Make a Difference with the
MOAS Advocate Program
MOAS Advocates are a special group of volunteers who help us save lives by ensuring that animals that have been at the shelter the longest or have special needs (e.g., heartworm positive dogs) get the extra attention that they need to help them stay happy and healthy at the shelter and to help promote them for adoption.
Here’s a brief introduction to our advocate program along with a few things that you need to know:
Advocates select an animal or two to advocate for from our list of pets that need advocates here. This includes a commitment to visit the cat or dog for at least one hour a week. This can be spread out over multiple visits during the week or can be done in a single visit. Whatever fits your schedule.
Advocates take photos and videos of their chosen animal(s) and write notes about their personality. Advocates then post these to one of our volunteer Facebook page where staff can access them to help update our website and Facebook page in the hopes of helping their animal(s) find a forever home!
Don’t have Facebook? No problem - we can still work with you. Just let our Programs Coordinator know so that you can send updates via email.
Advocates can also help their animals get exercise and enjoy some much-needed play time outside of their kennel or cage. They can also help with baths (no one wants to adopt a stinky pup!) or training. Even teaching a pup something as simple as sitting calmly at their kennel door or how to walk on a leash can make all the difference in determining whether he or she gets adopted. And lest you think it’s all about the pups, I challenge you to find someone who isn’t interested in adopting a cat who knows how to give high-fives or who can walk on a leash!
Advocates only commit to a minimum of one animal at a time, and they advocate for the animal until it leaves the shelter. This makes it a very flexible type of volunteering as you can stop and start whenever you want!
Do you like dressing animals up in silly costumes (or who have kids who like to?), become an advocate! There’s nothing like a picture of a pet wearing cute holiday gear to pull at the heart strings, and we often have a lot of props that you can use at the shelter. Just let one of our staff know!
Advocates must go through our normal volunteer training. But training is quick and easy! When you submit your volunteer application (if you haven’t already), you’ll be given a chance to schedule an individual training with our Programs Coordinator.
Want to learn more? Check out our introductory guide with step-by-step instructions on how to become an advocate. Ready to get started? Fill out our volunteer application here (if you aren’t already a regular MOAS volunteer). After you’ve applied, just email our Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to look at the list of animals in need of an advocate. Our animals can’t wait to meet you, and with your help, we know they’ll find a forever home soon!
A Message From Our Board President:
More and more these days, people want to adopt shelter animals, but they also want an animal that knows basic commands, is perfectly house-trained, and won’t jump up on them, gets along with kids or other animals, etc., etc. At a shelter as busy as ours is, it’s sometimes hard for our staff to know everything that a potential adopter might want to know about an animal or to help train an animal to be able to provide everything that a potential adopter might want. Now, all adopters should be prepared to work with their new pet to develop a routine and train them to meet their own expectations, but the more work we can do to prepare a pet with those skills that are generally sought after, the more likely they are to find a good home and to stay in that home after being adopted.
MOAS Advocates do not have to be experienced trainers or pet behaviorists; most of us aren’t either! But if you can help teach a dog (or cat!) to sit, you make that dog infinitely more desirable in the eyes of most potential adopters. It also doesn’t take much for you to be able to spend some time observing your pet to get a sense of whether s/he is high-energy or low key, whether they like to cuddle or whether they’re more independent, whether they like to play with toys or have no idea what one is, and more. Your observations are all incredibly valuable pieces of information that will help an animal find their purr-fect home, and also help potential adopters make the right decision when choosing a pet to adopt.
This program is near and dear to my heart, and is based on a program started by Athenspets and used successfully at Athens-Clarke County Animal Control. Here at MOAS, we are always looking for new things to try to help improve outcomes for our shelter animals, especially if it also involves working cooperatively with our regional partners, like Athenspets. So I am thrilled that we have now started this program with the help of our Programs Coordinator Courtney Lasiwoski. I am excited that you’re interested in joining our Advocate team, and I look forward to meeting you at our shelter! If you have any questions about the Advocate Program or things that you can do with your pet to help get them adopted, please feel free to reach out to me and the rest of our staff at email@example.com. We appreciate all that you are doing to help our shelter animals, and we want to be a resource for you!
Sherrie Hines, Board President