Volunteers are the heart of any animal shelter, providing support, care, and helping hands for homeless animals. If you are looking into volunteering at your local shelter, here are some things you can expect.
You will want to save every single living creature that walks through the door. You will encounter sick, scared, injured, animals and want to corral them all into your car and take them home. As a volunteer, it is important to remember that you are doing what you can within your limits to get the animals veterinarian care and human comfort. Everyday people will come to the shelter looking for a new family member. You can save animals by introducing people to dogs, cats, birds, and whatever other kind of animal you house. Even before the adoption process begins, you play an integral role in the animals’ lives. Depending on which shelter you volunteer at, your duties can include feeding the animals and making sure they have plenty of water throughout the day. A cage can be small and lonely for a dog of any size, so time outside to walk and play can make all of the difference for a shelter dog. Some facilities will ask you to walk the dogs or play with the animals in specific areas. Be careful to follow all rules and regulations to ensure you follow proper procedures and keep the animals safe. You might be asked to aid in training and socializing the animals. This will give the animals a greater opportunity to get adopted and give the animals their best chance at finding a forever home.
It can’t be sugar-coated: you will see things that are upsetting. Animals will enter the facility sick, malnourished, abused, sad, and angry. You will see first-hand how cruel human beings can be to animals. But hope is never truly lost when you volunteer. In many cases, the damage goes further than the surface. Your care and compassion can help these animals understand that they are worthy of love and that not all humans are unkind. Previously unwanted dogs will find solace in the shelter and be one step closer to happiness. You won’t be able to save every single dog on your own. Veterinarians, animal trainers, and community members work together with volunteers to create safe environments for animals and to promote adoption efforts.
Volunteering will give you many opportunities for growth. Working with the animals directly will give you insight into canine and feline behavior, training techniques, and veterinarian medicine. Office tasks are commonly performed by volunteers, helping you gain skills in paperwork, organization, and facility policies. As a volunteer, you will become a more thoughtful, active member of society with a deeper understanding of animal cruelty and laws regarding animals. Ask questions! Your supervisors will want you to learn and grow as a volunteer and an animal lover. The skills you gain through volunteering will stay with you outside of the facility.
Contact your local shelter today to find out more about the volunteer application process and the duties of a volunteer.