Are you a dog lover who is looking to make a difference in the lives of animals and in your community? Your local animal shelter needs volunteers like you to help carry out its mission. It is estimated that shelters take in more than 3,000,000 dogs each year. Volunteers make an enormous positive impact at the shelter by donating their time, labor, and skills. It’s likely that you have what it takes to help out in some way at your local facility.
Exercise and Grooming
Opportunities exist for volunteers to have direct contact with the dogs in the shelter. Daily exercise is a must for any animal that will be spending the majority of each day inside an enclosure. Taking dogs for a walk around the shelter’s grounds helps meet this need, and it helps socialize the animal, too. Some shelters have fenced areas for dogs to freely explore, run, and play with other dogs, toys, and balls. Volunteers supervise and engage with them in this kind of setting. Volunteers also provide assistance with grooming. Whether they’re brushing coats or bathing dogs alongside staff, volunteers are an invaluable resource. Their knowledge of individual dogs is another asset to the shelter. Once regular volunteers have become familiar with the animals there, they are able to help match up dogs with families searching for a new pet. One of the greatest rewards for volunteers is to see the dogs they’ve worked with find their forever home.
Keeping it Clean
Maintaining a safe, clean environment at the shelter is a tremendous undertaking. It takes hours to clean cages, mop floors, sanitize surfaces, launder rags, and sterilize equipment. Plenty of chores need attention outside the facility, as well. Volunteers help with the upkeep of landscaping and dog run areas. Sometimes, help is needed with assembling cages and building storage units. Some animal shelters include a clinic where medical procedures are performed. Volunteers help in caring for the equipment and instruments used here. Let’s not forget the time it takes to feed and water all of the animals living at the shelter! The work required to keep a shelter going calls for volunteers with all types of skills and abilities. If you have the time and want to make a difference, the shelter will have something for you to do.
Many people don’t realize the opportunities for volunteer work that take place off the premises of the shelter. Assistance is needed with special events in the community at which the shelter hosts an informational booth. Adoption events may also be held away from the shelter. Do you have a vehicle that could easily transport a caged dog to an event like this or to an appointment with a vet? If your vehicle is small, you could still help by picking up donated supplies. While most volunteer opportunities are for adults and older children, young children can still make a difference for the shelter. All ages can be involved by helping with raising funds and collecting supplies.
You’ll find that the majority of animal shelters post information regarding volunteer opportunities on their websites. Many of them include applications for prospective volunteers and detailed information about the specific needs of the shelter. Check your local shelter’s website or give them a call to find out how you can begin making a difference today!