The varied services provided by Taichung City's animal protection volunteers extend from front-line work teaching owners correct pet care methods to behind-the-scenes caring for and marketing shelter animals and preparing them for adoption. To ensure that volunteers are proficient at their work, the Health Inspection Office specially engaged the Animal Protection Association of the ROC, which has extensive volunteer training experience, to provide training during 2020. The current series of animal protection volunteer training classes is being jointly held at the Haoxingyun Friendly Space during October and November. This series consists of 6 classes concerning different topics, namely "Knowing the Animal Protection Act," "DIY sniffing toys for furry children," "Animal behavior and basic dog training techniques," "Effective communication and coordination techniques," "Basic animal beauty techniques," and "Marketing copy design." These classes are boosting volunteers' animal protection knowledge and professional skills through familiarity with laws and regulations, animal welfare methods, and public interaction skills.
The first class session, "Knowing the Animal Protection Act," helped volunteers to understand owners' various care duties in the current Animal Protection Act, and the penalties they may face if they violate the law's requirements. During this class, the participants discussed and familiarized themselves with such much-debated current issues as performing animals, wild pig traps, and the prohibition on raising pit bulls. On October 24, the Health Inspection Office invited Follow Dog trainer Ming to teach the volunteers how to use simple and inexpensive materials to produce toys that dogs and cats could use to pass the time: Such readily-available materials as cardboard boxes, paper bags, old clothing, old towels, and bottles and cans can be used together with pet food and snacks preferred by furry children to make sniffing toys. The sense of smell is an important tool used by dogs and cats to explore and understand their environment, and smelling can enable dogs and cats to exercise their brains, relieve stress, and burn off excess energy. After listening to smelling theory and toy production principles from Instructor Ming, the volunteers used their creativity and clever hands to produce truly unique sniffing toys. During this class, a volunteer's own pet—Meina—got the first opportunity to try out the toys. Using her keen sense of smell, Meina persistently tried to find the delicious snack inside the toy, and we are sure that Meina slept well after the end of the class. As for animal shelter dogs and cats, apart from taking them out for walks, the toys made by the volunteers also provided the animals with more interaction and a good way to burn off energy, letting these dogs and cats enjoy life a bit more as they wait for homes.
The Health Inspection Office holds volunteer training classes on an annual basis, and there are still 4 more class sessions to be held this year. We are certain that volunteers will find these classes to be very productive, and hope that they will improve the welfare of shelter animals and assist in adopting out the shelter's dogs and cats.