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 petsinc.org to sign up to be a volunteer and go to the orientation!