Justine Riseley must really love animals. Not only is she a proud dog owner (a self described “dog-person”, no less), but she’s also spent the past four years devoting her time as a volunteer at the Cayman Islands Humane Society.
But it takes more than one person to make a difference, Justine says, as volunteers are always welcome and necessary to keep the Humane Society running. “There are so many things the public can do,” Justine says.
“The public is so important because we rely 100 per cent on donations to keep the shelter running. There are so many things needing to be done; people to come in and look after the animals, people to walk the dogs, help out at the fundraisers.”
Groups such as the Cayman Prep Key Club are already leading the charge in helping out at the Humane Society, with members visiting the shelter every Monday. As the society’s website says, people can help them a great deal by doing something as simple as petting a cat or walking a dog.
But what of the animals that are being cared for? How do they find their way into the caring arms of the Humane Society?
“A lot of them are abandoned,” Justine says. “Sometimes they are found and they’re ill, so people bring them in for care. Sometimes people leave the island and don’t take their animals with them. There are many ways they can appear at our door.”
The animals, Justine says, are then checked immediately for injuries or illnesses. If they are injured or ill, they are sent down to the vet, before being put into the shelter to interact with the other animals and to have a chance of adoption.
As it turns out, potential adopters have to go through a screening process, too. No, they’re not checked for fleas and sent to the vet, they’re made to fill in an application form, detailing their basic information and information about any previous pets they may have owned.
“We do this to make sure there’s no history we have to be concerned about,” Justine says. “We then do a home check to make sure the home environment is appropriate for an animal.” To complete the adoption process, a fee is paid and the animal is free to go home with their new owners.
According to Justine, there are a plethora of benefits that a pet brings to a household.
“Where do I even start?” she laughs. “I personally think that pets are fantastic for rehabilitation for people with emotional problems. I also think that they are great for children, as it gives them a sense of responsibility and teaches them lessons in life and it gives them a sense of compassion.
An animal becomes your friend; it becomes a part of your family.”
For more information, contact the Cayman Islands Humane Society at 949-1461.