Monday, October 18, 2010

Dog Days: Are You 'Under Employed'? Volunteer Opportunities At Your Local Animal Shelter (Cats & Rabbits Included)

I spent a little time this morning chatting with a very qualified journalist friend who's business has slowed due to the economy. Having more time to do well, whatever she wants, we talked about the idea of volunteering, in particular for local animal shelters.

I did a little digging and found out there are several ways you can spend a little of that down time helping others in need. So if you're under employed as I like to call it, sign up with your local shelter asap!

Here are the various ways you can volunteer (there is something for EVERYONE):
  • Canine Companion: pretty self-explanatory but you can work directly with animal shelter employees to keep dogs company - walking, feeding, straightening up cages.
  • Feline Companion: same as above except with kitties, MEOW.
  • Small Animal Companion: same as canines and felines except we're talking guinea pigs, rats, birds, hamsters, etc.
  • Rabbit Socializer: YES! Rabbits. LLSF's Alma Pagliarulo mentioned she adopted two bunnies this year and because they are animals of prey, they have a longer adjustment period than others. She also said they are fluffy, cuddly and POTTY TRAINED.
  • Adoption Counseling: you can show potential adopters around the shelter, introducing them to the animals and answering their questions. This is your chance to really "sell" the animals - get them good homes!
  • Adoption Event Counseling: serve as the "brand ambassador", attend events and speak with potential adopters and show off animals! You know, shake hands kiss babies.
  • Community Outreach: recruit new volunteers, educate the community, get donations!
  • Greeter: "Hi, welcome to the animal shelter. May I take your order?" Something like that...
  • Administrative Support: 'nough said
  • Foster Care: "Foster care volunteers provide homes, care and a nurturing environment to potentially adoptable animals. Often times, these animals need time to grow, heal and learn to socialize in a safe and caring environment before becoming adoptable." *This is something I recently did and it was very much worth it. I highly recommend it if you can. It doesn't take too much time and effort believe it or not but those animals will thank you. A far better life than a sterile, cold cage.
  • Transport Volunteer: Pet chauffeur
  • Pet Photographer: Say cheese. You're taking head shots of animals so they can find awesome homes!
  • Canine Groomer: This takes a steady hand and an eye for beauty. Trim, groom, style.
  • Development and Special Events: Help with your brain power to create new ideas and events for FUND RAISING!
  • Marketing / Public Relations: Write ups, coordination and development of marketing and publicity programs.
  • Web Design/Development: Below is a list of local shelters you can connect with. As you can see, they really need help with their websites.
New York City:
Los Angeles:
San Francisco: