Information about Volunteering and Working With Animals
If you have some spare time each week, or each month, you may have considered putting that time to good use by undertaking some voluntary work. Volunteering to work with animals is very popular, because there are so many animal-lovers in this country and so many animals in need of help! Charities such as the ASPCA could not function without the vital work of volunteers, but how exactly do you go about getting involved?
The first port of call is to look on the website of the charity you want to support: there is normally a section dedicated to appealing for volunteers and arranging voluntary work that suits each volunteer’s skills. If you want to work for an animal charity, you probably want to work direct with the animals in the local shelters, walking, feeding and playing with them. Yet there are many volunteer roles within animal charities that do not involve direct contact with animals, and charities do find it difficult to fill these roles.
Yet non-animal-contact roles are probably the best type for adding to your C.V. and for learning or developing skills that are transferrable and useful in the workplace. Charities try to make use of their volunteers’ existing skills and develop them. For example, you may be a very creative thinker and be naturally personable and persuasive – you would be a real asset to a charity’s fundraising team, helping to come up with ideas for special fundraising events and organising them. Or you may have an eye for design and detail and would make an excellent charity shop assistant.
There are roles for volunteers in every sector of a charity, from volunteer collector raising cash in collecting tins to a branch trustee, overseeing and managing the affairs of one of the charity’s branches within a committee. Volunteer to help with an animal charity and you could find yourself driving and transporting animals to and from shelters and veterinary surgeries. Or you could be assigned to visit homes pre-adoption (to assess the suitability of a prospective adopter) and then post-adoption to see how their new pet is settling into its new home.
If you have your heart set on working directly with animals then there are roles for volunteers within animal shelters helping the resident animals by grooming, walking, feeding and playing with them. As you get to know the animals, you will be able to help to provide advice to prospective adopters about each animal’s personality and temperament. Alternatively you could volunteer as a foster carer for cats, dogs or ‘small furries’ (such as hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits) to free up more space in the shelters until adopters can be found.
Think about what you want to achieve from a volunteering role and speak to your chosen charity about what you can offer in terms of time. You don’t always need experience as much of your role can be explained and taught to you when you start, and even if you think you don’t have any skills or experience that would help you in your voluntary work, you may be surprised at how quickly you will develop both in your new role.
This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (@Claire_Chat).