Second Chance: Creating Compassionate Children through Volunteering

Second Chance: Creating Compassionate Children through Volunteering

Compassion is defined as “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” But it’s more than just that. Compassion is an attitude, a philosophy, a way of life. If a child learns compassion, all other scholarly pursuits are merely bonuses in the scheme of life. Volunteering with children is a great way to help them learn about giving back while learning valuable skills and lessons “on the job.” And, in my humble opinion, volunteering with animals is like full throttle on the volunteering scale of benefits…


Teaching kindness and compassion to a child affects the type of people they grow up to be. And the best way to teach this is through animals. Pets and children can share a deep bond, one that teaches them sympathy, consideration, and respect. This often creates the lifelong skill of empathy – feeling the feelings of others, knowing when someone is uncomfortable, caring enough to change your behavior so that the other person becomes more comfortable.

What’s more, I have been reading about studies that even demonstrate that children who interact with animals have higher levels of self esteem, greater empathy, and better social skills.  Through Second Chance’s volunteer program, a host of opportunities are created and unfold for parent and child to interact with animals and enrich the lives of everyone involved.

Whether kitten cuddling, making cat toys, or walking dogs, it often proves to be a wonderful way for parent and child to spend time together. By working side-by-side with your children, they are led by example, what I believe to be the most effective form of teaching. Children who see their parents volunteering are much more likely to believe in the value of working to help others.  Naturally, working alongside your child will allow you to assist him/her when necessary, ensuring the child’s presence is a help to the animals, staff and other volunteers.

Teaching children to respect animals helps them learn to respect people – others and themselves. By tuning in to an animal’s feelings of wanting attention, love, food, companionship and respect, a child can grow up into a caring adult who can more intuitively tune in to other people’s feelings as well. Come volunteer with your child here at Second Chance!

To participate in Second Chance’s volunteer program or for more information, visit our website at or contact our Volunteer Coordinator at

My name is Lucy and I am a drop dead gorgeous 18-month-young Siamese Chocolate Point kitty. With eyes that reflect a brilliant blue sky and a lovely coat softer than a baby’s bum you would think I would be a Hollywood movie starlet or gracing the pages of PURR magazine, but I am just a homeless kitty looking for love…



My pal Rockie is the Second Chance dog of the week. At only 8 or 9 months this Vizsla Brittany (Vizanny) cross is super friendly high octane girl. She would love an active household where she could excel at sports allowing her to propel her compact and agile body through the sky.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & friend

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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