Posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Volunteering At Your Local Pet Shelter


While walking through an animal shelter can be a heartbreaking experience, it’s also a place of hope. New dogs and cats are adopted every day and brought to caring homes they would never have otherwise found. For this reason, animal shelters are among the most important local services in your town and community. Perhaps you’re a high school student looking for volunteer opportunities or a college kid in search of internships – even an individual looking to do some good for his or her community will find welcoming friends (canine, feline and human!) at the local animal shelter.


The first step may be just finding an animal shelter in your area. While you can always ask around – perhaps you know someone who adopted his or her dog from a local establishment – the internet is also an excellent resource. A site like PetFinder.com helps potential pet parents find dog and cat matches every day, but it’s also a fantastic way to discover volunteer opportunities. So, once you’ve found a local rescue shelter in need of assistance, how can you help out? Consider these options.

1. Dog walking. If there’s one essential truth of dog ownership, it’s that your pet will need plenty of walking. Shelter dogs aren’t any different, so many rescue shelters are more than willing to have volunteers take the dogs on walks. Most shelters have rules about volunteers handling animals, so be sure to abide by them.

2. Cleaning and office work. Too young or inexperienced to walk dogs? Some shelters are more stringent than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help out. DoSomething.org suggests a variety of helpful rescue shelter opportunities, from basic office work to cleaning cages. Maybe you’ll even get to take photos of dogs and cats in need of homes and post them online.

3. Collecting donations. There are many people out there who would love to donate but may not have the time to bring it to the shelter. You can offer your time to round up donations from businesses or other organizations who have already pledged gifts. Alternatively you can seek out more people who are willing to donate cleaning or other pet supplies or plan a fundraiser.

4. Adopt a pet. For adults, the greatest way you can help out is to take a dog or cat home with you. Shelters have limited resources and plenty of pets cycling in and out. There’s always one, though likely many, who will steal your heart. Pet adoption is a major commitment and not one to be taken lightly, but it may also save a life.

Are you already a volunteer at your local shelter?  Tell us how you help out!

This content post is brought to you by the pet experts at Hartz.