Getting Paid in Tail-Wags: Volunteering at Your Local Animal Shelter
There are very few experiences in life that are quite as fulfilling as those done from the heart. Volunteering encourages personal happiness and well-being, provides valuable services that might not otherwise get done, and increases the impact of meaningful mission-based organizations.
In the United States, 2,000 to 3,000 puppies and kittens are born every hour. That averages out to more than 30 million animals a year. Sadly, only one in ten of these animals will find a forever home.
Animal rescues and shelters are overwhelmed by the sheer number of animals requiring shelter and veterinary care. This is why they depend on volunteers to assist in a wide range of roles, including educating the public about the importance of spaying/neutering their pets and the benefits of adopting vs. buying a pet.
Volunteering means so much more than simply cleaning kennels or walking dogs (although, these are great ways to help, too!). Realistically, animal shelters require volunteers to be able to save lives.
Since most nonprofit shelters and rescues rely on grants, municipal support, donations, and pro bono services via veterinarians and other professionals, volunteers provide the hands-on support required for a shelter to operate.
And, there are many personal advantages and perks to rolling up your sleeves as a volunteer, too.
- You get the satisfaction of making a difference! Education and outreach are key components of reducing the number of homeless pets. When you take the time to teach youth and adults about the importance of spaying and neutering, or introduce a shelter dog to someone who might have otherwise purchased a pet, you make an incredible difference in saving the lives of animals and providing a voice for the “voiceless” as an animal advocate.
- You’ll meet new friends who care about animals. One of the beautiful aspects of volunteering is that it is a social event, often connecting those who share the same interests and passions (in this case, whiskers and paws). If you’ve been feeling like your social life needs a re-charge, or are considering ways to widen your circle of friends and acquaintances, volunteering is a fabulous way to socialize while providing an invaluable service. It’s also a great way to network with those involved in the veterinary medicine and animal welfare sectors.
- You’ll learn a ton of new skills. Attention prospective veterinarians and vet techs! Calling all animal lovers desiring to improve employability or general skills! Need to improve your confidence in front of a group? Love to take photographs? Interested in web design or bookkeeping? There are unlimited opportunities to lend a hand at a shelter or rescue while developing new talents.
- You’ll provide comfort and happiness to animals. When you take the time to share your attention, care, and compassion with a shelter animal, you offer comfort in ways that cannot be expressed in words. There’s nothing like individual attention in the form of a walk, a back stroke, or a reassuring hug to make these deserving animals feel better.
- And, you’ll feel better. Studies have shown that playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. Interacting with a pet also has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve overall mood. And, there’s no doctor bill!
If you are interested in becoming a dedicated volunteer, there are many wonderful animal nonprofits and rescues in the Naperville area that are doing good work. Interested in adopting a new friend or have recently adopted? Your Springbrook team welcomes your questions about pet adoption and how to create optimal wellness for your newly adopted cat, dog, or other pet.
Thanks for being a friend to animals!
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