By Dr. Chris Carpenter of Vet Set Go
There are a variety of ways animal lovers can help animals and rescue programs in need. In fact, there are volunteer opportunities available all around the world. For those wondering how to get involved, check out the suggestions below and see how you can help the animals in your community.
- Become a Foster
Most shelters or animal rescue groups need people who can foster pets. As a foster, you will keep a dog or cat in your home and care for them until they are adopted. Usually, you will be asked to take them to adoption events as well as vet appointments. Some of the animals may have just had major surgery and need someone to care for them more than can be done in a normal shelter. Vet costs are usually completely covered by the shelter you’re helping.
- Volunteer at a Pet Adoption Event
Most shelters and rescue organizations have a pet adoption event on a monthly or weekly basis. These are usually held at a local pet store, dog park or area where a large crowd will be. They are always needing people to help walk the dog and talk with people about potentially adopting the pets they have. This is a fun way to spend the day helping animals.
- Transport Animals
Some rescue organizations will take animals from shelters and find them a rescue in a different state to take them to until they find a permanent home. Many of these are breed-specific rescue groups. These pets are usually transported with the help of volunteers. Sometimes people will drive the whole way to the new place and sometimes just part of the way. If you are up for a road trip, this would be a great way to help pets.
Some shelters need help transporting animals locally. This may be to a vet appointment or from the shelter to an adoption event. So if a long road trip is not possible there may be some short commutes you can help with.
- Become a Board Member
While many people love playing and spending time with the pet, there is always a need for the person behind the scenes organizing the events. If you have great organization and leadership skills becoming a board member of your local shelter would be a terrific way to help animals. Shelters are always needing people to help with the planning, setting up and breaking down of an event.
- Volunteer at Local Shelters
Shelters are always in need of volunteers for daily tasks. They need people who are willing to walk dogs, feed them, change cat litter boxes and just play with the animals. With more volunteers, the animals are able to spend more time out of their cage. This is an easy and rewarding way to get involved.
- Animal-Therapy Programs
Animal-therapy programs are when you take your dog to a nursing home, schools or hospitals for your dog to visit with people who are sick or stressed students during finals. Recently some animal therapy dogs have been seen visiting people in airports. Your pet will have to undergo training before they are allowed to visit these places. With the right dog, this is a great way to give back to your community.
- Become a Community Ambassador
If you’re an active member of your community then you should definitely consider becoming a community ambassador for your local shelters. Community ambassadors help out by posting signs and letting people know about upcoming events happening in your community. You can share information on adoption events or specific adoptable pets through your personal social media outlets as well. As a community ambassador, your goal is to simply get the word out on all important happenings at your local rescue.
- Take Photos For Shelters
If photography is a hobby of yours, taking photos for shelters social media pages would be a great help. Many pets can be very shy and need someone who can spend some time with them for their personalities to shine. Capturing this personality on the camera will aid in helping them get adopted sooner.
- Zoo Volunteer Opportunities
Your local zoo may have some opportunities for you to help. You will not be able to pet the lions and tigers but there is always a need for a volunteer at the local zoos handing out brochures, helping people find their way, or teaching people about the animals.
- Start a Fundraiser for Donations
Shelters and rescue organizations are always in need of donations. They usually rely only on money donated to them. Starting a fundraiser to help with donations will greatly help the shelter or rescue group. This is a great way to get involved if you’re too busy to go to the shelter or volunteer at events. You can set a fundraiser up online and bring the money you make to the shelter of your choice when your schedule allows.
There are many different ways you can volunteer your time to help with animals. Find the perfect match for your skill and you will really enjoy helping all the rescue groups and shelters in your community. You will find by just giving some of your time that you receive so many thanks from the pets that you have helped.
As you can see there are plenty of ways you can work with animals. Whether you’re interested in becoming a veterinary volunteer or simply looking to help animals and rescues in need, you can easily find a way to do so. Check with your local shelters and organizations for more ways you can help animals in need.