If you're a dog lover, chances are you've often felt terribly sad when thinking about dogs in shelters. No doubt, you've felt worse when thinking about the dogs that are still in bad situations and haven't received help yet. If you're interested in giving back and trying to help out these animals, you should think about volunteering to help dogs?
When most people think of volunteering to help dogs, they think about the people cleaning kennels and walking dogs at animal shelters. Although this is a great way to help out, there are many other ways to participate in volunteering with dogs.
Think of your strengths and what you really enjoy doing? Maybe you're into fitness and you'd enjoy walking dogs or taking them swimming or for hikes. Perhaps you enjoy photography. Do you like to organize things? Whatever skills you have, there is always a way to use them to give back.
Let's Talk: Volunteering To Help Dogs
Check your local shelter or rescue organization
This is certainly the most obvious way of volunteering to help dogs. Rescues and shelters need lots of volunteers for many different reasons. Again, start with your skills and the things your enjoy most and see if they can be put to good use at your local animal shelter.
Volunteers may be needed to:
- Walk to the dogs
- Play with the dogs
- Help with cleaning tasks
- Answer phones or do simple administrative tasks such as photocopying or typing
- Transport animals to and from veterinary appointments
RELATED: Take Your Dog to Work Day: Building Awareness of Shelter Dogs
A quick trip to a shelter or rescue organization in your area will answer any questions that you may have. If you are just interested in giving back and working with the animals, they'll probably be able to get you on their volunteer schedule quickly. If you're only looking to do one particular job, like dog walking, they may just add your name to their volunteer list and get back to you when there is a spot available.
Become a foster parent
Did you know that shelters all over the country are looking for foster families to take in animals until a permanent home can be found? Shelters fill up quickly, and what happens to dogs and cats they have to turn away when they don't have any more room? That's where foster families come in!
If you become a foster parent for dogs, you'll be helping two dogs at once. You'll be giving one dog a loving home and you'll be freeing up a spot in the shelter to bring another dog in off the streets. It's a win-win.
For more information on how to become a foster parent for dogs and what you should expect when signing up for the job, check out our article on the subject.
One of the easiest ways of volunteering to help dogs is to gather donations for non-profit animal welfare organizations in your area. The first thing that probably came to your mind just now is donations of pet supplies. This is a great idea, but not the only one.
You could certainly organize a pet food drive or think of a way to collect donations like linens, cleaning supplies or pet toys that your local shelter could use. You could also organize an event to raise money for the animal welfare organization of your choice, like your local ASPCA chapter or the Humane Society in your area.
RELATED: Top 10 Ideas for Homemade Dog Toys
There are charity walks happening regularly in every region. You could look for sponsors and join one these walks to help earn a cash donation for the organization holding the event. You could also encourage family members and friends to participate in these walks as well.
Encouraging your children to give back is a great value to teach them at any age. Many children ask for pet supplies or monetary donations instead of presents at their birthday parties. They then donate the money or items to the organization of their choice.
You don't need to purchase items or donate money. Shelters and rescue organizations will appreciate homemade supplies just as much as store-bought goods. You could try making homemade dog toys, dog beds or even dog houses. These products could be used in shelters or given away with pets when they are donated. Homemade dog houses could be donated to pets in your area who spend most of their time outside.
Do you have a special skill?
Maybe you have a special skill that could be used for volunteering to help dogs. Do you enjoy baking? You could create homemade dog treats for local animal welfare organizations in your community.
Do you have a talent for photography? You could volunteer to take photos of the animals at your local shelter and any of the animals they have placed in foster homes. The more you can spice up the photos, the more likely they are to be noticed on the organization's website or on social media.
Is your skill just a big love for dogs? That will work too! Shelters and rescues may need someone to help with basic behavioral training, play with the dogs or just hang out and help to socialize the animals. You never know until you check with the organizations in your area. If you've got a big heart and you're interested in volunteering to help dogs, I'm sure they'll find a job for you!
Your dog can volunteer too!
Think of how great you feel after an afternoon of volunteering to help dogs. Wouldn't it be nice to share that feeling with your canine companion? Well, you can! Your dog can volunteer to help other dogs by donating his blood.
We all know that human blood is always needed, but did you know that canine blood is needed too? There are veterinary blood banks located all over the country, and your dog may be able to donate blood to help other pets in need. Just like humans, canines sometimes need blood transfusions too, and if there is no blood available, that won't be possible.
You can talk to your veterinarian about blood donation. They'll need to check your pup out first, and they may even take donations right there. If not, they can probably tell you where you can go to donate. Why not make giving back to dogs in need a family affair?