Animal welfare organizations, whether rescue groups such as the many breed rescues or animal shelters in your community and mine, need volunteers. From people to help with fundraisers, to fostering animals that are waiting for new homes, from walking dogs and brushing cats to helping transport pets to their new homes, volunteers provide many and varied services. This month is National Adopt-A-Shelter Dog month, providing a great opportunity to help animals in need in and around our communities.
I enjoy helping animals, but there is a limit to what I can do. Yet, with that limit, I have found a few spaces I can fill. For example, I assist my local humane society with fundraising events, particularly by selling my books and donating a percentage back. I also help transport dogs for various rescue organizations. I’ve transported large, medium and small dogs, and each transport has given me not only great satisfaction in assisting an animal in need, but also touched my heart with the pet’s special story.
Recently, I had the honor of transporting an older beagle named Boone to his permanent home. I often travel to Montana to visit my parents, and I happened to be doing so this particular weekend, with a planned stop over at one of my most favorite places in the world: Yellowstone National Park. Boone's new family lives in Yellowstone, so I was able to transport this sweet, older gentlemen the entire way to his new home. What a joy to bring this lad into the loving arms of his awaiting family -- I know he will enjoy the sights and smells of America's first national park!
Volunteers are vital to rescue and other animal welfare organizations. There are many ways a person can volunteer. Some of these endeavors take lots of time, others take only a few hours a week, and some just a few hours every few months (like transporting). Here are some ways in which you can help animal rescue and welfare organizations as a volunteer:
Why not take this month as attention is turned to shelter dogs and give a bit of yourself to assist in some way? Visit with someone at your local animal shelter or rescue organization and see what their needs are. Perhaps make it a family affair and spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at the shelter or rescue helping with newsletter mailings, dog walking, cat play time, or whatever else the group needs regarding volunteers.
You will be amazed at the difference you can make in the lives of pets who need help by donating just a few hours a week, a few hours a month, or several hours twice a year. Share the love and be part of the positive solution by giving of yourself to help pets still awaiting adoption -- your heart will soar knowing you've helped to make a difference!
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.