People who want to volunteer with animals may want to consider going on a short-term wildlife conservation holiday. Organizations like Responsible Travel offer a wide variety of conservation holidays to many countries around the world. On a typical wildlife conservation holiday, the volunteers help out by assisting field staff with research, gathering data and other assigned tasks. They get the opportunity to work with a wide variety of animal species such as meerkats and pandas. Many holidays are offered in partnership with famous charities and non-profits which operate game drives, wildlife tracking programs, ecosystem monitoring, and conservation lecture programs.
There are wildlife conservation holidays to suit every interest and schedule. Some offer hands-on work like mapping bird populations and measuring turtles, with time commitments ranging from days to months.
There are also many opportunities for volunteering with animals in your local community. For example, volunteers can help out at their local kennel by walking dogs or looking after animals which are injured. They can also work on local community farms where they help to monitor wildlife and work with feral cats. Another option is to volunteer your time at a local zoo.
Which option you choose will depend on several factors, including the level of time commitment you can afford and the type of work you want to do. Looking after animals can be quite physically demanding and certain jobs may require training as well. Most animal rescue shelters do not require that their volunteers are animal specialists, but a love of animals and a desire to learn about them are important to success in these positions.
Large organizations like PAWS offer many opportunities for volunteers who want to work with animals. This group helps care for up to 8,000 animals each year, including dogs, cats, and wild animals. They depend heavily on volunteer workers to carry out their mission of helping animals in need. PAWS uses over 1,000 volunteers each year who donate up to 50,000 hours of work providing care to animals, administrative support services and community education on animal issues.
PAWS volunteers benefit from the experience of working with others who are passionate about helping animals and the chance to contribute to animal health in their communities. PAWS provides the necessary training to all volunteers and doesn’t require previous experience. Volunteers work in a variety of jobs, such as feeding wild songbirds and finding homes for orphaned kittens.
Local humane societies are another option to consider for those looking for work volunteering with animals. Humane society shelter volunteers can contribute to animal welfare in many ways, including one on one work caring for dogs and cats at their local shelter. Individuals who love animals are encouraged to apply for volunteer work at their local humane society, where they will also benefit from a formal training program to become a pet shelter volunteer.
Humane societies accept volunteers of all ages, including children The Atlanta Humane Society, for example, operates a Fundraising for Kids program which recruits young people to be part of their youth volunteer corps. They also offer a community service program to meet the needs of teenagers who are looking to complete community service work requirements for their school, court, work or club.
Being an animal rescue volunteer is a great way to give back to the community and showing compassion towards animals. Different people are driven by different motivations toward volunteering in animal shelters, among the most common reasons for which include:
Their love for pets in need
Animals and pets that end up in rescue centers and shelters are either strays or those that have been given up for adoption. Larger shelters often find themselves short of hands to give each animal the attention that they need and deserve, which is why they rely much on volunteers to assist them in improving the quality of care that the facility provides.
Their desire to give back to the community
Volunteering at animal shelters tugs right at the humanitarian strings of the heart, which is why those who want to give back to the community would often volunteer their time at these facilities. It shows a great deal of altruism when you care enough to give back to the world in whatever capacity you can.
Their need to test the waters for adoption
Volunteering can also be a great way to gain experience should you plan to adopt a pet one day. While shelter won’t be able to teach you everything, it is a good training ground to learn about basic pet care and train yourself how to be around animals. This will also help make your decision to adopt a lot easier as you discover what it would be like to live with and care for an animal.