May Jefferson Award: Don Johnson - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

May Jefferson Award: Don Johnson

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Humane Society cares for hundreds, if not thousands, of stray and unwanted pets every year.

And, much of that care comes from volunteers who give their time to help those animals through a very stressful time.

One of those volunteers is the recipient of the May Jefferson Award.

Don Johnson has been working as a volunteer at the DCHS shelter for 16 years.

"I come here a couple times a week, for 2-3 hours at a time," said Johnson.

Don works with what are called 'pre-adoptable' dogs; the ones that just arrived at the shelter, the ones that are usually the most anxious and unpredictable.

"One of our jobs is to identify certain characteristics of dogs, whether they might be overly shy, overly aggressive, and we pass that on to the canine behavior team, the people who do the assessments on the dogs. It's a whole new situation for them. It's a new environment, it can be noisy in the kennels, some dogs aren't used to that. Dogs in kennels don't do well unless they are able to get out and get a little bit of exercise and release some of that stress and that anxiety."

Don helps give them that release.  He also modified all the outdoor fencing at the shelter to keep dogs from being able to jump out. He says there's always something to do at the shelter.

"I would urge people to come out and give it a try. You can shadow someone like myself or any of the other volunteers."

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