The last thing you’d expect to find in the middle of Boston’s Boston Belly Up volunteer bazaar is a dog.
But this is not an unusual sight in the city.
Boston is home to more than 200,000 dogs and nearly 500 volunteer busses, many of whom are orphaned and abandoned.
According to the Boston BETA, there are approximately 100,000 of them.
“We’re just doing a very basic check, and the last thing we want to do is be part of something that’s just going to take away the love and the care and the love from these dogs,” said Beth Koppelman, the charity’s executive director.
Beth and her team are helping foster foster homes adopt and foster thousands of animals.
“The dogs that come in need of love and care are the most vulnerable animals,” she said.
“They don’t have anyone to help them out.
So we’re just making sure they’re well cared for.”
The charity runs a shelter and adoption program in the same building as the Boston Zoo.
The program runs from June to November.
In October, Beth and her partner found an old dog who’d spent years at the shelter and was in need.
“I said, ‘Look, I know we could adopt him, but it’s really hard,'” Beth said.
They spent more than a year trying to find the perfect match.
“There are some dogs that we’ve seen for a long time that just don’t fit the criteria,” Beth said, “but the one that really caught our eye was a very old dog.”
He’s not too big or too skinny, he’s just very old,” Beth added.
To find a dog that was the right match for the old dog, Beth’s team had to go back to history.”
The government was shutting down. “
It was the time of the Great Depression.
The government was shutting down.
We were just looking for something that we could help.”
The Boston Beta’s first volunteer dog, named Chico, came to the shelter in December.
After two weeks of training, Chico was the first volunteer canine to meet his owner.
“The day we got him, it was just so exciting,” Beth remembered.
Chico’s owner, Susan Besser, had lived in Boston for 25 years.
She knew her dog would make a great volunteer and was very excited.
“She was like, ‘I love you, Chaco,'” said Susan, who has three dogs, one of which was rescued.
“Chico had a heart of gold, but he was so gentle and very gentle,” said Susan Bresser.
A little over two months later, Chocos name was changed to Chico.
Today, Choco has become a member of the Boston Volunteer Dog Rescue.
“If I’m going to help somebody else, I want to be able to say I’ve helped someone,” said Chico’s handler, Chris Koppeler.
“So it’s kind of a bittersweet feeling when I see Chico here, and I think I’m the one who has done something good.”
The shelter’s mission is to find homes for homeless animals.
For years, it has rescued and adopted nearly 1,000 animals, mostly orphaned dogs.
This year, they’re looking to find another 1,400 dogs.
“It’s been an incredible year,” said Chris Koffeler, who works as the shelter’s volunteer.
“I feel like we’ve been able to see more dogs come into our shelter than I’ve ever seen in my life.
I think it’s because people are just more open to this cause.”
As for the volunteers, Chris said they love it.
“This is what we do, and this is what our dogs are,” he said.