ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Volunteer with Animals

Updated on December 30, 2012

Volunteering with animals can be heart breaking, dirty and very unglamorous but it may end up being the most enjoyable and worthwhile part of your week too. This article should give you some ideas of the sort of opportunities that come up for volunteering with animals, both domestic and wild, and perhaps some of the pitfalls to look out for. I have experience of volunteering with animals in a variety of capacities. Most recently I have been a volunteer dog walker with the RSPCA and contributing data to projects with the Bee Conservation Trust.

Some of the opportunities - such as fundraising or helping to maintain an animal charities website may not afford much interaction with the animals themselves, but is just as vital a contribution.

Unfortunately if you are under 16 you may find that the opportunities are limited due to many organisations not having the manpower to supervise younger people adequately.

A high proportion of dogs in rescue kennels are staffy crosses.
A high proportion of dogs in rescue kennels are staffy crosses. | Source

Volunteering with Pet Animals

Volunteer Activities include:

Fostering - you look after a homeless animal in your own home. Usually the charity responsible for the animal will cover vet's bills and you cover the cost of feeding. A downside and upside of fostering is that many fosterers become failed fosterers when they become to attached to part with the animal.

Dog walking/socialisation - You exercise the dogs from the charities premises or you may go in to help socialise a litter of puppies for example. The charity should start you off with easy dogs and see how you do. You can opt not to walk large dogs for example if you don't feel strong enough or confident. You must make sure you are up to date on your tetanus vaccination in case of dog bites.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Crazy Horse the old English sheepdog came into rescue very badly mattedHe looked and felt much better after a class of trainee groomers had worked on him
Crazy Horse the old English sheepdog came into rescue very badly matted
Crazy Horse the old English sheepdog came into rescue very badly matted | Source
He looked and felt much better after a class of trainee groomers had worked on him
He looked and felt much better after a class of trainee groomers had worked on him | Source

Grooming - Horse rescue charities may appreciate help with grooming their horses. Basic training is usually available, but it may help if you have some experience of handling horses or donkeys. If you are a professional dog groomer your help might be welcomed with dogs who come into rescue in a very poor state of grooming.

Cleaning Out - where ever there are animals there is cleaning out to be done. Most animal charities will welcome your help with this task. It's rewarding having a nice row of clean pens for the animals to make use of.

Home Checking - This is a task with quite a bit of responsibility. You go out to homes and assess their suitability for a pet, following the charity's guidelines. You need to follow the guidelines closely even if you don't 100% agree with all of them.

Education - you might go round schools and other groups talking about the charity's role to gain some support for it or educating people about an aspect of animal care, for example, why it is important to spay or neuter pet dogs.

General Maintenance or gardening - a charity might be very grateful for your help if you are capable at carrying out general maintenance tasks such as fixing leaking pipes or offer to help keep the premises tidy. Although this won't bring you into direct contact with animals you will still be helping them.

Pet Animal Volunteer Opportunities

Organisation
Location
Opportunities
Species
http://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved
UK nationwide
Dog walking, fund raising, cleaning out
Potentially any species
http://www.coonhoundrescue.com/FOSTER.html
USA nationwide
Fostering
Dogs
http://www.happa.org.uk/about-happa/get-involved/
UK lancashire, Forest of Dean
Education, fund riasing, home visits
Horses, Donkeys
http://www.aspca.org/Home/Aspca-nyc/volunteer
USA New York
Assisting potential adopters, socialising animals, fostering
Dogs, cats
http://www.userl.org/userl-volunteer.html
USA nationwide
Grooming,training, office work, fund raising
Horses, donkeys
Ewe and lamb
Ewe and lamb | Source

Volunteering with Livestock

Opportunities include:

Education - for example talking to groups to highlight the conditions and distances traveled of animals being transported for slaughter or helping out on a city farm and teaching children how to care for livestock and where their breakfast milk comes from.

Cleaning out - City farms may have opportunities for you to be involved directly with the care of farm livestock. WWOOF offers accomodation and food on small organic farms throughout the world in exchange for your help with the farm work.

Stewarding - livestock breed and rare breed societies may have opportunities for you to volunteer as a steward at a shows if you have an interest in livestock.

Volunteer Opportunities with Livestock

Organisation
Location
Opportunities
Species
https://www.rbst.org.uk/support-groups
UK Nationwide
Contact individual support groups for info
Rare breeds livestock
http://brinsleyanimalrescue.org/volunteering/
UK Nottinghamshire
Cleaning out, home checks, fund raising
Livestock, also pets and some wildlife
http://www.goatsave.org/
USA Washington
cleaning out, grooming, milking, general maintenance
Goats
http://www.wwoof.org/
Worldwide
Cleaning out, Milking, general farm work
Livestock and farm crops
http://www.stonebridgecityfarm.com/we_offer/placements-and-volunteering/volunteering
UK Nottinghamshire
Cleaning out, grooming, education, gardening
Livestock and garden crops
Garden bumblebee
Garden bumblebee | Source

Volunteering with Wildlife

Opportunities include:

Wardening - You may take a regular shift as a volunteer warden at a local wildlife/nature reserve or use some of your holiday to spend a week or longer at a nature reserve further afield. There are companies which offer volunteer opportunities abroad at a price. You should evaluate these carefully. Whilst they may provide you with an interesting experience they are not always hugely valuable in terms of conservation or what is acheived.

Contributing data - information on wildlife distribution and behaviour coming from 'amateur naturalists' such as ourselves is proving increasingly useful to wildlife conservation charities. A lot now have projects to which you can contribute data about species you've seen in your garden for example.

Education - you could be giving talks to groups in schools or showing groups around your local reserve and pointing out species and signs of wildlife activity.

Habitat creation and maintenance - what we think of as wild often needs a surprising amount of care to stay that way. You might get involved in tree planting, litter picking, weeding out non native plant species or creating footpaths.

Care and rehabilitation - There aren't huge numbers of opportunities to get involved with the care of wildlife on a voluntary basis, but if you have a nearby wildlife rescue you could ask if you can help. If you own an area of land which would be suitable for the release of a group of hand reared foxes for example you might be welcomed with open arms.

Organisation
Location
Opportunities
Species
http://www.carolinawaterfowlrescue.com/vol.html
USA, Noth Carolina
Cleaning out, transport, home checks, education
Wildfowl and domestic poultry
http://www.valewildlife.org.uk/#/volunteering/4539532964
UK Gloucestershire
Cleaning out, feeding, general maintenance, fund raisin, transport
All UK wildlife
http://www.twrcwildlifecenter.org/volunteer/
USA Texas
Education, phone answering, baby bird care, animal rehab
All Texan wildlife
http://www.lancswt.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer-2
UK Lancashire
Habitat management, education
UK wildlife and plants
http://www.wwt.org.uk/visit/martin-mere/volunteer/
UK nationwide
Education, wardening, general maintenance
UK and international Wildfowl
http://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm
USA nationwide
Education, wardening, habitat and general maintenance
All USA wildlife and plants

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Nettlemere profile imageAUTHOR

      Nettlemere 

      5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Anne - you're absolutely right about the skills used whilst volunteering being good to put on CVs and potentially being the catalyst for a change in career too.

      Wetnosedogs - you may find a dog shelter where you can walk on your days off. The good thing I've found about dog walking is that you're not tied to a certain amount of hours per week and even only having time to walk one dog makes a big difference to that dog's day.

      AlicaC and aviannovice, thank you both for visiting and commenting positively.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      The overview is wonderful and thoughtfully done. Volunteer organizations have lots of things for people to do in many segments of their work.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is a very useful hub, Nettlemere! Thank you for all the great information about a very important topic.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 

      5 years ago from Alabama

      Dog walking would be awesome, but with a day job, I never looked into it.

      A great hub with loads of information.

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 

      5 years ago from Spain

      Hi Nettlemere. Another great hub and what terrific ideas for all those interested in animals and wildlife with a few hours to spare. Thinking of the bigger picture, being a volunteer would be a great thing to put on a CV for all those unemployed looking for employment working with animals and wildlife or even other skills, garden maintenance for example if that´s what they have been doing at a rescue centre or nature conservation trust. There is no doubt that all these charitys need all the help they can get in what ever form it´s offered.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)