Dog-Walking Volunteers Needed in Thornton
Healing Heart Rehab, a 501c3 nonprofit dog shelter located in Thornton, is holding its first-ever volunteer orientation on Saturday, Sept. 23, in hopes of harnessing community support with walking and training dogs.
Established in 2022 by mother-daughter duo Debra Wells and Joy Bastow-Black, along with Joy’s husband, Russell, they run the rescue shelter from their home in Thornton. Earlier this year, they completed a building with heat and air conditioning for their dogs; a 5x6 indoor run that has dog doors going out to a 6’x20’ outside run.
Last month, Valerie Mann, of Groesbeck, approached the owners of Healing Heart after getting some experience as a Volunteer Coordinator at LARAS House. She was surprised to learn that the trio have been doing it all by themselves since the rehab’s inception, and got to work putting the word out that volunteers are needed.
“They have about 20 dogs, some were found running around the street and the owners couldn’t be found and they also do rescues from kill shelters,” Mann said.
Many of the dogs at Healing Heart still waiting on their forever homes are featured on their website, with photos and information about their background and temperament.
“The name Healing Heart is basically based on healing the dogs’ hearts against humans, dogs that have been left behind or abused or dumped,” Mann said. “They take some injured dogs, dogs that had really bad mange, and one dog that had missing legs so they got it a wheelchair, rehabbing it that way.”
At the orientation on Saturday, people who show up to Healing Heart Rehab at 11 a.m. will meet the dogs and learn about their responsibilities as volunteers.
“Basically I will show them the shelter, what we expect of them as far as socializing the dogs, what dogs have certain mannerisms, but there are no aggressive dogs at Healing Hearts so it’s perfect,” Mann said. “They’re able to walk the dogs to get them used to other people rather than just one person because we don’t know who is going to adopt them but we want to have them completely ready for adoption. Basic commands, sit, stay, walk.”
Mann plans to hold one orientation per month moving forward for new volunteers. Healing Heart is asking volunteers to participate and work with the dogs at least twice a month, but will happily accept as much help as possible. Generally, most shelters only offer morning hours, but the gates of Healing Heart are open until 6 p.m.
Teen volunteers are also welcome, though parent or guardian supervision is required for anyone under 16, and a signed permission slip must be completed for volunteers between the ages of 16 and 18.
If you are unable to volunteer your time, monetary donations or items like leashes, dog toys, bedding, or blankets are greatly appreciated.
For more information about Healing Heart Rehab and the dogs available for adoption, visit their Facebook Page or website, https:// healingheartrehab.com/.
For specific information about volunteering, you can visit the Healing Heart Rehab Volunteer Group on Facebook, or you can contact Valerie Mann by email at valeriemann2014@yahoo. com, or by texting or calling her at 714- 328- 9403.