two-puppies-while-volunteering-with-animals

Volunteering with animals can be an incredibly rewarding experience, no matter what your age.

Whether you're a young person just starting in life or an older adult nearing retirement, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in animal-related volunteering.

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best ways to work with your favourite furry friends.

What Attributes Do You Need to be a Volunteer?

There are no specific qualifications required to become a volunteer; however, you will need to be comfortable around animals and have some basic knowledge of how to handle them. It's also important that you have a good sense of responsibility, as the welfare of the animals in your care is paramount.

Patience and Compassion Are Essential

If you're thinking of becoming a volunteer, remember that patience and compassion are two of your most important attributes. Animals can be unpredictable at times, so you'll need to be prepared for anything. However, the satisfaction you'll get from seeing them happy and healthy is well worth any challenges you might face.

Confident but Willing to Learn

Working with animals can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging. As a volunteer, you'll need a certain degree of confidence but also the ability to reach out for help and advice when needed. Whether you're helping out at a shelter or doing hands-on work with animals out in the community, there's always something new to learn.

Eager With a Good Sense of Humour

Working with animals can be challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. As a volunteer, you'll need to be eager and have a good sense of humour; after all, there will be times when things don't go as planned. You must stay positive during these times and remember that the animals you're helping are worth all the effort.

Do You Need Previous Experience?

It's not necessary to have any previous experience working with animals to become a volunteer; however, if you do have any history working in this sector, it will be beneficial. Many animal shelters and rescue centres are always on the lookout for volunteers with veterinary experience, or those who can help with fundraising or marketing.

What Attributes Can You Offer?

If you're thinking of putting yourself forward in this capacity, it's important to think about the skills and attributes you can offer. Are you patient? Do you have experience in fundraising or marketing? Can you handle busy environments well? All of these qualities are valuable when it comes to these roles.

Volunteering Close to Home

If you're not comfortable travelling too far to volunteer with animals, there are plenty of opportunities closer to home. Animal sanctuaries, rescue centres, and shelters are always in need of volunteers, and most of these organisations are happy to accept help from people of all ages. You could offer your time cleaning out cages or kennels, walking and playing with the animals, or assisting with administrative tasks.

Volunteering Further Afield

If you're willing to travel a little further, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer with animals in other parts of the world. There are sanctuaries and reserves in need of volunteers all over the world, and many of these organisations are happy to accept help from all backgrounds and experience levels. If you're interested in volunteering abroad, do your research carefully; not all animal-related volunteer programs are created equal.

Types of Animal Volunteering Available

There are a variety of different ways to register your interest in these roles. You could work in an animal shelter, help out at a veterinary clinic, or become a wildlife rehabilitator. If you're not sure where you want to start, take a look at the types of animal volunteering available and see which one speaks to you the most.

Dog Walking and Kennel Duties

One of the most popular ways to volunteer with animals is by dog walking and kennel duties. This type of volunteering is perfect for those who adore man’s best friend and want to help out in a shelter or rescue centre. You'll be responsible for taking the dogs for walks, playing with them, and providing basic care.

Looking After Injured Animals

If you're interested in helping animals that are injured, you could become a wildlife rehabilitator. This type of volunteering can be very challenging, but it's also very satisfying. As a wildlife rehabilitator, you'll be responsible for nursing sick and injured animals back to health before releasing them back into the wild.

Working at a Community Farm

If you're interested in helping animals, you could consider volunteering at a community farm. Community farms are becoming increasingly popular, and they offer a variety of different opportunities for volunteers. You could help out with the animals on the farm, work in the vegetable garden, or do administrative tasks.

Monitoring Local Wildlife

If you're interested in wildlife, you could consider becoming a volunteer monitor. As a volunteer monitor, you'll be responsible for keeping track of the local wildlife and reporting any changes or concerns to the appropriate authorities. Although the hours might sometimes be unsociable (especially when tracking nocturnal animals) this role can often be undertaken close to home, and it's perfect for those who love animals but don't want to work with them directly.

Working With Stray Cats

If you're a cat lover, you could consider becoming a volunteer working with stray cats. As a volunteer, you'll be responsible for feeding and providing basic care for the felines in your area, before they’re listed for adoption.

Helping at the Zoo

If you're interested in animal conservation, you could consider becoming a volunteer at the zoo. As a zoo volunteer, you'll be responsible for helping with a variety of tasks, including cleaning cages and enclosures, feeding animals, and conducting research.

Expectations of Volunteering

Before you start volunteering with animals, it's important to understand the expectations of the organisation. Most animal-related volunteer programs require a minimum time commitment and you may be asked to sign a waiver absolving the organisation of any liability in case of an accident. You should also be prepared to work with animals that may be sick or injured, and you may be required to have a background check.

Working in a Kennel

If you are working in a kennel you will experience some of the taks listed below:

Working in kennels is a great way to experience working with many different types of animals and can be a stepping stone to a career in animal care.

Helping at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

If you are helping at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre you will experience some of the things listed below:

Volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre can be a great way to see how you would like to work with animals in the future and can give you the experience you need to work in the field.

Working at a Community Farm

If you are working at a Community Farm you will experience some of the things listed below:

Working at a community farm can be a great way to learn about agriculture and the work that goes into keeping animals.

Monitoring Local Wildlife

If you are monitoring local wildlife you will experience some of the things listed below:

This is a great way to get involved in your community and monitor the local wildlife numbers.

Helping at the Zoo

If you are helping at the zoo you will experience some of the things listed below:

Zoo volunteering can be a great way to learn about exotic animals and get involved in conservation efforts.

Expectations can be high so make sure to read about what is required of you before applying.

The Best Organisations to Volunteer With

Many organisations allow you to volunteer with animals. A few of the best ones are listed below:

World Wildlife Fund

The World Wildlife Fund offers many different opportunities to volunteer with animals all over the world. If you're looking to do some international volunteering, this is a great option.

RSPCA

The RSPCA is the leading animal welfare charity in the United Kingdom and offers many opportunities to volunteer with animals. They have a variety of different programs that you can choose from depending on your skills and interests.

Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust is a UK-based charity that helps to find homes for abandoned and stray dogs. They offer many opportunities for volunteers to improve the lives of animals in their care.

World Animal Protection

World Animal Protection is an international charity that helps to protect animals all over the world. They offer many different opportunities for volunteers to help animals in need.

The Humane Society International

The Humane Society International is one of the most important animal rights organisations in Great Britain. They have been fighting for decades to end abuse and exploitation against all kinds of animals, including hares and badgers!

Volunteering Isn't Just For Young People!

Volunteering with animals isn't just for young people. There are many opportunities for older adults to get involved in the animal welfare community.

Older adults have a lot to offer the animal welfare community, including significant skills, knowledge, and experience. So if you're interested in helping animals, don't let age stop you!

Something is Better Than Nothing

If you are not able to give your time for a long period, or you don't have any specific skills, that's okay! There are many openings for short-term volunteers.

Even if you can only give an hour of your time each week, it will still make a difference. So don't be discouraged from volunteering because of the time commitment or perceived lack of qualifications.

FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions that people have about volunteering with animals:

Q: Can I volunteer with animals if I have a full-time job?

A: Yes! There are many opportunities for volunteers who have full-time jobs. Most organisations require a minimum number of hours, but there are many opportunities for short-term volunteers as well.

Q: Do I need to have my transportation?

A: This depends on the organisation that you choose to volunteer with. Some organisations provide transportation, while others do not.

Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer with animals?

A: The age requirement varies depending on the organisation. However, most organisations accept volunteers who are at least 18 years old.

Q: What is the minimum number of hours required for volunteers?

A: This varies depending on the organization, but most require a minimum number of hours each week or month.

Q: What kind of animals will I be working with?

A: This depends on the organisation that you choose to volunteer with. Some organisations work with domestic animals, while others work with exotic animals.

Conclusion

Volunteering with animals can have a profound impact on both the animal and those charged with their care. It’s an amazing experience that everyone should try at least once in their lives. The sense of joy you get from helping an animal in need is unmatched, and the relationships you form are truly special.

Many different organisations allow volunteers to work with animals in the United Kingdom. Volunteering is inclusive of all ages, skills and abilities so please don’t let that put you off. There are many ways in which you can make a difference in the lives of animals.