Saturday, June 4, 2011

reinforcements are here: new handlers begin

We're grateful to everyone who replied to our call for applications (below) when we posted our volunteer openings last month. Fifty five people (!) responded, several dozen applicants came to an orientation and nine were ultimately selected for our mentorship program. Even though the positions are now filled, I'm re-posting the ad here since it help explains what we're doing at the barn. THANK YOU to everyone who showed interest in being part of the barn crew team. You give us so much hope for a better day for the dogs!


Barn Crew Expands

... Chunk, Robin, Winnie, Bouncer, Eva Peace, Rosie, Josephine, Ferdi, Camellia, Jimmy Legs, Hypatia, Pepper, Arnie, Fazool, Belinda, Katie Bug, Darla Jane, Tater, Emma, Atomic Betty, Ayse ...

... They're some of the dogs who've spent time in BR's Rescue Barn since we first opened our doors last summer. This modest facility in the Oakland hills serves as a halfway house of sorts for dogs in crisis - specifically, victims of shelter overcrowding, cruelty, foreclosures and emergency medical cases. .The quiet environment and natural setting have been ideal for helping stressed dogs get their bearings and allows them to be healthy, happy dogs again. As they relax, we can learn who they are and design next steps in their transition towards life with permanent families.

The handful of dogs that live here at any given time stay for a week or so until we match them up with foster homes, while others stay on for several weeks until they find their forever families. During that wait they're vetted, trained and socialized to several dogs in regular play sessions. It's like summer school meets summer camp.

Our dog handlers become an important anchor for the dogs during this time at the barn. They serve as the dogs' family and provide everything from clicker training to nose work fun to toenail trims to play parties to plain old fashioned cuddling on the sofa -- all of it is crucial to the dogs' well being and recovery. (Left: Donyale bonds with Winnie, shortly after her arrival from a cruelty case in Gadsden County FL)

In addition to meeting the dogs' daily needs, the BR crew works with potential adopters and visitors who want to learn more about the breed, both at the barn and during our weekends at Berkeley Animal Care Services. They're a wealth of information to a world that is waking up to the joy of the American Pit Bull Terrier and its mixes. Does it sound like I'm bragging? I am. This is a very special group of people who give their heart and soul to the dogs.

It's not all hugs and happies though. Cleaning up dog poo is less than glamorous, and the compassion cases that occasionally come to spend their final days with us tug at all our heartstrings. You have to learn to accept the good with the sad with this work, but the rewards are life changing, to say the least.

Now that this project is humming along, we're ready to expand our team and hope to add up to six new volunteer dog handlers who value this mission. We'll provide the training and you provide a long term commitment to the dogs who land here on their way to new lives. Interested?

LINK: Barn Crew Job Description

Thank you to everyone who applied for these volunteer positions! They've been filled, but we encourage you to see how you can volunteer with your local shelter to help the pit bull type dogs. They're waiting for someone just like you to give them comfort during this difficult time in their lives.

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