Paul is 81 years old and has been volunteering at the Georgian Triangle Humane Society for 3 and a half years as a dog enrichment volunteer – a.k.a. Canine Cuddler Extraordinaire. On average, Paul comes in for doggie snuggles 1-2 times a week.
Paul says he finds the most satisfaction when he works with shy dogs. His process to help socialize timid pups is as follows:
Usually, a shy dog will cower in one of the corners of Room 5 (or as we often refer to it as, the Meet & Greet Room). As Paul sits on the couch, he throws treats in the direction of the dog. Eventually, the dog gobbles up the treats. When he feels that the dog has become accustomed to his presence, Paul will make his way to the floor – dogs feel more comfortable when we interact with them on their physical level. As time ticks on, the dog comes around and begins to trust Paul by way of showing him their bellies for a good ol’ rub or by nuzzling up to him for some serious cuddles.
The look in a dog’s eyes speaks a thousand words; Paul knows when a dog truly appreciates his efforts by that “special look in its eyes”. According to Paul, that look is how a dog tells him “thank you”. To Paul, there is nothing more satisfying.
Paul recognizes the importance of his presence around these dogs. It’s not uncommon for dogs to be fearful of men, so he appreciates the value of the work he is doing. Paul, with his gentle demeanour, shows dogs that men can be trusted.
Following Paul’s very first volunteer shift at the GTHS in 2016, his wife, Carol, told him that he looked 12 feet tall as he strutted up the driveway. Paul’s response: “That’s how the dogs make me feel”.
I think it’s safe to say that the world needs more Pauls.
To learn about our available volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer Page.