There are many reasons you may want to get started volunteering at the Local Animal Shelter e.g. meet new people, develop new skills, experience the satisfaction of community service, acquire work experience, etc. Volunteering at an animal shelter can be a great overall experience.
Wondering how to get started? This guide will help you, so read on!
1. Finding the Volunteering Opportunity Near You
Finding a local animal shelter is quite easy as all you need to do is conduct a Google Search for ‘[your town name] animal shelter’, etc. With these searches, you will easily find the website of a local animal shelter. Otherwise, this will at least list the contact information of a shelter in your area. If you find the website, look for a volunteer page. These pages usually contain contact information which you can use to reach out to them in order to get started as a volunteer. Some animal shelters have online applications. If that is the case, then you can fill the application to get started.
2. Learning About the Available Volunteer Positions
After contacting the shelter, you should begin to learn about the types of available volunteer positions. Depending on the shelter, you could be assigned one of these jobs:
- Animal Transport Volunteer: Driving animals between shelter and clinic.
- Surgery Support Volunteer: Staying with animals after they wake up from surgery. Making sure that pet owners have all the required information for post-surgery care.
- Training Class Assistant: Helping run the dog training classes provided by the animal shelter.
- Kennel Assistant: Cleaning the kennel, feeding the animals, and providing walks/exercise for the animals.
- Adoption Liaison: Assisting potential adopters via the adoption process (filling out paperwork, meeting animals, etc.)
- Many other positions may be available depending on the organization.
3. Learning About the Requirements
The next step involves learning about the requirements that your local shelter may have. You can usually learn about the requirements on the volunteer page of the website or by contacting them via phone. Generally, most shelters only allow volunteers who are at least 16 years old or older. Some shelters require the volunteer to be at least 18 years old to do certain jobs e.g. animal transport. Most shelters make the volunteers commit to at least a few months of volunteering, but this will vary from organization to organization. The shelter or rescue invests resource and time training volunteers, so they want to make sure the volunteers are committed. Some shelters have physical requirements for certain positions so make sure to learn about those as well. You need will contact your local humane society or local shelter to ask about their specific volunteer requirements.
4. Applying to Volunteer
Visit the website of the animal shelter and fill out the volunteer application. They will contact you via phone or email to set up a mandatory orientation appointment. Expect to learn all the policies, rules, and standard operating procedures
Bonus Tip: Consider Animal Fostering
Many animal rescue centers or shelters struggle with space to house and take care of many of the animals. This is where animal fostering comes in if you have space and resources you can apply to be a foster and take animals in on a temporary basis while they are waiting to be placed with there permanent adoptive families. Fostering and caring for them is extremely beneficial in the rehabilitation process that many rescue animals need. So be sure to ask about fostering programs with your local shelter/rescues if you think you would be interested.
Whatever your reasons for