Many people are good at finding reasons why not to volunteer at local animal shelters. For example, the disheartening experience of seeing so many animals in need of loving homes. While other people know themselves well enough to know that one step inside an animal shelter means they will leave with one more animal.
Whether you plan to adopt an animal or not, the reality is that volunteering at a shelter is indeed a positive experience and can make a difference for animals, shelter staff, and volunteers.
The following are just some reasons why you should volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet and get to know people who live in your community! We all have busy lives balancing work, school, family, raising children, and our other interests and commitments.
Connecting with other people in your area can be very powerful and uplifting. You already know that you share a common interest in animals. Additionally, you are meeting in an environment where everyone wants to be (otherwise, they would not be there).
It’s also rewarding to feel you are positively contributing to your community. Animal shelters are a big help to communities in which they exist. They take in and care for pets in need of homes. They often do so with a small budget, relying on volunteer support and donations. Why not volunteer some time – even if it’s just an hour a week – helping your shelter?
You won’t earn money volunteering, but you might gain something more valuable. You know that satisfying, warm feeling you get when you realize that you have just done something selfless that will dramatically improve another’s day? That’s the reward you will get each time you help a sick or sad shelter animal.
It won’t be all rainbows and sunshine. There will be circumstances that will break your heart – abandoned and abused animals dropped off at the shelter because owners no longer wanted them. But imagine helping a fearful companion animal learn to trust humans again?
You will also watch newly-adopted pets leave with great adopters, and you will know that you were part of those animals’ journeys to a happy ever after. There is nothing quite like watching a pet find its forever family.
Animal shelters are often overcrowded and understaffed. Even the best of shelters and rescues have a difficult time giving each animal the individual love and attention it would need to thrive. By spending time with the animals, you are not only giving them love, but you are also socializing them.
Animals who are socialized are more likely to be adopted than those who appear shy or fearful during a meet and greet.
Not only will you be helping others by volunteering with animals, but research has shown that spending time with pets has significant health benefits for people.
Petting a cat or dog not only relieves stress and anxiety, but it has also been shown to lower blood pressure.
Plus, you get to spend some time on your feet, and might even get to walk the animals.
Whether you already have a pet or you’re thinking of adopting a pet of your own, you will gain valuable experience about caring for animals by volunteering.
Perhaps you might need volunteer experience for a college or job application in the future. People like to see that applicants volunteer. It shows that you care about others, and you value a sense of community.
If you happen to fall in love with a particular cat or dog while volunteering, that’s okay too. If you are in a position to adopt a new best friend, you just might end up giving someone that second chance at love and life!