Giving Back: A Paws-itive Experience (Features) (On Target)

(Photo illustration by Sgt. Tyler L. Main)

While April is National Volunteer Month, it’s always a good time to get out and help others around you. Marines can give back to their communities in a variety of ways, including volunteering at a local Humane Society. (Photo illustration by Sgt. Tyler L. Main)

I’ve always been a dog person.

When I joined the Marine Corps at the age of 27, I didn’t adapt easily to the barracks lifestyle. I missed the comforts of a real home and spent a lot of my liberty time at work because I didn’t want to be at the barracks.

After arriving at a new duty station late last year, I looked for ways to get out of the barracks. I found a Humane Society about 45 minutes away  and applied to be a volunteer.

| More: A Marine gives back by donating platelets |

Every Saturday I spend a couple hours of my afternoon walking dogs that are waiting to be adopted at the shelter. The kennel is stressful for the dogs because there are always visitors and dogs barking. The dogs lack the restful environment of a home with a loving owner.

I love the company that the dogs provide to me each weekend. They’re great companions.

The more volunteers the humane society has, the more exercise, socialization and interaction the dogs receive. This helps the dogs stay healthy and adoptable. The longer a dog waits to be adopted at the society the more stress the dog undergoes, often resulting in behavioral problems.

I’m glad I’ve found something productive to do with my time that I enjoy and that gets me out of the barracks. I feel happy each time I leave the humane society knowing I provided exercise and companionship to dogs as they wait to be adopted into a home.

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Giving Back: A Paws-itive Experience (Features) (On Target)