Volunteering with animals can be a very rewarding experience for those who love animals. In addition to giving back to the community, this type of volunteering helps ensure that vulnerable animals get the care and love they deserve. Here are some great ideas for ways to volunteer with animals.

Helping Out at a Local Animal Shelter

Most animal shelters are understaffed and struggle to deal with the high volume of pets they receive. Being able to get volunteer help keeps many shelters afloat. There are all sorts of ways to get involved. Some volunteers help by cleaning up the shelter, while others socialize animals or answer phones. There is a particularly big need for volunteers with special skills. For example, those good at photography can help update an adoptable animal website.

Pet Fostering

Though the shelter system is better than putting pets out on the street, it’s not ideal. Many animals in shelters are so stressed and overwhelmed that they seem mean or unloving. It is often better for pets to stay at a family home instead. People who foster pets take care of one or two animals, providing a secure environment where their true personality and behavioral needs are apparent. Those who have the time to foster kittens or puppies are in high demand since many young animals separated from parents need more care than a shelter provides.

Volunteering Alongside a Therapy Pet

People who have the patience to train their pets and pass service animal exams have a lot of volunteering opportunities. Some volunteers take therapy pets to libraries, where they can encourage shy, young children to practice reading aloud. Others take therapy pets to hospitals to comfort people who are ill. This volunteering can be a great way to help humans while still having fun with an animal.

Working for Wildlife Conservation Organizations

Not all animal volunteering involves pets. Wildlife might not be as cuddly as a puppy, but these animals are just as important. Check to see if local animal sanctuaries or wildlife conservation organizations could use some help. Some places need volunteers to feed animals like eagles or squirrels, and others might need help with getting grants or doing community outreach.