Shelters are working towards the animal’s best interest. Even though most of the shelters try to match the right owner to the right pet that is sadly not always possible. No one can predict the future. The workers in the shelter make a background check of the new owners and interview them thoroughly to make sure they are suitable for pet adoption. However, that screening is not 100% accurate. Sometimes mistakes are made and poor animals are handed to unsatisfactory owners. Shelters try to avoid that as much as they can and as a result, sometimes good owners are rejected.
There is an old saying “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes”. This resonates so much with the strict shelter rules. Before you complain or get horrified by something you’ve seen, take your time to read this article and get a better understanding of some basic principles of the shelters. After all appearances can be deceiving. Even though something looks cruel or you may think the animals are not properly cared for, it might not be the case.
If you support the cause of your local or any other animal shelter, which works for rescuing dogs, cats and other animals you can actually do quite a lot of things to help support the cause and show your appreciation for the animal shelter volunteers.
Here are some ways to do that, and some suitable gifts to give animal shelter volunteers:
Naturally, the first thing to consider is making a one off donation, or plan to make smaller monthly donations to help the shelter and the cause.
Help with sharing information about the shelter’s activity and upcoming adoption events and adoption profiles- you can do this in the social networks or locally by hanging fliers in your area, in your work or others.
You can help by volunteering to transport rescued or adopted animals, or walk the dogs at the shelter and go pet and play with the rescue cats. There are many ways to get involved
If you don’t have the time to go and help the people and animals in the shelter physically, you can still help by offering your personal expertise. Depending on your profession and skills, you can help the shelter with: accounting, legal matters, marketing, PR, writing, photography, art, website design, SEO marketing, social media expertise.
Help with the shelter’s wish list items.
You can purchase or make personal gifts for the personnel and animal shelter volunteers to show your appreciation. Get them a treat, like sweets, chocolate candy or a cake. You can also buy them some small and yet useful tokens of appreciation, like thematic or thank you mugs, keychains or small pocket knives.
A great way to support an animal rescue shelter or organization is to organize a fund raiser or turn one of your personal celebrations into a fundraiser. You can ask your friends and guests to donate to the shelter as a birthday or wedding gift instead of getting you an actual gift.
Try placing a donation jar in your work place. You can probably get some of your colleagues interested in donating for the animal shelter too.
Send a “thank you” card or cake to the shelter, or you can send thank you pizza, donuts or just about anything. Showing a personal appreciation for the work of the volunteers will mean very much to them.
Help by fostering a cat or dog until it gets a forever home, and help it get socialized and kept away from the stressful conditions and situations in the shelter.
There is plenty of different tasks you can handle if you want to be close to the animals. Few suggestions include:
Animals walkers: This seems to be the most popular activity for volunteers. We need reliable volunteers to walk the stray dogs we are trying to home. Get fit and feel good all at the same time by volunteering to do this kind deed!
Weekend Foster Families. Take an animal home for the weekend. This helps us socialize the dogs in a home environment and gives the dogs a holiday from kenneling.
Dog Handlers: Well behaved dogs are more easily homed, so you could help by volunteering to handle a dog at regular training sessions led by a professional dog trainer. Just make sure you are wearing proper casual clothes with the animals.
Animal groomers: some of the animals need bathing and occasional fur cut. If you have even minimum experience shaving with beard trimmers, you will most certainly will be able to use our dog hair trimmers as well. Don’t worry, there will be experienced groomer to help you with this (sometimes tricky) task.
Here is a short video to get a basic idea what hands-on volunteering looks like:
Hands off Animals Volunteers
If you prefer not to have direct contact with the animals, there is a number of day-to-day operations that need volunteers’ help. Such as:
Accountant – if you have any accounting experience or enjoy working with figures you can help keep track of donations as well as costs of operation.
Internet advertising coordinator – if you have experience in internet advertising, advertising or sales, then your experience would be highly appreciated
Poster Making – if you have creative skills and know how to use a variety of computer programs and software such as PowerPoint, Photoshop and the like
Poster Distribution – distribute posters on a weekly basis to certain notice boards and to find new outlets for poster distribution
Phone Volunteers – they are required to deal with enquiries from the public and to receive information about stray dogs to pass on to those responsible for trapping and collection.
It is a question we often get asked by volunteers. The interest has been overwhelming, so we’ve decided to dedicate a specific post to that question and not simply throw it in the FAQ. Frankly, these don’t get enough attention from our readers, and maybe a separate and detailed overview of the matter will be good enough.
Most likely you will be asked what you prefer to do at the shelter. You can have a look of the various tasks at the shelter and pick those which suit you most. However, don’t forget you are dealing with live animals. Their cages may not be squeaky clean all the times, even the workers there try to! Wear clothes that you won’t regret if accidentally they get ruined. At the end of the day they might stink, be covered in fur, or have holes in them.
Sometimes claws get tangled in the clothes and occasionally make a hole or two in the worker’s clothing.
So our advice is to wear clothes that you feel comfortable in. Clothes that you can easily wash every time. Clothes that are durable. Clothes you won’t regret if they got ruined by the little paws and claws in the shelter. Pick your clothes according to the weather conditions.
If you pop up straight after work, it would be a good idea to bring a separate change of clothes (aka work-with-animals clothes). Here is a sample suitable outfit:
Same thing is valid for shoes as well. Pick a pair that is durable and comfortable. If you are visiting for the first time, pay special attention to where the animals are kept and what is the terrain. Most of the shelters have concrete floors, but some of them are located on an uneven terrains. Most footwear would work well on the concrete, but be more careful with your footwear choice for the uneven terrain. If you can get a pair of logger work boots. They have higher heel and are made for standing up long hours without putting strain on your feet.
Also, make sure you bring a sticky roller with you every time. The last thing you would want is to have fur all over your car when you go home after a hard day at work. Even though inevitably you would end up with some fur in the car, the seats won’t be totally covered in fur.