There’s much more to volunteering at an animal shelter than simply cleaning cages and feeding cats—you can really make a difference. Approximately 12,000 animal welfare organizations around the country are poorly staffed with a scant few professionals at each shelter, and so they rely heavily on volunteers to work tirelessly to find lost, abandoned and abused pets forever homes. Want to get involved? Follow this guide to learn how you can help on an ongoing basis.
Become a Foster Cat Parent
There are many shelters that actually don't operate out of designated premises, and rely on volunteers to foster animals in their own homes. Typically, foster cat parents are provided with basic necessities like food and medication. However, if you plan on fostering, you will need to make special preparations in your home to give your foster pet the best care. Often this means setting aside a room and keeping foster pets apart from the rest of the animals in your household. This separation allows the cats to settle in and adapt to your warm loving environment. It also ensures that your own pets are not exposed to any health risks.
Fostering is a wonderfully beneficial way to help felines. Cats that have been in a nurturing foster care environment tend to thrive and ultimately are much easier to place in forever homes.
Putting your Chosen Career, Hobbies and Passions to Work
Organizations and groups that do have premises often need assistance in a variety of ways so think about your unique skill set and how you can put it to use at your local animal welfare facility.
- Accountant and bookkeepers can volunteer to help keeping financial records
- Lawyers can offer services to resolve any legal issues
- Carpenters/painters/handymen are typically welcome to help with regular maintenance to ensure the premises are safe and secure
- Welfare groups need additional funds on an on-going basis and, if you have connections or an outgoing personality, consider getting on the phone or strategies on methods to raise money
- Event planners who can work alongside fund-raisers can help plan events to draw awareness and raise funds
- If you have media connections, or, are particularly adept at social media, you can help run the group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts
- Photographers are always welcomed as its been proved that good photographs of pets up for adoption play an important role in finding them the right homes
- If you have artistic or graphic design skills, there are always posters and flyers to be designed
- Mothers who have connections with their children’s PTA groups can bring awareness into the classroom and organize food drives and bake sales
- If you are particularly computer savvy you can help run the office and offer to assist with any basic paperwork that needs to be filed
- If you have “powers of persuasion” consider taking on a role in contacting product manufacturers to ask for donations for in-need items like cleaning materials or specific pet supplies—after all, someone has to make the call!
- If you are a pilot, consider joining Pilots n Paws, a group that flies rescued animals to forever homes wherever they may be in the country using their personal planes
- If you enjoy knitting, a shelter can never have too many blankets or, you can knit items that can be sold to raise money
- Many animal rescue groups run charity shops and are always looking for staff
- Shelter always value any time you can donate to help with grooming animals, cleaning cages, walking and feeding