Thanks to the combined efforts of volunteers and staff at the Montclair Township Animal Shelter, 27 dogs have found homes during the past several weeks. Volunteers rallied behind adoption events, dog-walking, pet socialization, and other efforts to help shelter animals get adopted into loving homes. The volunteer efforts are especially important for the animals, as the shelter has been criticized for mismanagement and neglect in the past several months and the facility’s manager resigned last month.
Shelter volunteer and Montclair local Nancy Willis spearheaded a major adoption campaign for dogs. She organized weekly outings to the Montclair Farmers’ Market with volunteers and shelter dogs so that the animals could be more visible and be able to interact with the public.
“We really wanted to get some of our dogs out in the fresh air where people gather so that folks could come and meet them and find out what truly wonderful and friendly companions they would make,” said Willis.
Willis had bright yellow t-shirts made for the volunteers and Montclair resident and professional photographer Eric Delmar provided his services to produce beautiful portraits of the Shelter’s cats and dogs. Shelter volunteer Noel Sedransk donated graphic design and printing costs to make posters that are being displayed in establishments around town.
“It was just amazing to see how many people rallied around our efforts and came out to help,” said Willis. “What was even more gratifying was the reaction from those who stopped by to meet our dogs – they simply fell in love! Just as we knew they would.”
In addition, Caz Rosson was recently hired to be the Shelter Volunteer Coordinator. “Caz is well on the way to making some very positive changes that will further the good work of the volunteers,” said Health Department Director Sue Portuese. “She has some really great ideas that we’re looking forward implementing to help our animals and our staff.”
“I am truly astonished and pleased not only that we have so many terrific people who raised their hands to help our animals, their dedication and efforts are a such a tremendous asset to what we hope to achieve at the Shelter moving forward,” said Rosson.
One of Rosson’s first tasks was to organize volunteer duties, nominating team leaders for various shelter responsibilities: cats, dogs, media, events, and administration.
“Having well-defined roles not only makes for clear objectives, it provides much greater direction and accountability to ensure that all our animals’ needs are seen to,” said Rosson. “We have some extraordinary people who gladly stepped up to the plate to take on these leadership roles and they will help me with coordinating all of our activities.”
In addition to the Farmers’ Market events, the Shelter hosted the second annual fundraiser “Zombie Dog Walk of the Dead,” organized by Anthony Muzikar of MetalDogz.com. Pet adoption events were held at the Upper Montclair Sidewalk Sale and Anthropologie on Bloomfield Avenue. Volunteers have also stepped up a social media and TV34 pet spotlight campaign to ensure the animals get maximum visibility on all media. Additional events are planned, such as dog and cat adoption Saturdays at Petco in West Orange and resuming volunteer evening walks with shelter dogs.
The Montclair Animal Shelter continues to accept volunteer applications and will host more weekly orientations in the weeks to come. For more in formation, email here.
(Photo credit: Eric Delmar)