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Volunteering at Pet Rescue Centres or Animal Shelters

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 19 Oct 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]
Hi there, I’m a student in London interested in volunteering in my day off! I can’t have any pet so it would be a great opportunity as I love them, doggies especially! I would be able to travel in most central areas (zone 1-2-3). Please do let me know :)
Anna - 19-Oct-17 @ 3:56 PM
Hello, I'm Anna, I'm turning 17 this September. Recently, i have been wondering, if I could help out with pet care volunteering. I am a student, however I do have a free time in which I would love to come and help out with pets. I have had both, dog and 2 cats, therefore I have an expirience. If it is possible to help out, please let me know. Kind regards
Ignat_a - 16-Sep-17 @ 10:32 AM
Hi, I do love dogs since I’m a kid and I’d really like to have a dog, but because of my job I can’t. Do you know if I could help you sometimes as a volunteer, to care about dogs on the evenings after 7pm during the weekdays or on the weekends? I’m living close to Victoria station, therefore somewhere close to this area would be perfect for me. Looking forward to hear from you, Kind regards,
Szilvi - 31-Aug-17 @ 5:00 PM
i am interested in volunteering with animals i have had many cats and dogs in the past i am currently looking after 20 feral cats and kittens i can travel anywhere in london
none - 25-Aug-17 @ 5:26 PM
Hello, I am 16 years old and I'm really interested in volunteering at an animal shelter. I already have a dog who I'm obsessed with up so I would really enjoy helping other animals. During the week I have to attend school Mondays to Fridays until 4 but anytime after that and on the weekends would be great and preferably in central London as I don't have the opportunity to travel far from where I live in Islington.
MercyMag - 22-Aug-17 @ 3:20 PM
Hi there looking to help if possible stay in white city nd off once a week day would depend on my rota but i hope i could help and meet a few doggies too...:)
Ef - 20-Aug-17 @ 8:03 PM
Hi, I'm looking to volunteer some of my time for dog walking; helping dogs socialise; and/or help with re-homing.I have experience of owning several dogs and currently own a dog who is 4 years old (who has helped socialised a few rescue dogs). Let me know if there are any shelters or rescue centres in or surrounding areas to St Albans that I could help out in.
Helen - 17-Aug-17 @ 4:28 PM
Hi I'm 15 years old and I've volunteered at other animal shelters but I'm looking for something a bit closer to me I have many animals my self and I'm available on Sundays I can do dog walking and cat socialising I'm very good with animals and just looking for more experience thank you
Kate - 13-Aug-17 @ 8:14 AM
CaitlynSuth123 - Your Question:
Hi, I'm 13 years old and I was wondering if I could possible volunteer at an animal shelter in Staffordshire. I have experience with dogs and I really enjoy being around them. I am available on Saturday afternoons would love to help out with dog walking and cleaning, but anything would work for me. Thanks, Caitlyn.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, you are still a little young and the minimum age animal shelters will employ a person voluntarily is over 16/18. Perhaps if you have any family friends or relatives with dogs, you may be able to volunteer to help them.
SaveAPet - 11-Aug-17 @ 11:45 AM
Hi, I'm 13 years old and I was wondering if I could possible volunteer at an animal shelter in Staffordshire. I have experience with dogs and I really enjoy being around them. I am available on Saturday afternoons would love to help out with dog walking and cleaning, but anything would work for me. Thanks, Caitlyn.
Caitlyn123 - 10-Aug-17 @ 9:13 PM
Looking for voluntry dog grooming in Fife
Lindainca - 31-Jul-17 @ 8:44 PM
Evie.05 - Your Question:
Hi I am Evie I am 11years old ( I turn 12 in september ) And I wanted to know how old you must be before you may volounter? I would like to be a general vet and have wanted to ever since a I was 5. Thank you.

Our Response:
You may have to wait a little while before you can volunteer independently. Generally, you would have to be a minimum age of 16-18 years of age for insurance purposes. Some organisations may let you volunteer as a family, but you would have to ask your parent(s) or a guardian to enquire on your behalf. Good luck!
SaveAPet - 28-Jul-17 @ 2:38 PM
Hi I am Evie I am 11years old ( I turn 12 in september ) And i wanted to know how old you must be before you may volounter? I would like to be a general vet and have wanted to ever since a I was 5. Thank you.
Evie.05 - 27-Jul-17 @ 4:07 PM
i am 12 years old and I love animals i have 2 dogs and 3 cats and that made me very responcible also in london i worked as a dog walker but now im in berkshire and i would absolutely love to work for you. you w'ont have to pay it's a choice but ill do anything to work for you guys so please can I voleunteer as part of you group in berkshire please!!!!!
nomi - 4-Jun-17 @ 12:21 PM
Hello, i am twelve years old and would love an opportunity to volunteer. I love animals and want to help them as much as I can, so it would amazing if i could help them. I have a dog myself which has made me responsible and I would have experience with dogs and other animals. It would be amazing if you could let me know if there are any volunteering opportunities in your centres around Kent. Thank you!
mt - 27-May-17 @ 8:09 PM
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
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