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Top Reasons to Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

Make a difference in your community and help animals!

cat and woman


Interested in making a difference in your community? One of the best places to volunteer may be right near you: an animal shelter or animal protection organization.

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Whether you walk dogs at your shelter, stuff envelopes for an educational mailing or assist with a fundraising event, you can make a difference in the lives of animals.

Here are just a few of the benefits of volunteering:

1. Be part of the solution. You'll join a network of hundreds of thousands of people working to make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures. You'll make the jobs of everyone working for animals a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection.

2. Get warm fuzzies. You'll never find a more grateful and accepting comrade than an animal you've comforted.

Want to be an HSUS volunteer? Learn more!

3. Keep good company. You'll make lots of new friends—and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.

4. Meet the new you. You'll discover skills you never knew you had, and you may be surprised at what you're capable of achieving.

5. Gain a new career. You'll learn things that may lead you to the career—or career change—of your dreams. Employers and college admissions officers look favorably on time spent in volunteer service. More on careers with animals »

6. Enjoy a wagging tail, a purr, and a smile. Didn't someone once say that the best things in life are free?

How to find volunteer opportunities

To find out more about other volunteer opportunities in your community, visit www.volunteermatch.org, where many groups post opportunities. You can search by term (i.e. “animals”) and your ZIP code to find organizations near you.

If you still don't find something that is convenient, you should also contact your local humane society, animal rescue, or animal shelter to offer your services. To locate those local groups, please visit the Shelter Pet Project, enter your ZIP code, and click "search".

Contact each group to find out what opportunities exist. Most organizations involved in direct animal care use volunteers for a variety of tasks, and you might be able to walk dogs, give attention to cats and rabbits, feed baby birds, etc. You may be able to foster animals in your own home temporarily until they can be adopted out permanently.

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