When most people think of getting a pet, they think of animal shelters (at least I hope they
do). But what happens after you get your new pet? It can be easy to forget or not think
of shelters often, but these places are still operating — some struggling to stay open — and could really use your help.
There are many ways to help out your local animal shelter.
Why Do Shelters Need Volunteers?
Animals keep being found or dropped off at shelters. Some of these animals may have been
born on the streets or became separated from their owners, and the people at the shelter
work to better the lives of these animals.
New arrivals need to be checked, cleaned, evaluated and cared for until a new home can be
found. Scanners are needed to search for microchips, a dog may need to be potty trained
and so many more tasks are essential to helping our animal companions. Running a
shelter takes two very important things: money and people. This is where you come in.
7 Benefits of Volunteering at a Shelter
1. Meet new friends. You will be surrounded by people who love animals as much as you do, and
they might even become your lifelong friends. This widens your social circle and
incorporates compassionate people who share your interest in helping animals. Guinea
pigs, rabbits and even birds end up in shelters, so you’ll also learn about other animals too.
2. Your efforts will help an animal get ready and increase its chances for a new home. Animals
coming into the shelter vary according to their needs. A feral cat may need to be
socialized, a dog may have mats to remove or a guinea pig may be underweight. Animals
that appear happy and healthy have a higher chance of being adopted, and
shelters need your help to achieve this.
3. Boost your mood — and your health. Volunteering gives us a sense of satisfaction for helping
others, can lower stress, make you feel needed and appreciated, increase happiness and so
much more. A study reported on in Natural Health magazine in 2007 showed that 95
percent of volunteers surveyed said they gained a “helper’s high” — a feeling of euphoria and
energy. Volunteering truly is a feel-good activity, and what better way to spend the day than
with cuddly and furry friends?