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Volunteering with Animals: Making a Difference One Paw at a Time

People and organizations are always looking for ways to volunteer. Whether it be to fulfill graduation requirements, boost resumes, or simply give back to the community, many functions are carried out through the efforts of millions of volunteer hours each year.

While there are countless noble causes to which to give your time and energy, volunteering with animals is one that should be given top consideration in 2023. Keep reading to see all of the diverse benefits and ways to get involved with helping our 4-legged friends!

Benefits of Volunteering With Animals

Many people may think that volunteering with animals is all about helping animals in need. While the benefits of providing tender loving care to animals goes without saying, there are numerous benefits for the volunteers themselves. Some of these include:

  • Volunteering is a feel-good activity. By giving your time and energy to a noble cause, you are in a better position to combat feelings of stress, anger, and anxiety.

  • It keeps you moving. Mingling with animals all day will keep you on your feet, providing much of the daily activity necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

  • It can open the door for career opportunities. Whether you are interested in veterinary medicine, grooming, or even opening your own animal boarding business, the volunteer experience you receive will help direct your passion and boost your resume.

  • Volunteering helps other humans. Many animal hospitals and shelters are very understaffed, so your volunteer hours will provide invaluable relief to overworked professionals.

Another benefit of volunteering with animals is that it allows highly skilled animal professionals to focus on their core competencies. Animals need to be fed, kennels need to be cleaned, and puppies need to be cuddled. Without sufficient volunteer help, vets and nurses have to perform these tasks, drawing their energy and attention away from the more technical tasks they are qualified to perform.

How to Volunteer With Animals

Now that you know about the various benefits to both animals and humans that come with volunteering, let’s take some time to explore the various ways to get involved.

Shadow a Veterinarian

Ask a room full of kids what they want to be when they grow up, and chances are “veterinarian” will be one of the top responses you receive.

However, by the time they reach adulthood, these same kiddos are entering professions they are decidedly less passionate about.

In many cases, kids simply don’t realize that the opportunity to work with animals is just as big as their childhood dreams.

This is where increased awareness of veterinary shadowing programs can do wonders for helping young people continue down the path toward a career with animals.

Not only will shadowing at a veterinary clinic help take some of the stress off of overworked veterinary staff, but it will give young people the chance to acquire knowledge and skills necessary for a career in veterinary sciences. Some examples include:

  • Gaining hands-on experience with animal care

  • Learning about different medical treatments and procedures

  • Acquiring insight into the day-to-day operations of a veterinary clinic

When looking into shadowing opportunities, take the time to find a reputable clinic, have a series of questions ready to ask the staff, and be respectful of the time and experience of those professionals with whom you interview.

Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

One of the most direct and impactful ways to help animals is by volunteering at an animal shelter.

While you may not necessarily gain as much technical insight as you will by shadowing a veterinarian, the difference you will make is undeniable.

"Volunteering at an animal shelter is not just about giving your time and energy, it's about giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

- Kathryn Goodwin, El Paso Animal Shelter

The need for volunteers at animal shelters is particularly acute at the moment.

Adoptions peaked at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. However, with crippling inflation handcuffing most household budgets over the past year, many animal owners can no longer afford to pay for food and care. As such, pet owners are surrendering their pets in droves, putting unprecedented stress on understaffed animal shelters.

Your presence matters.

Foster a Pet

With overcrowded shelters, fostering a pet is another extremely impactful way to help with animals.

By bringing a pet into your home and giving them the love, nutrition, and exercise that they have likely lacked, you improve that pet’s quality of life and those of the animals that remain at the shelter, as the staff will have fewer paws on which to divide their attention.

And chances are that you will fall in love and may want to adopt your foster pet.

The Humane Society of North Texas (HSNT) is currently facing a high number of dogs weighing over 40 pounds, and we need help to create space in their kennels so that each of these dogs can find their forever homes. To incentivize foster families, HSNT is offering a $250 reward, generously sponsored by donors, as a thank you for providing temporary homes. Foster families will receive training, supplies, and all veterinary care for the fostered dogs. The $250 incentive applies to fosters who commit to a three-week period and only one incentive is available per household. HSNT is also requesting foster families to become Adoption Ambassadors for their foster dog by sharing information about them with friends, family, and on social media platforms to increase the chances of finding adopters. If interested, individuals can fill out the provided form to become an HSNT Foster Hero and make a significant difference in the lives of these dogs. If you are interested and available to foster, you can fill out the form provided in the link below to become an HSNT Foster Hero. Your support will make a significant difference in giving these dogs a chance at a brighter future.

Volunteer With Animals and Make a Difference Today

Volunteering with animals not only changes the lives of pets in need, but it can do wonders for your mental health and that of overworked animal professionals. If you are looking for ways to give back your time to animals, contact the Humane Society of North Texas today and start changing lives!

HSNT - Pets and People, Saving Each Other®

HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.

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