Essential Volunteer Capabilities

ESSENTIAL VOLUNTEER CAPABILITIES

Shelter work is an exceedingly rewarding, yet uniquely challenging experience. In order to ensure the safety of the animals in our care, as well as the volunteers that provide them with care and enrichment, Chesapeake Animal Services (CAS) has the following essential requirements for participation in the volunteer program.

PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES

  • Quick reflexes and ability to use both hands simultaneously (example: open cage door while handling animal).
  • Ability to travel unaided on unpaved, uneven, rugged, slippery, and sometimes muddy terrain (both indoors and outdoors), and maneuver cramped spaces.
  • Ability to bend and squat in order to leash/harness and/or pick up an animal.
  • Ability to stand for significant periods of time while walking dogs, socializing cats, or cleaning cages/kennels.
  • Ability to see well enough to move safely throughout the building, distinguish animal body language, and read instructions and an animal’s paperwork.
  • Ability to hear if animal is giving warnings, such as growling, yelping, or hissing.
  • Ability to effectively communicate verbally.
  • Ability to react quickly in order to prevent dogs or cats from escaping (example: ability to quickly pursue and retrieve any cats or dogs who have escaped from a kennel or cage).
  • Ability to cope with a very loud environment due to animal noises.

COGNITIVE CAPABILITIES

  • Ability, once trained, to work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Recognize limitations in knowledge and abilities, and know when to ask for help if needed.
  • If lacking the ability to work independently, whether due to age and/or neurological abnormality, must be able to work alongside a parent or guardian with a focused attention on the task at hand.
  • Ability to read and understand instructions and procedures.
  • Possess basic reading, writing, spelling, and communication skills.
  • Ability to solve problems.
  • Ability to handle redirection and constructive criticism without responding with negativity.
  • Ability to recognize potentially hazardous situations when working with the animals.
  • Ability to remain calm with animals who are upset, to behave sensitively and confidently, and act appropriately in these situations.
  • Ability to communicate professionally and politely.
  • Accept the boundaries between the role of the volunteer and the role of the staff.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and a solution-oriented approach to challenging situations, rather than resorting to complaining or gossiping.

It is our hope that the information provided serves as a thorough and useful tool for potential volunteers when deciding whether Chesapeake Animal Services is the right fit for them. If you have any questions about these essential capabilities, or would like more information, please email the Outreach Coordinator (OC), Amanda McQuarry, at amcquarry@cityofchesapeake.net.

 

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