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Volunteering at a Shelter Can be a Family Thing!

Shelters rely on volunteers to not only help run the operations but to be a voice for the animals in the shelter.

It’s so important to have volunteers that can routinely tackle tasks like grooming, walking or bathing animals, prepare animals for adoption, assist in examining wounded or neglected animals, or just loving on animals who desperately need a hug!

There are opportunities outside of the shelter that your whole family can get behind. You can help at a fundraiser or foster a dog in your home.

Aussie with sunglasses
PC: @lillytheaussie

Who can volunteer in your family?

There is a job for everyone! From fostering a dog in your home where everyone can contribute to the care of the dog to shopping for supplies on the shelter’s wish list, each member of your family can help!

Preschool kids – While preschoolers may be too young to help at the shelter, they can pick out toys and gear! Take them to a local pet supply store and let them pick out toys, collars, leashes, and blankets. Check out our ultimate shelter checklist to help you shop! While you’re shopping, it’s a good time to talk about the dogs you’re helping.

Adorable puppies with leashes.
PC: @thestandard

School-aged children – Kids are eager to learn and follow in their parents footsteps. Start early by showing them a few ways they can help. Your child can start a “Coins for Kittens” collection in his room or start a dog walking or pet sitting service in the neighborhood and collect donations for the shelter in the process. Other ways may be to color posters about adopting dogs and put them up around the neighborhood.

Teenagers – Most shelters will have an age limit on volunteering in the shelter. It’s around 16, but some allow for children ages 12-15 to volunteer under the supervision of an adult. Check your local shelter to find out what their age limit is. Teenagers are great at giving baths, walking dogs, and playing fetch. They can even create a donation box at their school to collect supplies to donate.

The whole family – Adopt a dog! What better way to show support for your local shelter than to give a dog a loving home! If that commitment is too great, consider fostering a dog. Often these are temporary and it will leave room in the shelter for other dogs.

Is there a process?

Yes. Although shelters have different processes, there are still guidelines and best practices that most adhere to. You may have to go through a volunteer orientation, fill out some paperwork or commit to a certain amount of volunteer hours per week or month.

Volunteering at a shelter is fun! However you decide to volunteer, do it as a family! Make wonderful memories while instilling responsibility and a love for animals!