Dog Days

Volunteers play an important role in helping the Wake County Animal Center care for and rehome thousands of homeless animals every year. Since January 2013, volunteer Bonnie Keyes has become a staple at the animal center. Keyes volunteers at the center at least three days a week and helps with a variety of tasks such as photographing animals for foster and rescue placement, assisting with exercise and playtime for dogs, promoting animals on social media, transportation of animals, and collecting donations from around the area for the center's animals. In addition to the many hats she wears while at the center, Keyes also fosters dogs and cats at her home to prepare them for adoption. Since she first started volunteering with the animal center three years ago, Keyes has fostered more than 115 animals.

"The shelter cannot do what it does to improve the quality of life for the animals that come through these doors without the work of volunteers."

Keyes was no stranger to volunteering and fostering when she first came to the WCAC. She had previously volunteered with a New York City based rescue before moving to North Carolina. Soon after she arrived in Wake County, a friend recommended she check out the animal center to pick her volunteering back up. While at first apprehensive based on her experience with open intake shelters, Keyes took the plunge and soon began volunteering and her involvement with the animal center has only grown since then.

“I hear a lot of people voice their dislike of animal shelters and how they perceive the animals are treated. I used to be one of those people. The way I see it, you can keep complaining and nothing will change, or you can commit yourself to take action and make a difference,” said Keyes. “The WCAC has shown me that many of my perceptions were based on myths and half-truths. The biggest thing I've learned is that the shelter cannot do what it does to improve the quality of life for the animals that come through these doors without the work of volunteers.”

Keyes is hopeful that more people will start volunteering and help the center continue to live out its mission. “I encourage people who are interested in making a difference or don't know what the WCAC is about to come out and volunteer their time, even if it's just one or two days a month. Volunteer involvement is key to helping us maintain the progress we have made at the shelter over the years and helping the animals at our facility find loving homes.”