People who love pets may constantly be looking for opportunities to invest in working with pets. Fortunately, there are plenty of chances to supervise, play with and support animals by volunteering in your community.

Basic Requirements

In order to be a volunteer at many organizations, there are certain basic requirements expected of all volunteer applicants. For example, at the Human Society, volunteers must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Attend an initial orientation meeting.
  • Have a willingness to do whatever is needed (even if it is not their first choice).
  • Commit a minimum of 6 hours a week for the first 6 months.
  • Make firm commitments to be available at the agreed upon time.

Further to these, obviously the volunteer would ideally have no pet or pet product allergies, no aversions to any specific breed, and would not be pregnant.

Volunteer Opportunities For Pet-Lovers

Volunteering in rescue homes: For animal lovers, working at a rescue home would be a dream come true. If you are considering devoting some of your time to the care of animals, here are some of the tasks you could volunteer for at a rescue home or pet shelter.

  • Animal bathing: In this role volunteers would need a minimum of hours logged as a volunteer before working as a bather. This task is helpful as it keeps dogs healthy and clean while being considered for adoption.
  • Animal care and socializing: Sitting with the available dogs, playing with them and being a stable presence greatly allows animals to be more emotionally well-adjusted. This kind of volunteer work is often the most popular, as it involves direct contact with the pets, and it greatly furthers the likelihood that an animal will be adopted if he is well socialized.
  • Animal exercising: Shelters also need responsible individuals to take the pets out for a daily walk to improve their wellness and keep them calm and relaxed through the day.
  • Nail and grooming assistance: Volunteers in this sector might offer support to groomers by clipping long nails. Additionally when if the shelter ever offers events for visitors, the volunteer would sign people in, get information about the animals and their owners, and help oversee the smooth running of the clinic.
  • Medical services: When the veterinarians offer health clinics or exams, the volunteers would support their work, process new patients, and in some cases help provide treatments. (One example would include “Kindest Cut” through the Animal Humane Society, which offers inexpensive neutering and spraying services.)
  • Matchmaking: When people visit the home in search of a pet, matchmakers help by finding out what kind of animal the person is looking for, and which animal there might best suit them.
  • Adoption Preparation: These volunteers work with animals who have been assessed by behaviorists, that might struggle with fear or shyness. Providing this kind of service helps prepare an animal’s smooth adjustment to his home.
  • Website Pet Profiles Support: When new animals come to the shelter, many organizations also put up a summary about the pet’s past, personality, and some photos that help the pet put their best paw forward. Volunteers write about the animal and help by taking appealing photos of them on their online database or affiliated adoption site.
  • Organization and Administration: This is not as hands-on as other tasks, but rescue homes and shelters appreciate support from volunteers working the front desk, answering phones, and arranging schedules, etc.
  • Special Events: This could be anything from helping at adoption fairs, supporting therapy pet visits to senior living facilities, or school trips for animals, animal-petting pens for special needs children, etc.

Other volunteer opportunities & animal programs:

  • Community outreach and social justice awareness for animal protection issues (boycotting puppy mills by informing local pet shops of the dangers, volunteering in educating kids during after-school programs, and community youth programs.)
  • Aquatic training and pet rehab projects
  • Wildlife conservation projects
  • Farm animal protection
  • Fostering pets (Volunteers can take their involvement to the next level by offering to foster pets in need of good homes while there are waiting to be adopted. For an animal-lover, there are plenty of reasons to foster a pet.)