VoluVolunteering with Animals

Do you love animals?  Are you interested in finding ways to help animals that may have been neglected, abused, or simply forgotten by the rest of the world?

If so, consider volunteering your time at an animal hospital or shelter. Many shelters, animal hospitals and veterinarians' offices need volunteers to help with day-to-day duties like cleaning out cages and pens, walking dogs, feeding animals, giving pets attention, and more.

If you're an adult and you have training and experience, you might be asked to take on more involved responsibilities like assisting with medical procedures, rehab, or office work.

One of the things that people find so rewarding about volunteering their time to work with animals is the wonderful feeling they get from helping animals that can't help themselves. Our world can be a cruel, frightening place to pets and other animals who have been abused or neglected by humans.  It only takes one caring person to give needed  comfort and reassurance to a sick or lonely animal.

Another way to help is by fostering or adopting an unwanted animal. It's an unfortunate fact that there are millions of abandoned pets in the United States, and many of them will be euthanized if they can't be placed in a loving home.

If you can take on one of these animals, you'll probably find a loving companion. Just be aware that abandoned or unwanted animals can have serious health or behavioral problems, and might be too much work if you're not home during the day or you have small children in the house.

There are many ways you can make a real difference in the lives of pets and other animals in your community. You could volunteer to walk dogs for a local shelter or animal rescue facility. You could help organize fundraising events, or put together educational and promotional mailings to help spread the word about this worthwhile activity.

Zoos, nature centers and wildlife preserves also rely on volunteers to help in a variety of tasks. Zoo volunteers, for example, often help in the preparation of animal meals, in cleaning out enclosures and animal habitats, and in giving vaccinations and other duties in the clinic or office. Volunteers also lend a hand in speaking to visitors and educating young people about wild animals. One way to get started is call your city zoo or nature center and inquire about their volunteer programs.

Another option that allows you to make a difference not only in a pets life, but a humans as well, is to become a volunteer at a hospice by providing pet therapy to the residents there. Dogs, cats, and other pets can provide great joy, solice and companionship to people who are going through the last stage of their life. This usually requires an animal that has been therapy-certified, so check with a hospice in your area to find out how you can enroll yourself an your pet in this rewarding process.

No matter which of the above options sounds appealing, get involved! Call an animal hospital, zoo or shelter in your area. Contact your local branch of the Humane Society or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. See if they need help, or can steer you to an organization that does. But get out there and help an animal in need. You'll be glad you did!

If this type of volunteer work sounds like something you'd like to get involved in, and you want to make a difference in an animal's life, you might want to visit the Fight Cruelty To Animals website for more information. Another option is to check out the Volunteermatch website to see what positions are available in your community.

Another good resource for helping animals in no kill shelters is the Best Friends Animal Society. Check out their website for more ways you can help pets and other animals.



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