You Can Make A Difference!
If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, you might think about exploring the opportunities at your local animal shelter. Each of the organizations has a website listing current needs and with a quick check, you may be able to find a situation that matches your interests and availability.
Many people don’t realize that they don’t have to make a long-term commitment to helping. Maybe a one-time effort is your way to get to know the shelter before you commit or perhaps your busy schedule only allows you to pledge single visits. Before you investigate opportunities, it’s a good idea to think though some basic issues.
- Do you have a preference for the type of shelter? (i.e., no kill; all volunteer; government run, etc.)
- How often can you help?
- Would you rather work with animals, housekeeping chores, fundraising or social events?
- Do you have any health concerns, business or family constraints that might be a factor in establishing a volunteer schedule?
- What experiences and skills do you have that would benefit the shelter?
- Are your willing to complete a training program?
- Does the shelter allow minors to volunteer with their parents?
Every shelter will have different volunteer opportunities at different times of the year, but most will have similar needs.
To follow is a list compiled from several local shelters:
- Bathing/Grooming animals
- Walking Dogs
- Socializing/Petting Cats
- Dog Training
- Animal transport
- Clinic assistant
- Providing love and encouragement for all the animals at the shelter
- Community outreach
- Housekeeping: cleaning, laundry, organizing storage
- Special Events
- Mobile Adoptions
Foster Homes for animals with special needs are also an important program of most shelters. Dogs who are shy or fearful, pregnant doggies, and those with behavior issues all need care and attention best provided in a home situation. Of course, you’ll need to carefully consider how adding a new (and temporary) family member may impact your household. However, in addition to helping the foster animal, your own dog may benefit from a new friend, your children may expand their understanding of animals in need and you are sure to find yourself smiling a little more than usual.