It is his passion for furry creatures that lead Micheal Surmik to volunteer at the Lethbridge Animal Shelter.
This is his first week as a dog walker. He knows it might seem intimidating at first, especially because the dogs can get very antsy in their kennels. But he says once you have them outside moving around it can be very rewarding.
“People’s perceptions are going to be a little different once in a while. They will see a dog like the one I’m working with right now, his name is Boston. He’s very high energy. I walked in there and he’s jumping all around the cage. I knew he wasn’t a scary dog, he just needed to get some activity.”
Volunteering is not only good for the dogs, Surmik said, but for him as well. “Right now it’s a way to relieve some stress and I love to give back, so it’s a win/win for the dogs as well as myself,” he said.
The shelter is currently under renovations until early fall, leaving the areas where the dogs usually get their daily exercise unusable. So their calling out to all animal lovers to come take the dogs for walks to get them out and about.
“We are installing a new dog run at the moment, so we have no dog runs. So getting more people down here, getting the dogs out, to get them their exercise until that dog run is finished is absolutely paramount,” said Andrew Penton, bylaw enforcement officer for Lethbridge Animal Services.
Taking the dogs on walks is not only important for their physical health, but their mental health too.
“If they stay in the kennels for too long, they start to get depressed, it starts to effect their mentality, it starts to really upset the dogs.”
The animal shelter says if you are interested in volunteering to walk a dog you can stop by the shelter to help. Early mornings and late afternoons are the times they need help the most.
For more information on other ways you can help the shelter visit: lethbridge.ca