Volunteering at an animal shelter is one of the best things that a person can do. Providing love, care, and comfort for animals in need benefits all involved. Animals give unconditional love and adoration to their humans, and being able to repay them for these gifts is the least that we can do. By knowing beforehand what to expect when volunteering at an animal shelter, potential volunteers can make the most of their experience and be of service in the best way possible for the shelter animals. Here are some things to keep in mind.
There are many different roles for volunteers to fill at an animal shelter. People might help by socializing kittens, walking dogs, cleaning stalls, filling envelopes, answering phones, working off-site at adoption events, transporting animals to the vet, fundraising, being a foster parent, running social media accounts, and so much more. It is important to choose a position that you are both good at and that you enjoy, as that will increase your commitment to the animals. With so many volunteer options available, there is a way for everyone to help.
Animal shelters generally require volunteers to attend training events for the volunteer position that they will be filling. For example, if you will be taking care of neonatal kittens, it is vital to receive the proper training in caring for these newborns. If you are working at adoption events, it is essential that you know the animal shelter’s policies for prospective adoptive families. Not only does training benefit the human volunteer and give guidance for proper care and best practices, but it protects the animals and ensures that they are treated humanely and compassionately. Training guarantees that everyone is on the same page with regard to the shelter and its animals.
Animals are sentient beings, and they benefit from a continuity of care from the same people. For this reason, almost all animal shelters require that volunteers make a specific time commitment to fulfill their volunteering duties. Some shelters require that volunteers serve a minimum number of days per week, whereas some shelters expect a certain number of hours. All shelters will ask for a six month to one year commitment. Remember: it’s for the benefit of the animals!