Last year, I shared with you Episode 6 from the “Shelter Me” series, which I thoroughly enjoyed watching. So, I was excited when I recently had the opportunity to watch the latest episode of the national PBS show “Shelter Me: Community Matters”.
Created by filmmaker Steven Latham, hosted by animal welfare icon Dr. Jane Goodall, and presented by the Petco Foundation, the latest installment of “Shelter Me” focuses on when communities come together to help animals in need.
While cats are only a small part of this “Shelter Me” episode, I believe it is well worth the watch for any animal lover. So today, I would like to share with you “Shelter Me: Community Matters”.
Reading to Shelter Animals
The episode starts with a group of teen volunteers who read to shelter pets through STAMP (Sacramento Teen and Animal Membership Program) at an open admissions shelter in Sacramento, California.
The program started with teens reading to dogs, but soon they opened it up to cats as well. I asked why they chose to incorporate cats into STAMP, and Laura Delight, STAMP Teen Program Coordinator, said:
“Honestly, we chose to incorporate cats because one of our STAMP-ers asked us if they could read to a cat that caught their eye earlier in the meeting while they were in the shelter doing chores. Up until then, we had focused primarily on dogs, but since that day, we have always had at least a small group choose to read to kitties.”
Laura went on to say, “It’s great because while the volunteers do a good job of getting most adoptable dogs out each day, it’s really hard to socialize the volume of cats we usually have, and this helps calm the cats tremendously.”
Running with Shelter Dogs
The next part of the “Shelter Me: Community Matters” episode follows a high school cross-country team in Santa Maria, California that uses their practice time to take shelter dogs out for a run. Not only does it get the dogs time out of their kennels, but it also brings visibility to the dogs, urging people in the community to consider adopting from the shelter.
Shelter Dogs Against Poaching
Finally, in the primary story of this episode, viewers learn how Working Dogs for Conversation (WD4C), a non-profit organization based in Montana, trains shelter dogs to help battle elephant and rhino poaching in Africa. Vicka, the former shelter dog that we follow during the episode, learns to search for ivory and firearms, alerting her trainer and helping in the battle to put an end to poaching.
Follow Up: “Shelter Me: Hearts & Paws”
Episode 6, that I wrote about earlier, is now available for free viewing at ShelterMe.tv, along with other previous episodes of the series. So, if you missed it on TV, be sure to watch it online. “Shelter Me: Hearts & Paws” featured Cat Town Café in Oakland and also followed comic strip creator Patrick McDonnell as he spent several days at a shelter getting inspiration for his comic strip.
“Shelter Me: Community Matters” is presented by the Petco Foundation. Pictured above is MUTTS comic creator Patrick McDonnell at one of the Petco Foundation “Love Changes Everything” adoption events in NYC that was held this past weekend. Celebratory events kicked-off the Petco Foundation’s national campaign that runs from March 4th through April 2nd and aims to raise over $3.1 million to support animal welfare organizations across the nation. Learn more at petcofoundation.org.
You can check your local listings at ShelterMe.tv to see when “Shelter Me: Community Matters” will be airing near you. Previous episodes are available to stream for free right now at ShelterMe.tv!