So since it’s now been forever since I did an update, and since I apparently still can’t think of anything to write about diet, training, etc. I figured I’d do an update on my time at the Austin Humane Shelter. I’ve now been there a full year and a half (I started in November of 2010 as I was crawling out of my depression, as I detailed in Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter series) and quite a bit has happened since then.
I’ll be mainly focusing on 2011 since, frankly, last year was crazy almost from start to finish. Actually, it wasn’t crazy, it was pretty much a disaster. Things started off quietly enough, the first couple of months were just normal times at the shelter. I was deep into my winter training grind and volunteering regularly. We pick up in Februrary, 2011.
By the time I had been at the shelter for four months, I have moved from a newbie Green BRATT through Blue Dot and then had taken a special full blue BRATT class (that was put together for 5 of us who had forgotten to get into the main class). It was five classes across 6 weeks and, at this point, we were into full on dog training. As a reminder (or for folks who didn’t or don’t want to read the original series), the Austin Humane Shelter dog volunteer program uses a color system to ‘rank’ the dogs.
Similarly, dog walkers (called BRATT’s which stands for Behavioral Rehoming Assessment Training Team; a description of what we do) are ranked by color and you can only walk dogs at your color level and below. There are are a number of reasons for this (ranging from safety to consistent training) but the color levels mainly rank the dogs on what type of general behaviors you can expect. In order from easiest to hardest: