NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors spent Oct. 7 making a difference for some less fortunate four-legged friends in Portsmouth.
Truman Sailors volunteered at the Portsmouth Humane Society during the community relations (COMREL) project. Sara Shellman, the shelter manager, noted the importance in having volunteers assist at the shelter. It makes a difference not only for the animals but those volunteering as well.
"It was great to have so many people show up; it gave the dogs a chance to get more socialization," Shellman said. "They get more exercise, and we can get more done around the shelter."
Sailors accomplished a lot at the shelter, including exercising the dogs, cleaning all of the kennels, installing a new door, yard work around the building and general upkeep of the facility.
"It was really nice to have the Sailors here; it allowed us to accomplish so much more than we normally could in a single day," Shellman said. "The dogs seemed so much happier today too because of it. It's normally so loud in here (the kennel area) because of all the barking, but the dogs were quieter when all was said and done because they had cleaner kennels and got more attention than usual."
Aviation Boatswain's Mate [Handler] 1st Class Michael Panaccione, who spent most of the day walking the dogs, came out because he loves animals and wanted to do something to make life for the ones at the shelter a little better.
"These dogs come in and are abused or not taken care of like they should be, it is really sad," Panaccione said. "It's awesome being able to make life for them a little better, getting them out of the kennels for a little exercise and love."
The reaction from most of the other volunteers was the same, they just wanted to come work and play with the dogs.
According to Shellman the shelter has come a long way, and they are still working to improve it every day.
"We need volunteers to come out and help us, even if it's just walking a dog," Shellman said. "The more socialization the dogs can get the better because it ultimately benefits them and helps us accomplish a lot while they are occupied. It also helps prepare them for adoption when they have human interaction."
The Portsmouth Humane Society is currently entered in a contest to win $1 million for a complete makeover of the facility. An online poll will determine the winner of the contest.
"The facility could really use the makeover," Panaccione said.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.