Waiting for a Home: Animal shelter volunteers – a voice for the voiceless


News Channel 11’s special report “Waiting For a Home” is part of our mission to help the unwanted animals in the Tri-Cities find homes. This is part 4 of 5.

It is no secret that every animal shelter relies heavily on volunteers. Their paid staff is limited and can only do so much. 

Placing homeless animals with new families takes a lot of preparation and hard work behind the scenes. These volunteers are their advocates and often times their best chance at finding a home. 

Johnna Harris is one of the hundreds of volunteer and rescue workers in the Tri-Cities working to make a difference in the lives of our homeless animals. 

“I think sometimes you find the dog that does change you. And just gives you a whole different outlook,” says Harris.

Harris is a full time educator and full time volunteer at the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society. She and other volunteers help pull animals in danger of euthanasia out of Greene County Animal Control every single day. 

“Sometimes we don’t really have a whole lot of time to work with,” says Harris. 

In Tennessee, strays can legally be euthanized as soon as 3 to 10 days after intake. Owner surrendered animals can legally be euthanized immediately. 

Harris admits that her job rescuing unwanted animals is tough. 

“True people who rescue do it for the dog not themselves,” says Harris. 

But she like so many others in rescue know that without volunteers, the fates of these animals are grim. 

“A lot of them don’t have a chance. Because their time is up before we can even show that they’re adoptable,” says Harris. 

For these volunteers, the long hours and heart-wrenching realities are worth it to save the ones they can. 

Waiting for a Home

Part 1: Waiting for a Home: Why are animal shelters so crowded?

Part 2: Waiting for a Home: Thousands of unwanted animals pack Tri-Cities shelters

Part 3: Waiting for a Home: What can be done to stop animal shelter overcrowding?

Part 4: Waiting for a Home: Animal shelter volunteers – a voice for the voiceless

Part 5: Waiting for a Home: Find your local animal shelter

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