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How to Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Get that warm, fuzzy feeling by volunteering at your local animal shelter.


  • Step 1: Find a shelter Search the internet for an animal shelter in your area. Many sites offer a search by zip code feature.
  • Step 2: Call or visit Call or visit the shelter and ask to speak to the volunteer coordinator. Give them your name and age and ask if they can use a volunteer.
  • TIP: Ask lots of questions -- there are many different ways to help out.
  • Step 3: Give them ideas Give them a list of potential jobs that you can do and fill out a volunteer application form if asked. Suggest such jobs as cleaning cages, making phone calls, decorating the waiting room, or advertising adoptable pets.
  • Step 4: Adopt a pet Adopt a pet of your own. Even if there's nothing you can do at the shelter, you can help them out by giving an animal a home.
  • Step 5: Raise money Do some independent fundraising for the shelter. Even if they can't use you personally, they can always use more money. With a little work, you can find a way to help a local shelter and get pets into good homes.
  • FACT: In 2005, eligible inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California began participating in Pen Pals, a program which enables them to train dogs from a local animal shelter.

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Job suggestions
  • Fundraising ideas

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