Volunteering at Your Local Animal Shelter

No Kill Animal Shelters are filled with animals, particularly dogs and cats, who have been lost or abandoned and have many needs.

The staff and volunteers tend to be big-hearted, sympathetic people who are making little or no pay.

Helping the animals at no kill shelters can be extremely rewarding spiritually and emotionally.

There are many ways that you can help the animals and the people at your local shelter.

In addition to feeling like you are making a difference in this world, you can meet some terrific people and form friendships.

You will meet people from many walks of life at the shelter. The individuals, who come from all walks of life, have one thing in common, compassion for the weaker creatures.

You may find that you make solid friendships long-lasting friendships at the animal shelter. What are ways you can help?


Volunteers are always needed to help with everything from the daily shelter like to public awareness of the organization. No experience is necessary, and the shelter will probably train you in their methods. Here are some of the assignments that a volunteer may help with:

Dog Walkers

dog walker

Dog walkers can give the dogs a break by giving them extra time outdoors. Walk the dog to get them exercises and reduce their stress. At most shelters, volunteers are able to work on their own schedule. Volunteers can choose to spend a lot of time with one dog, or shorter periods with several dogs. Often, the human volunteer will bond to a certain dog, or dogs, and the flexibility is offered to do that. Dogs that are walked more often are better socialized and that enhances their chances of adoption to a good home. Dog walkers make the dog’s stay at the shelter much more pleasant. You may learn that you can spend a short time with a displaced dog and show them more love and care then they have ever known.

Dog Groomers

Dog groomers help dogs physically, and mentally, by grooming and bathing them. Dog grooming may require experience in handling dogs and using a dog grooming table. They also spend will use dog flea and tick medication to ensure that the dogs do not infect others at the shelter.

Cat Room Care

cat home care

Spend time with the cats and care for them. Socializing with the cats helps them better future pets and improves their chances for adoption. Spend time showing care for the cats and show them affection that they may never have had before.

Adoption Counselors

Assist the adoption counsellors by working with prospective adoptive families. Shelters make an effort to make good placements for their animals so that the home they get placed in will work out to be permanent. Adoption duties could consist of: getting the animals out of their cages to show to their prospective people, helping them fill out the adoption application, and talking to them about the adoption process.


Greet visitors and help to make their visit pleasant and rewarding.

Attend and/or Organize Events

Shelters rely on donations for most of their funding. Most of them have fundraisers throughout the year. Volunteers can help by participating in planning and promoting the events. You can support the event by attending it and spending a little money at the auction or benefit.

Shelter Tour Guides

Conduct tours of the shelter for school groups, or any other groups, to increase awareness of the shelter.

Community Speakers

Increase awareness of the shelter by speaking at schools or other organizational events.

Foster Care

Some cats, dogs, puppies and kittens need special care until they are ready for adoption. They may need special care because of health needs. If they are recuperating from a surgery, or have an illness they may do better in a home environment. Most foster care is of a temporary nature, but sometimes, if the animal is elderly, it may be considered a permanent foster home until the end of their days.

Animal Pick Ups

Transport the animals to the shelter if they need to be picked up. Transport the animals to the veterinarians, for there medical needs.

Gift Shop

If the shelter has a gift shop, volunteer to assist customers in the shop and ring up sales.


Contribute newspaper feature articles, newsletters, and fund raising letters.


Take pictures or videos of the animals for promotional purposes. Pictures can be used for newsletters, bulletins, portraits, and for the website.


Maintaining the exterior of the shelter to keep it looking pleasant and inviting.

Adoption Center Maintenance

There are a variety of tasks, including cleaning, repair, and maintenance, to keep the shelter in good order. Handymen and handy women can help the shelter by donating their time and know-how, saving the shelter money on repairs.

Professional Services

Many professional donate services to the shelter, as charity. Veterinarians often help the shelters by discounting or donating their medical services to the dogs, cats, and other animals.


You can help your local shelter by donating money, or by filling their special needs. Financial donations are usually tax deductible, so you can benefit at tax time.

Donate items to be sold at events and auctions. They accept donated items and sell them in the silent or live Auction. The charitable event is elegant and enjoyable, serving an excellent meal. Bidding on the items is a lot of fun. Chances are a shelter in your area has similar events and will accept new, saleable items, or services, that they can sell as a fundraiser. Popular donations are hotel stays, spa services, portrait sessions, restaurant certificates, artwork and so much more. High-ticket donations such as plane rides and excursions are also popular. The auction items are terrific because you can get goods or services that you want and the money goes to help the charity. The benefactor who donates the goods and services also wins because they get exposure for their product, which is advertising that creates good community will. This exposure comes in the form of the advertising they get in the presentation of the products to the people who attend the auction, as well as the positive word of mouth from the winner of the auction who tries their services. They may even get a repeat customer. Truly a win- win -win event.

There are many items that shelters use large quantities of on a daily basis. You can help by donating usable items such as:

  • Canned Food
  • Cat Litter
  • Cat Scratching Post
  • Cat and Dog Toys
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Dog Leashes
  • Dog Treats
  • Grooming Supplies
  • Heating Disc’s
  • Garbage Bags
  • Latex Gloves
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Liquid Soap for Hands and Dishes
  • Paper Towels
  • Cleaning Supplies such as sponges, dustpans, and floor squeegees

This list is merely a sampling of items that a shelter may appreciate. If you would like to donate items, you can call ahead and ask what they need or ask if they will accept a donation of something that you have on hand. Shelters use a lot of towels and sheets for grooming and pet beds, so may happily accept donations of your slightly worn, clean linens. If you have any questions about what they need, ask them.

As you can see, animal shelters have many needs to keep their organization going. The animals benefit the cats, dogs, and other pets that are in need. You can help them my donating your time, talents, money, or items. You will find it worthwhile and rewarding to see the grateful smiles of the faces of lost and abandoned pets. Yes, pets can, and do, smile!

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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