Volunteering for Pets: How to Make the Biggest Impact

Most of us are pretty time poor so it is important to find the most impactful way to give your time. We’ve done a bit of research for you so that you can do good and do more for your fellow furry friends. It’s one less thing to hold you back from donating your time to the ones who give their love to us unconditionally!

Below you’ll find a few recommendations on how to maximise your efforts but every shelter, Veterinarian and rescue is different so always make sure to ask how you can be most helpful to them! Also remember physically volunteering isn’t the only way to help.

Help Raise Awareness

The voiceless are often the ones who need the most help. Local shelters, fosters and rescues could always use help spreading the word about a new animal who needs rescuing or an event they are putting on to increase adoption rates. Many have ongoing programs or charities which they could use a hand with as well. With the click of a button, you could generate several hundreds of extra views on social media posts or email campaigns. You never know who is looking to add another family member to the crew or who has some spare change to donate!

Clear up Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions about adopting animals and all it takes is one person to change the opinion of another to save a life! Here are a few you can spread the word about:

  • The myth: Pets in shelters have behavioral issues and that is why they’re there in the first place.”  The truth: Animals end up in shelters for various reasons and in many cases, it is due to the carelessness or misfortune of their owners. People get sick or pass away, families separate, people move to new homes, or new pet owners take on a bigger responsibility than they’re ready for – none of which reflect on a pet’s temperament or behavior.
  • The myth: “Shelters don’t have any puppies, only old sick dogs.” The truth: The smallest animals admitted to a shelter usually require more attention and care than their older counterparts so they are sometimes looked after by fosters until they are ready for adoption. That means you may not always see them at first. You can usually ask the shelter for information about puppies or kittens and they’ll be happy to assist. But while you’re at it, offer a reminder that older pets often come with advantages so stay open-minded.
  • The myth: “Shelters will make me go through a long adoption process before I can bring a new pet home.” The truth: Just like you and everyone else, shelter staff don’t want to see a pet go to the wrong home where they’ll end up back where they came from or worse. So while they will take the time to ensure you’re the right fit for the new pet, they usually go through the other long processes for you so you can start your new life together sooner! Shelter dogs are usually vaccinated, microchipped and spayed for neutered before they’re adopted so it actually may save you hassle in the end.
  •  The myth: “The shelter won’t have the purebred dog I want.” The truth: While the shelter may not have exactly what you’re looking for every time, they do have about 25% purebred pets come in and out of shelters. That is one in every four pets. Also, they’re often paired with a breed-specific rescue to assist with the animal to save space for other pets in the shelter. If you’re not open to mixed breeds or other breeds, contact a breed-specific rescue and they are likely to be able to help!
  • The myth: “All shelter animals are sick.” The truth: This one is probably the worst and most frustrating misconceptions of all! Many shelters require a vet to clear a pet before they are put up for adoption, thus catching things like worms, infections, parasites, and other potential ailments.

Physically Volunteer in a Shelter, Rescue or Animal Protection Organization

This one isn’t for everyone since it requires time and physical ability, but it is one of the more helpful and rewarding ways to help. Your time could be spent doing anything from walking pets to stuffing envelopes or assisting with an event. You might even find yourself cleaning out pens or feeding the animals. The thing to remember is every little bit helps! You might even make a few new friends while you’re at it. For more information on where you can help, visit www.volunteermatch.org or theshelterpetproject.org/shelters.