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Volunteer Dog Walkers Help Animals Get Adopted

Pinellas County is looking for volunteers to help with dog walking, straightening up parks, painting, training, office work, fundraising and more.

Do you like to throw a tennis ball or take a walk in the fresh air? Pinellas County Volunteer Services needs you. Anyone 16 or older who is strong enough to handle big dogs can lend a hand at .

The shelter's dogs need exercise at least two times per day, and preferably three.

"If a dog sits in a cage, he's like a rubber band. He gets wound up," adoption coordinator Tyson Youts said. "The dogs need training, socialization and to be able to be more relaxed."

Youts said that walking increases a dog's chance of adoption, too, because dogs who get regular exercise are less stressed. Plus, the volunteers provide notes about a dog's personality and information such as whether it knows how to sit or seems to be housebroken.

Volunteer Eve Waart of Clearwater comes to Animal Services almost every day after assisting in a classroom of special needs children. She has a passion for big dogs. She believes in educating people about the characteristics of different breeds.

"The goal is the right dog with the right family, regardless of the breed," Waart said.

Dog walkers are needed in the mornings, lunchtime and afternoons. The need picks up in the summer as the shelter's population increases. Daily, weekly and seasonal volunteers are welcome, Youts said.

Other Volunteer Opportunities with Pinellas County

Parks: Prefer an outdoors experience? Help pick up litter or remove intrusive vegetation in a county park. Have a knack for using tools and fixing things? Volunteers can  check for deteriorated hardware, fix broken signs and generally help straighten up around the parks as needed.

Offices: For those who love organization, there are many opportunities to help with office work. This is one volunteer position that is very important, and people often underestimate how much their organizational skills are needed, said Mary Sault of Volunteer Services.

Creative services: Maybe you'd rather do something more creative? In that case, there are volunteer opportunities such as painting or CPR training assistance.

Fundraising: Want to help the county get money? There is also an opportunity to volunteer as a grants management course developer. This is for someone who understands the grant application process and proper management of the resulting incoming funds.

Pinellas County volunteers can expect to make a difference in their community while exploring their interests, sharing knowledge, assisting others and making friends. For information, visit www.pinellascounty.org/volunteer, email volunteers@pinellascounty.org or call 727-464-8477.

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