one,” said Canine Care technician Katherine Bleavins. “We have a system we have to make our way through throughout the day, so having a volunteer coming in to walk a dog or play with the dog outside is amazing for them.”
Whether it’s people who come in for class, community service hours or just for fun, the time animals spend with humans means more to them than many people realize.
“It gives them the chance to feel like they’re loved; a scratch on the ear might mean their whole day,” said Canine Care supervisor Chelsea Tenwalde.
The 35 dogs and 88 cats at the shelter have been saved from abandonment, mistreatment and other unfortunate situations, but the majority of their time is now spent in a kennel.
Dogs are given four 15-minute breaks throughout the day to go outside, but with the help of volunteers, they can be given even more opportunities to get out and play.
Tenwalde said the shelter has a handful of volunteers who have been coming in we