Nov 302003
Authors: Lindsay Robinson

Wild animals have always fascinated senior zoology major Lauren

Kloer. So, when she heard about the WildKind program at the Larimer

Humane Society, she jumped at the chance to volunteer.

Now, two years later, Kloer is a paid part-time employee in the

animal behavior department at the humane society, where she trains

animals and works with both wildlife and domestic creatures that

have behavior problems.

Kloer said she loves to show people there are positive ways to

train and work with animals.

“It’s so much fun to be able to work with the owners of the pets

and the animals themselves,” she said. “I find it fun. I love to

train animals.”

The Larimer Humane Society has many volunteer opportunities to

fit all interests. Volunteers can act as kennel assistants, a

position that includes feeding, vaccinations, cage cleaning and

adoption counseling.

Volunteers can also work with the WildKind program, which

involves the rehabilitation of orphaned or injured wild


“We empower our volunteers to do anything they are interested in

and they can work in any job in our shelter,” said Ellen Taylor,

director of operations at the humane society. “We have volunteers

who never come into the shelter and work on fundraisers, volunteers

who work with wildlife, volunteers who assist in dog-training

classes. We have close to 300 foster homes. Pretty much any job you

want to do, we’ll let you do it as a volunteer.”

In order to become a volunteer, one must first attend a

volunteer information session to learn about the humane society and

the various departments and volunteer opportunities offered. The

next information session will be held Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the

Harmony Library, 4616 S. Shields St.

Following the information session, the volunteer is interviewed

by the manager of the department with which he or she is interested

in working. The final step is a training session where the

volunteer learns about the animals he or she will be dealing


Taylor thinks volunteering can be very beneficial for students,

especially those who left pets behind when they came to


“A lot of students are away from home and missing their family

animals. It’s a good opportunity to relieve stress and kind of get

that fur fix that you’re missing out on,” she said.

Ashley Barnes, a junior biology major, volunteers with the

humane society’s WildKind program.

“If you like animals, it’s a good way to spend your time because

it gives you exposure to animals and it gives you a chance to help

animals when they can’t help themselves,” Barnes said. “Seeing

these animals get rehabilitated and get back out there is a very

big reward.”

Both Kloer and Barnes would like to have a career involving

animals and they said their volunteer time at the humane society

has reassured them they have chosen the right job.

“I still want to be a vet, which is one of the main reasons I

started there. It’s made me even more confident that that’s what I

want to do,” Barnes said.

Kloer encourages students to consider volunteering at the humane

society if they are able and advises potential volunteers to make

sure they pick an appropriate department with which to donate their


“I think it’s important for people if they’re interested in

volunteering to really look into the area they’d like to volunteer

in and understand that it’s not all just playing with the animals.

Do your research. Look around, read the volunteer descriptions on

the Web site and find out what you really want to do,” Kloer


To learn how to become a Larimer Humane Society volunteer, visit

the society’s Web site at for more


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