Manatee volunteers make no-kill effort a success

April 24, 2012 

What makes a successful no-kill community is right here in Manatee County.

When we were first introduced to the no-kill philosophy, we had no idea how much community support we would have. Becoming a no-kill community isn't possible without everyone getting involved some way or another. It's a whole community effort, whether collecting newspapers, donating food and pet supplies, or providing your invaluable time by volunteering to walk dogs, play with cats, give baths, even some administrative stuff.

Everyone has a role in this effort. Not only do we, at Animal Services, appreciate everything everyone has done and is doing, the dogs and cats thank all for their second chance.

We have come a long way, but still have a long way to go. We know there will be successes and we know there will be times when something just doesn't work. When a plan or program isn't getting the right outcome, it doesn't mean we failed, it means we will work harder to find something that does work.

If you have not been to our shelter, please visit. Look at the dogs and cats, each one different, not only in looks, but in personality. Even if you aren't looking for a new pet, maybe you could give them a little bit of your time.

We need you. Volunteer today.

We have given the extra duty of volunteer coordinator to one of our Animal Services officers, Nicki Bentley. Nicki has done a lot to help structure our volunteer program. Nicki has compiled a list of needs, an orientation program and training for those volunteers who want to walk the dogs. Email Nicki at Tammy.Bentley@mymanatee.org for more information about volunteering or to sign up to be a volunteer.

We have a great group of people who are setting up a few upcoming events that help bring more awareness to no-kill.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, you will be able to see the DeSoto Heritage Festival Grand Parade. The no-kill Manatee group will have a float in the parade. The No-Kill Manatee Float is an old-time train -- an engine and coal car with the message to "get on board." This train is just another way to bring this awareness to the community, show the support we have and just what being a no-kill community is all about. Come watch the parade and see for yourself.

Everyone needs a dog or cat, a new furry family member, a best friend, one to share everything with. Not one dog or cat we have in our shelter asked

to be there. Each one can provide unconditional love no matter what their past has been. The dogs and cats live for today and look toward the future in their new forever home.

If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky, too.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.

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