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Volunteering at Pet Rescue Centres or Animal Shelters

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 14 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Volunteering Animals Rescue Centres

Volunteers are an essential part of running a rescue centre or animal shelter. While many rescue centres receive financial donations that help them keep the centre running, the gift of time is another invaluable donation that people can make.

Types of Volunteering Activity

An animal rescue centre or shelter is dependent on people to help in all aspects of running the centre. This stretches from walking dogs through to carrying out pre-adoption checks. Types of volunteering include:

  • Dog Walking – without a team of dog walkers, many rescue centres would struggle to look after so many dogs. Dogs need walking daily and this is a huge time investment, therefore volunteers who walk dogs allow the staff at rescue centres to concentrate on other things.
  • Cat Socialising – cats need the love and attention of people even when they are in a rescue centre. Many centres have volunteers who will groom and give a cat attention. This is important as it keeps a cat used to the company of people and will ultimately help it settle quickly into a new family.
  • Home Visits – part of the adoption process often entails a home visit. These are frequently carried out by volunteers. The volunteers are trained to know what to look for and how to approach a visit and are given plenty of support.
  • Fund Raising – many animal rescue centres have regular fund raising events and these are often manned by volunteers. Some centres also operate charity shops and these are typically run by volunteer staff.
  • Staffing Coffee or Gift Shops – larger organisations have gift stores, coffee shops and even visitor centres. These are often staffed by volunteers or a mix of volunteers and staff.

Requirements for Volunteering

The precise requirements will vary as to the different type of volunteering task and the criteria of a rescue centre. Most rescue centres will require that volunteers are fit to do the task in hand. They will also look for some level of commitment – especially where training is going to be invested in a volunteer. None of the requirements will be onerous, however, and are specifically designed to ensure the best for the animals and the volunteers.

Benefits of Volunteering

There are many benefits of volunteering and these include:

  • Working With Animals – volunteering is a good way for young people who want to start a career in animal care to gain experience. This valuable experience will help support their CV or application to a college.
  • Access to Animals for People Without Pets – volunteering is the perfect way for people without pets to experience the pleasure of being close to an animal. Dog walking, for instance, is the ideal way for someone who is unable to keep a dog to have access to one and enjoy its company. People who are unable to look after cats may welcome the opportunity to be a cat socialiser and spend time grooming or simply being with a cat.
  • Training – many centres train volunteers and this, plus the other skills that will be learned, such as working within a team, are important skills that will transfer to other parts of life.
Volunteering is a rewarding activity and is an essential part of the animal rescue process.

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[Add a Comment]
Lorna - Your Question:
Hi, my name is Lorna and I'm 16. I was wondering whether I would be able to volenteer at an animal shealter over the summer holidays (2017) in east London. I love animals and always have, which has aspired me to become a veterinary surgeon in the future. I don't have much experience other than owning dogs and other animals of my own. Animals truely make me happy and so I would be delighted to help. Thank you ??

Our Response:
You would have to apply directly to the animal shelters in your area. You may still be considered a touch young so don't be disheartened if the shelters state they only take over-18s on. The likes of National Trust will take on families as volunteers, so if your family are animal lovers too they may also wish to get involved and help you realise your dream. Once you are 18, you will be able to volunteer independently.
SaveAPet - 15-May-17 @ 10:05 AM
Hi, my name is Lorna and I'm 16. I was wondering whether I would be able to volenteer at an animal shealter over the summer holidays (2017) in east London. I love animals and always have, which has aspired me to become a veterinary surgeon in the future. I don't have much experience other than owning dogs and other animals of my own. Animals truely make me happy and so I would be delighted to help. Thank you ??
Lorna - 14-May-17 @ 12:42 AM
HVic22 - Your Question:
Hello, I am supporting at 15 year old with her mental health and I feel it would really benefit her into engaging with some sort of volunteer group. They have a love for animals therefore I am researching what volunteer opportunities are out there for them such as dog walking/helping in shelters etc. I am looking in the Middlesbrough/Stockton/Hartlepool area (North East England). Thank you.

Our Response:
While she may be too young to volunteer independently, due to her age, as her mentor you could join with her. Please see links here,here and here for some suggestions. I hope these help.
SaveAPet - 19-Apr-17 @ 10:40 AM
Hello, I am supporting at 15 year old with her mental health and I feel it would really benefit her into engaging with some sort of volunteer group. They have a love for animals therefore I am researching what volunteer opportunities are out there for them such as dog walking/helping in shelters etc. I am looking in the Middlesbrough/Stockton/Hartlepool area (North East England). Thank you.
HVic22 - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:09 PM
Hello. I am 14 years old and am looking to see if I could volunteer once a week for 3 months. I need to do this to pass my bronze D of E. I love animals and have my own cat and fish. Thank you for your time. Amy
Amyb045 - 14-Apr-17 @ 11:01 PM
NJenks - Your Question:
Hi all,I am a young working professional based in central London and am looking to give a full day to volunteering in an animal shelter once a month. I am an animal lover (I have rabbits, a cat, fish and a terrapin at my family home) and would like to be able to give something back to animals that aren't fortunate enough to have a loving home. Please can someone advise me as to the current vacancies available in London that would suit a one-day-a-month commitment?Thank you for your help and time.

Our Response:
You could try The Mayhew Animal Home, link hereThe Cinnamon Trust here and Wood Green here. Doing an online search for animal shelters in your area will also help.
SaveAPet - 28-Mar-17 @ 11:40 AM
Hi all, I am a young working professional based in central London and am looking to give a full day to volunteering in an animal shelter once a month. I am an animal lover (I have rabbits, a cat, fish and a terrapin at my family home) and would like to be able to give something back to animals that aren't fortunate enough to have a loving home. Please can someone advise me as to the current vacancies available in London that would suit a one-day-a-month commitment? Thank you for your help and time.
NJenks - 27-Mar-17 @ 2:46 PM
Hello, my name is Anna and I'm 11 years old - nearly 12 . I am very responsible and caring and I have been looking for a job which requires no qualifications and to do with animals. Sadly I am not able to have a pet at home, however I would adore to work with them and help them have a better life. I would not need a salary and would be overjoyed to work part time within 3 miles from me. I feel like looking after animals is my passion and I spend as long as I can with my family and friends pets. This means so much to me. Thank you!
Rosy posy - 4-Mar-17 @ 11:28 AM
Hello there:) my name is Kamila and I would like to be a volunteer at your centre. I love dogs but I can't have one on my own unfortunately therefore it would mean a world to me if I had a chance to help. Let me know if you have any volnuteering jobs available only on weekends near Acton, London./West London Thank you Kamila
Kamilee - 26-Feb-17 @ 9:44 PM
DogLover- Your Question:
Hello, I'm 26 years old. I live and work in London. I'm looking for volunteers position at any animals centre once a week not far from London. I would like to help to look after dogs. If you know any of centre which needs someone like me can you please get in touch with me. Thank you.

Our Response:
Please see Blue Cross link here and Cinnamon Trust here, plus the Do-It volunteer site should help you further.
SaveAPet - 21-Feb-17 @ 12:39 PM
Hello, I'm 26 years old. I live and work in London. I'm looking for volunteers position at any animals centre once a week not far from London. I would like to help to look after dogs. If you know any of centre which needs someone like me can you please get in touch with me. Thank you.
DogLover - 20-Feb-17 @ 7:01 PM
livvyloulou - Your Question:
Hi my name is olivia emmett and I am 15 year old, I was wondering if I would be aloud to volunteer here, also is this place in reading or not if then then thank you for your time but if it is not that far then I will be volunteering if that is okay. I am in school in year 11 but I can work the weekends and all week after school if that is any help at all, thank you for your time.

Our Response:
I'm afraid you cannot volunteer via this site Olivia. You would have to contact the rescue centres in your area directly. However, you are still too young and would not be considered until you were 16 or 18. Not long to go though! Good luck.
SaveAPet - 17-Feb-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hi my name is olivia and I am 15 year old, I was wondering if I would be aloud to volunteer here, also is this place in reading or not if then then thank you for your time but if it is not that far then I will be volunteering if that is okay. I am in school in year 11 but I can work the weekends and all week after school if that is any help at all, thank you for your time.
livvyloulou - 16-Feb-17 @ 6:38 PM
Hello, My names Ashleen and I'm 17 years of age and I have an outstanding passion for animals of all kinds! I'd love nothing more than to volunteer with them and give them the love that they weren't receiving ..I did an animal care course while at school but was unable to follow through with it for personal reasons, and I was absolutely gutted! I don't have any proper qualifications for it but me and my family are animal lovers and have always had one or two in the house still to this day ..I was just wondering if there was a space for someone like me.
Ash - 7-Feb-17 @ 2:23 AM
Hi I'm interested in volunteer work at the moment with any animals. I'm a huge animal lover, I've recently just lost my 2 house bunnies and feel a big void so would like to fill that. I work part time in retail but I'm looking to change career and work with animals. So any volunteer work with them would be great. Thanks
Nay37 - 24-Jan-17 @ 10:06 AM
I would love to work in the shelters with animals pleease help me get there
emmz - 8-Jan-17 @ 9:16 PM
Alexandra - Your Question:
I am 15 and I want to do some sort of work with animals because I love animals and would love to help them. I know most places want people over the age of 16 so I might be a too young.

Our Response:
Yes, you are still likely to be too young, and because of your age you will not be insured. You may have to wait for a while, unless you can sign up to some family volunteering and your parent(s) were willing to accompany you too.
SaveAPet - 18-Nov-16 @ 12:52 PM
I am 15 and I want to do some sort of work with animals because I love animals and would love to help them. I know most places want people over the age of 16 so I might be a too young.
Alexandra - 17-Nov-16 @ 11:06 PM
HI I AM 11 YEARS OLD,I AM LOOKING FOR A VOLENTEERING JOB. I HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH HORSES AND DOGS I HAVE 2RESCUE DOGS (STAFFY CROSS PIT-BULL)I WALK THEM ONCE A DAY.FEED THEM TWICE A DAY WASH THEM 1 A MONTH. I AM A HARD,WILLING WORKERI HELP OUT AT A LOCAL STABLES FOR 16HOURSES EACH WEEKEND AS WELL AS RIDING MY HORSE PIXIE. MY ANIMALS I HAD OR STILL HAVE: HAD RETIERDIRISHGREYHOUND 2 FISH COLLIE JACK RUSSELL 1 COB SECTION C HAVE ARABIANMARE 2 PIT-BULL CROSS 2 PLATYS 2 AMARO SRIMPS
nadia - 15-Nov-16 @ 7:11 PM
Hello im 20 live in bolton and need some experience in the animal care feild and could do with local shelters or vetenary work any suggestions or help will be much appriciated
Ilyson - 10-Nov-16 @ 10:59 PM
Georgia- Your Question:
Hi there my daughter is 12 years old and is very fond and passionate about dogs. She is wondering if she can volunteer to either clear outs the cages, walk dogs, play with them, or groom them. Thanks

Our Response:
Unfortunately, most pet rescue centres will not take on volunteers in any capacity unless they are over 18. However, there are family volunteering schemes where you can take your children with you if this is something you as a parent may wish to consider? Some National Trust places have animals and welcome family volunteers.
SaveAPet - 28-Oct-16 @ 1:57 PM
Hi I am 18 years old and have just moved to London because of my job. I am looking for some volunteering work, in West London, with dogs or other pets to do alongside work. I have always been passionate about animals and own a dog myself. It would be preferable to meet new people as well.
Kate - 27-Oct-16 @ 9:00 PM
Hi there my daughter is 12 years old and is very fond and passionate about dogs. She is wondering if she can volunteer to either clear outs the cages, walk dogs, play with them, or groom them. Thanks
Georgia - 27-Oct-16 @ 8:44 PM
Jessica - Your Question:
Hi. I'm interestes in volunteering as a dog walker or socialiser but I work full time so it would be evenings and weekends. I am 21 and have had dogs all my life but my small flat and work hours mean its not fair for me to keep one. Would you have any opportunities along those lines?

Our Response:
Try the Cinnamon Trust here which is for a really good cause. I hope this helps.
SaveAPet - 27-Oct-16 @ 10:29 AM
Hi. I'm interestes in volunteering as a dog walker or socialiser but I work full time so it would be evenings and weekends. I am 21 and have had dogs all my life but my small flat and work hours mean its not fair for me to keep one. Would you have any opportunities along those lines?
Jessica - 26-Oct-16 @ 7:53 AM
Hello I'm 23..and I'm interesting in volunteering for any role. I currently work part time but am willing to volunteer on my days off or so.. I'm looking for a role that is with the animals . How do I apply to volunteer? Thank hob
Elise - 15-Oct-16 @ 1:58 PM
Issy - Your Question:
Hi I'm 13 yes old nearly 14. I was wondering if I would be allowed to volunteer as part of my bronze ikr of Edinburgh award. Would that be possible or am I too young?

Our Response:
While it is on the list of volunteering ideas, please see link here, you would have to apply to the centres of your choice directly to see if they could accommodate you given your age. It may be something you could volunteer for via your family, if you are too young to do this directly. Good luck!
SaveAPet - 6-Oct-16 @ 2:09 PM
Sorry in my previous comment I meant to say duke of Edinburgh award. I also love animals and I have a passion for caring for them especially cats
Issy - 5-Oct-16 @ 11:40 PM
Hi I'm 13 yes old nearly 14. I was wondering if I would be allowed to volunteer as part of my bronze ikr of Edinburgh award. Would that be possible or am I too young?
Issy - 5-Oct-16 @ 11:38 PM
Bel - Your Question:
Im wondering what the age restrictions for being a cat socialiser is because I am almost 15 and I have spent my whole life with cats but I don't know if I am too young

Our Response:
It is likely you would be too young - 18 is usually the minimum age unless your local pet rescue centres have family-based volunteering roles.
SaveAPet - 3-Oct-16 @ 11:31 AM
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