SaddleBrooke Pet Rescue Network – November 2014

Please consider stepping up for the dogs

SaddleBrooke newcomer Debbie Grafmiller joined Wags & Walkers this fall to help walk dogs at Pima Animal Care Center; photo by Jan Pede

SaddleBrooke newcomer Debbie Grafmiller joined Wags & Walkers this fall to help walk dogs at Pima Animal Care Center; photo by Jan Pede

Karen Schickedanz

SaddleBrooke is a community of animal lovers. Our pets are among the luckiest around and many of us support the SaddleBrooke Pet Rescue Network or other animal welfare groups.

Now there’s an opportunity and a great need to literally step up your support by becoming a volunteer dog walker at Pima Animal Care Center.

By the time you read this article we’ll know the fate of Pima County’s Proposition 415, a proposal to build a new Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) to replace the aging facility built in 1968. But whether or not voters approve the measure, the fact remains that for the foreseeable future, the old shelter will continue to house 1,000 animals in a space built for 500. What that means is that there just aren’t enough volunteer dog walkers to get all these animals out of their overstuffed kennels for a breath of fresh air each day.

Here’s how you can step up: Consider volunteering to walk dogs at PACC for a few hours a week or as often as you have time. Besides giving the dogs (and yourself) some good exercise, you’ll help socialize them and make them more adoptable as they release some of their pent up energy. The aim is to take every dog on about a 20 minute daily walk in nearby Christopher Columbus Park. That doesn’t happen for every dog because of the large number of dogs and the lack of volunteers.

There are all sizes, shapes and kinds of dogs at PACC (and cats to cuddle, too, if that’s your preference). Anyone 16 years of age or older can be a dog walker, but there is a particular need for more adult male volunteers to handle some of the larger dogs. When you first start dog walking, it may seem overwhelming. It can be hard, both emotionally and physically, but it’s so rewarding to know that you’re making a difference in a dog’s day and life.

PACC holds regularly scheduled, short Volunteer Open Houses at its location at 4000 N. Silverbell Road. The open houses offer information on a variety of volunteer opportunities. For volunteer dog walkers, there is a follow-up series of workshops to make you feel comfortable and knowledgeable before you begin walking on your own or with a mentor.

Here in SaddleBrooke there also is an in-house group that can help get you started and support you along the way. It’s called Wags & Walkers and is part of the SaddleBrooke Pet Rescue Network. Members carpool to PACC every Tuesday morning throughout the year to walk dogs. (But if Tuesdays aren’t good for you, you can walk dogs any day of the week once you’ve taken training at PACC.) W&W also sponsors frequent off-site adoption events at Oro Valley PetSmart, La Encantada and Foothills Mall if you’d prefer to start out volunteering in that way.

For more information about the SaddleBrooke Pet Rescue Network and Wags & Walkers, visit or contact Jan Pede at 404-310-3449 or [email protected].