Volunteer Journal #91 – No Kill Los Angeles (NKLA.org)

The new NKLA shelter I have seen it!  I have seen the future of animal rescue organizations. [pause] I had to see it early on a Saturday  morning...

But it was worth it!!!!

NKLA.org or the No Kill Los Angeles pet adoption center, built to resemble to house you've always wanted but could never afford, is snuggled near UCLA on Los Angeles'  west side.

The center is so clean you can think about eating one of the donuts they bring to Saturday morning volunteers off the floor.

*Best Friends Animal Society joined forces with a coalition of 68 different animal welfare groups to found the brand spankin' new center.  It's purpose - to stop the killing of healthy and treatable pets in LA city shelters.

Kitten Welcoming Committee

I was a bit grumpy when I walked in the shelter (insomnia), but was immediately welcomed by a chorus of meowing kitten in a display areas.  After that you can't be tired.

Tamara, the knowledgable and infintely patient volunteer coordinator, did a short educational session for 20+ new volunteers. We were then given the option to work with the animals or come back to complete their 5 hours a month at a later time.

I wanted to stay, so first I played with the welcoming committee. Which was awesome...

Me and the Foz!

Then I got to walk dogs like Fozzy who is classified as a black paw because he is smallish, not that strong, and extremely polite.  If you want to walk big dogs, dogs classified as a silver paw, you have to go through a bit of extra training.

I understood the concept of dog classifications the hard way when I took out a large pit mix named Jackie, though a black paw and perfectly sweet, she gave me quite a workout as she and I are in the same weight class.

Before leaving that Saturday I went back and played with the cats as they needed extra love.  You are allowed to volunteer with whatever animal you are most comfortable with at the shelter as long as you follow some basic safety protocol.

Playing in the Cat Room

NKLA is honestly the cleanest, nicest, most high tech shelters I've been in - with one of the friendliest staffs.

They've been open a little over 30 days.  In the first 30 their goal was to adopt out 50 animals. They had close to 80 adoptions.

*Best Friends was on my 100 wish list because I worked with them during a Puppy Mill Protest in 2009 and they were insanely professional.  I want to visit and volunteer their shelter in Kanab, Utah.

Proud to be Cruelty Free

Cruelty FreeI would venture a guess that the majority of human beings want to use cruelty free cosmetic/beauty products. I don’t think people walk around saying, “I would like my perfume to be worn by a rat first please.” Or “I’m a smart sentient being who would never shove lipstick into my eye, but if you could please put lipstick into a monkey’s eye to be double sure it’s safe, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.” So why does animal testing on beauty products exist?

Animal testing on cosmetics began when the U.S. Congress passed the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 in response to manufacturers selling unsafe... Read Full Article on Celsias

TGM Explains: Why You Must Polygraph 2 Adopt a Pet?

You do not have to submit to a polygraph to adopt a pet.

Clearly, I have not been doing a good job as thegoodmuse.

My only job is to offer a first person account of volunteering or all thing non-profit so you, my adoring public, might know what to expect when doing goodness.  But I haven’t been covering all bases.  Case in point…

Lucky, the cat from Volunteer Episode 69, was almost adopted after my post about him was published. However, I neglected to discuss what would be required during the adoption process by the rescue organization and the potential adopter was scared off.

So let me clarify the adoption process…

When adopting a pet you will not be asked to run a 40 yard dash. Your vertical will not be measured.  Your DNA will not be tested.  They shouldn’t ask to microchip you. They will not ask where you like to go on first dates. If they do, you should leave.

A responsible animal rescue group will ask you to fill out an application.

This is what a standard application looks like:

http://www.heavenlypets.org/images/HESA_Adopt_App.pdf

They will ask you questions about your accommodations because they need to make sure that you are allowed to have an animal.  Unfortunately, there are irresponsible people in this world who decide to adopt pets while living in a dorm room, a lean-to, a hotel, or apartment with no pet policy. If the pet is discovered the person is usually forced to give them up.  And there are worse stories... Stories about kids who adopted animals while in college dorms.  Deciding to leave the animal in the dorm when they graduate. Then, the housekeepers show up, sometimes weeks later, to clean the dorm and find the animal expired.

Hate to be dark, but I'm trying to explain why you might have to answer a few personal questions. Honestly, if you want to adopt an animal, suck it up and answer the questions.  They're worth it.

Volunteer Journal #67 –Take a Shower with PETA

Ladies and Gentleman, the following is an account of my weirdest volunteer activity as TheGoodMuse- yet.

I had never volunteered with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), but then I got this email, which said something like...

Come take a shower in the middle of the LA Convention Center to promote water conservation by eating less meat.

Sold. You had me at public nudity.

In all seriousness, I’m a vegetarian. I have been since I was a teen.  It's one of the best decisions I ever made for my health.  I also think it's important for everyone to eat less meat (or no meat/fish) for the environment's sake. Meat production pollutes more than all the vehicles on the road combined and our lust for fish is stripping the ocean bare. To say the least - I was game to support this cause.

And... the PETA shower campaign is mad genius.  People taking a shower in public wrapped in a curtain printed with the factoid: 1 lb. of meat = 6 months of showers. It stops traffic - it literally has stopped traffic on Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles. As soon as I climbed into the shower, in a little white bikini that no one could see, foot traffic in front of the PETA booth stopped and the other volunteers were able to distribute info.  It was a riot, and I would do this activity again but...

That being said lets break down the problems.

I was on a raised platform and the bar to the top of the shower was about five and a half feet off the ground.  I was told you couldn't see over it.

You couldn't see over it unless you were a male who was... oh... let's say... about six feet tall, slightly perverted, not at all slick, shameless, and you stepped right up to the shower to ask me (with a head tilt and eyes down) why I had become a vegetarian. Lots of men meet all of these requirements.

Sir, I know what your doing. Not cool.

Also not appreciated… The guys who held their cameras aloft, arm fully extended up, to get the full shot.

I'm in a bikini you desperate, sad...

I would have preferred to do this volunteer activity with a male friend in the shower as well.  They could have acted as a bull sh*& shield.  Someone who could give creepy men scary looks.  I tried, but I've been told my "I will kick your ass" look is easily misinterpreted and not at all scary.

PETA should also make sure that there is a volunteer on hand big enough, and forceful enough, to bounce perverts.  I can't believe this is needed, but I felt it was.

Now lets talk temp. The first 30 minutes I was fine, I knew the water was cold but it was like being a little kid at the ocean - too much fun to care about hypothermia. After 30 minutes - goose bumps. By the end of the hour I’m pretty sure the US Geological Survey was registering my body tremors. Oh it was sooooo cold. Ohhhh! I had to take a 45 minute hot shower at home to even begin to thaw. Maybe I get cold too easy.  I know volunteers have done this campaign in the snow. But I feel that both a volunteer's health and safety should be the first priority of any organization.  They are volunteers. They are not being compensated in any other way besides happy feelings. Protect happy feelings.

All that being said I would recommend this volunteer experience to anyone of like mind.  It's one of those once in a lifetime deals you definitely want to tell your grandkids about. You will walk away with killer stories. And I also highly recommend becoming a vegetarian. If not for the environment, or the animals, then do it for your health.