Hello again RHUers! KennelKitty (formerly StarBitchSoldier) here with a rant and question from the animal shelter.
I usually work alone in the mornings at my shelter but recently I've gotten many new volunteers coming in for a training shift since I'm now one of their top volunteers. These guys have gone through a little "training course" with most information being common sense (to me at least.)
At first, the newbies were great. They were ready to help out and learn the layout and whatnot. Its just what you'd imagine from people willing to donate their time to help kitties. Recently, though, the trainees have gone down hill. They mostly stand around, watching me. I usually show them around the building, the feeding chart, and how to clean a kennel as a demonstration at first. I understand asking me which cleaner to use or where the bedding is kept. But these people I've had the last few times do nothing. They just want to pet a cat or two and maybe feed a couple but that's all. There's another volunteer job for that. I just want to scream at them not to sign up for cleaning if they are too worried about scooping poop or sweeping kennels! Augh!
Then there is the problem of people just leaving without letting anyone know or finishing the job. If you can't dedicate the time to finish, don't even start. Please. It's a waste of time having me explain everything for you to just leave. I finally was able to gather them up on a later shift and confront them, telling them they are here to learn and if they get stuck on a shift alone after training, like I usually do, they better know how to do every task. That and I made them feel bad by telling them when they leave I end up finishing everything myself which means I end up staying at least an hour past my shift (which is true.)
It helped a few volunteers realize they needed to step it up but there are still some who don't really care. Ugh.
Now for my question. I got a trainee recently that I suspect has some disabilities. Now, I have no problem with disabled people. We have a young wheelchair bound woman who comes in with her aide and pets and socializes the very young kittens and more sedentary cats and she is absolutely wonderful at it. What I'm worried about is this young trainee hurting a cat or getting hurt. He seems like he has mental disabilities and does not know how to act around cats.
I spent my whole shift following him around, correcting him on how to hold cats and clean, even explaining that yes, what he found was pee in the cat box and that you scoop it out. The cats avoid him completely, darting and running away from him to avoid his uncomfortable carrying methods.
What do I do? I don't want to be rude or make a point that the mentally handicapped can't work there. I just don't want to see a person or cat get hurt because there is a volunteer not capable of handling cats in there. Maybe if this man had supervision it would be ok, but from my understanding he is there alone. I really want to bring this up to the staff but is it ok if I say anything? If I do, how can I bring it up without being offensive?
Thanks again RHU,