Friends Of The Shelter (FOS) serves the wider northern New Mexico area by providing services in and beyond Los Alamos County. Our services include low cost spay/neuter programs ($10 co-pay), emergency veterinary funds for low income families, behavior modifications services, and fundraising. A lot of this stuff can be done without even seeing the animals, which is great for animal lovers with allergies!
There are so many ways to help, with time commitments ranging from a few minutes or hours a week to around the clock foster care. Whatever time you have brings us closer to our goals: no more homeless pets! Children over 16 are welcome to volunteer, as are younger children with parental supervision -- it's a great way to involve your family in the rewarding activity of volunteer work!
- Help organize a fundraiser: we have two main fund raisers every year, the Dog Jog and annual calendar sales. We need lots of volunteers to make these events go right, even just on the day of. If you want to spend more time though, help us organize the event, make fliers, distribute fliers, recruit sponsors, design the T-shirts, keep track of registrants, design calendar pages...the list goes on and on!
- Help us administer the emergency vet money: process applications for funding, call vets, send checks, follow up on the animal's health.
- Spay Day USA: Help us distribute free vouchers for spay/neuter to pet owners around Northern New Mexico. Last year, fifty non-shelter animals were removed from the breeding pool this way. We're on the way to no more unwanted litters!
- New volunteers: help with orientation at the shelter, recruit volunteers from your neighborhood, church, school, etc.
- Help us think of new ways to raise money.
- Thanks-yous: Help us write thank-you cards to our generous donors who make our organization possible.
- Community Outreach: Speak with church groups, schools, and children's organizations about animals -- help kids learn how to avoid hurting or getting hurt by animals, instill the importance of spay/neuter in your local groups, help us fight cruelty in our county through awareness.
- If you're an animal expert, help confused owners learn how to modify their pets behavior- this saves lots of animals from being taken to the animals shelter when they become obnoxious.
Animal Shelter Volunteer Opportunities
The Volunteer Shelter Program (VSP) is a group of volunteers dedicated to improving the quality of life of the animals at the Los Alamos county Animal Shelter, and to making sure that those animals find good homes. The Volunteer Shelter Program is run in conjunction with the Los Alamos Friends of the Shelter (FOS), which is a Los Alamos-based non-profit organization whose focus is improving the lives of hurt and homeless animals throughout Northern New Mexico. Many, but not all, of the volunteers in FOS are a part of VSP. Both organizations are all-volunteer and are in great need of new volunteers. As a result of these organizations working together, the Los Alamos Animal Shelter has not euthanized any healthy, adoptable animals in the last seven years - a remarkable accomplishment for a county institution.
Volunteer Shelter Program (VSP) Serves the county animal shelter. Duties for volunteers with VSP are mainly, but not completely, on work with the animals at the shelter. There are two main groups of volunteers, one group for dogs and the other for cats, but this is mainly due to our volunteers' personal preferences and cross-over is encouraged! Volunteer activities include:
- Kitty Brigade: pick an evening every week to go by the shelter and make sure that the cats have food, water, and are generally in good health
- Dog Brigade: same as the Kitty Brigade, but check the dogs
- Socialization: all of our animals need love and attention at this scary time in their lives when they find themselves homeless. Some of these animals have not been around people much before, or have been mistreated, and need to learn to trust people again. Besides, it's been shown that petting animals lowers blood pressure!
- Exercise: Take a cat into our exercise pens and play a bit, or walk a dog. It's good for you and them!
- Training: Teach a dog how to sit, stay and lay down. You would not believe what difference this makes when people come to look for adoptable pets!
- Grooming: Clean animals are much more appealing to potential adopters -- you can help an animal find a home by finding the beautiful pet under the mud and matted fur.
- Fostering: take a dog or cat home with you until they find a home! Fostering is vital for animals with health needs (like diabetics), for young puppies and kittens who need feeding more than once a day, or for very shy animals who need to learn to trust people before they can be adopted out, or just to help reduce crowding at the shelter. Foster homes save lives!
- Adoption Screening: Take phone calls at home about particular animals that are advertised in the paper -- this will let potential adopters decide whether the animal is right for them.
- Transportation: Drive animals to new homes, or to the vet for appointments, or just be on call for emergency transportation to the 24-hour vet clinic. Occasionally, we take puppies to a sanctuary in Colorado, where they always find good homes -- you can save many lives this way!
- Temperament Evaluation: go through a process with us to determine which animals are good for busy homes, homes with children, homes with other animals, etc.
- Office Stuff: Just answer the phone at the shelter for an hour when animal control can't be there - just telling people when we're open or whether we have puppies available can make a big difference. Help a person determine if their lost pet is at the shelter! Prepare the weekly shelter report that goes to LA Monitor -- this is a great way to advertise the animals we have for adoption. Make some posters to post around town showing the faces of adoptable animals. The library is an especially great place for posters -- we adopt a lot of animals this way!
- Cleaning: If you love housework, we have plenty! Sweep the floor, do some laundry, sanitize a kennel for the next occupant -- this keeps our animals clean and reduces the risk of disease.
Read our volunteer brochure for much, much more.