Meet Alyssa Broer, Volunteer Dog Trainer

For some, volunteering comes easily; for others, volunteering is a mandatory few hours on a Saturday once a month. But when volunteering with PETSInc, nothing feels like work. Alyssa Broer, a sophomore USC student, volunteers as a “Barkin’ Buddy,” where she helps train cute dogs at this shelter. Read on to learn more about the program and Alyssa’s experience as a Barkin’ Buddy!

Her Campus South Carolina: What is the program like?

Alyssa Broer: Basically you fill out a basic volunteer form and attend a 2-hour orientation session, but its recommended that you do more than 1 basic training session. So I also did a training session where I learned how to actually train dogs. The goal of the program is to help new dogs coming in to become very adoptable – working on a leash, basic commands, not getting overly excited, etc.

HCSC: How did you first get involved in becoming a Barkin’ Buddy?

AB: I just heard about it from friends and then I went in anticipating being a normal volunteer at Pets Inc. I have a lot of experience with dogs in my life, so I saw this and figured that this would be a fun way to get involved in Columbia.

HCSC: What does a typical day/time as a Barkin’ Buddy look like?

AB: You go in to the shelter and normally someone is sitting at the front desk to check you in and give you a lanyard. When you’re a beginner you work with the dogs who are not overly aggressive. I bring them outside so that they get lots of exercise; there’s a dog park and trails. Usually I spend time with three or four dogs per visit.

HCSC: What is the best part?

AB: I just really love being able to work with same dog week by week – you can see them progress. There was this one 8-week old puppy and I had her for a few weeks and she was so cute. Its amazing because you form a relationship with them. She was still really young, but it was cool to see her grow.

HCSC: Worst part?

AB: Not being able to take them all home!

HCSC: Any tricks for dog owners?

AB: Just being really consistent is the most important when you’re looking to train a puppy. Dogs feel more secure when they have a consistent schedule and way of being trained

If you would like to be involved, visit PETSinc at 300 Orchard Dr, West Columbia, or online at to sign up to be a volunteer and go to the orientation!