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Volunteering at Pet Rescue Centres or Animal Shelters

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 25 May 2024 | 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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Hello I’m 14 I turn 15 this year I love animals and I really want to volunteer I am trying to find somewhere close to Loughborough where I could volunteer at so please if you have any availability or anything can u please let me know
Rue - 25-May-24 @ 6:40 PM
Hello, I'm 14 years old and I would love to volunteer with animals especially cats and I can also do dog walks. I absolutely love pets and I have grown up with pets most of my life I have 2 cats which I love spending time with. I am looking to volunteer in Sheen, London so please contact me!
Asia - 28-Apr-24 @ 8:29 PM
Hey I'm 13 turning 14 year old female who is looking to do volunteer work as I love working with animals and have experience with troubled dogs, I have 2 dogs, 2 rats, and a parrot I use to also have a rabbit. I want to be a vet when I'm older, please contact me, many thanks -hollie
Hollie - 9-Apr-24 @ 2:40 PM
Hi I am 12 years old and I am turning 13 very soon I would really love to volunteer because I love dogs and it would be a good experience for me I am free in weekends and holidays only .I love taking care of dogs and I really hope I can help take care of the dogs . Also will I be allowed to brin someone with me.
HR - 19-Dec-23 @ 12:17 PM
Hello, I am 13 and looking for a volunteering opportunity working and caring for animals to support my DofE. I am also interested in becoming a vet so would like this opportunity to continue longer term to support my learning and practical development. I am a keen horse rider and have 2 horses. I also have 3 dogs, 2 of which are rescue dogs and have lots of practical experience with animals that need help with illness or are scared after being mistreated. I would love to find an opportunity to help volunteer on the weekends as I have a lot to offer in supporting and helping animals. I am based in the Cardiff area and hope that I can find something local to me. Thanks.
KitCat - 10-Sep-21 @ 11:29 PM
Hello I am 13 years old and I am looking to volunteer for animal care, this is for my dofe but I am looking to start early and continue afterwards. I have quite a lot of experience with animals that vary from chickens, goats to cats and dogs. I would hope there are available times on the weekends at any time. I would love to have this opportunity as I am very fond of animals and I would like to also learn as much as I can about them. I hope that i am able to hear from you soon. Thank you.
Tolu - 26-Jul-21 @ 11:11 PM
I'm a 16 year old girl who just finished my GCSE studies and due to having a bit of free time wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter. I've had a dog before for 7 years. I wanted to apply because I have a love for animals and would love to do something that I love
juvi - 31-May-21 @ 11:03 PM
Hi I'm 14 and live in croydon I'm interested in volunteering for yourselves I'm a very reliable person with the need to learn I'm trustworthy and loyal I adore all animals and feel at ease with all I like to help others and be a part of a team but also confident enough to work alone hope to hear back from yourselves and be part of your team thankyou
Mo - 19-May-21 @ 12:06 PM
Hi I’m a 14 year old female and I’m looking to do some volunteering work for my DofE award! I love animals and I have a cat and a dog. I have experience dog walking and I know how to care for a cat :) I would love to carry this on even after my DofE award as I adore working with animals. I would preferably like to work after school hours or on the weekend, whatever’s good for you. I would say I have plenty of experience with animals to know what I’m doing! I hope to hear from you soon :)
Becky - 17-May-21 @ 5:41 PM
Hi I’m 12 year old female and I would love to volunteer here and I absolutely love animals with all my heart so volunteering here would be perfect for me even if it’s just cleaning up after them or giving love to animals who need it !!
Kay - 24-Apr-21 @ 8:38 PM
Hello, I am a 14 year old girl and I was looking to volunteer for an animal rescue but I was struggling to find anything for my age range. I am doing this for my DofE award but looking to continue it afterwards as I love animals and have been raised up with bunnies, guinea pigs, plenty of cats and dogs. I would happily sit all day with a cat and dog and give it lots of attention and walk them. I have quite a bit of experience with animals but would still love to learn more.
Immy - 13-Apr-21 @ 2:57 PM
Hi I am 14 years old female and I am looking to volunteer doing anything to do with animal I have a dog chicken and ducks I have also had cats in the past I love all animals I am doing my dofe Please get in contact with me if you have any volunteer work for me Thank you Mia
Mia - 7-Apr-21 @ 11:30 AM
Hi I am 12 and am looking to do some volunteer work with animals. I would like to be a vet when I am older and have read that volunteering at shelters and rescue centres can help with that. I can be mature and am not fussed by poo or sick and ADORE all animals. I would love to help out.
Bethan - 21-Mar-21 @ 8:45 PM
I am a 14 year old female and I love animals I have two Guinea pigs and a labrador puppy and am very interested in doing some volunteer work to help other people and animals. I am free most weekends and after school and would be thrilled to help out walking dogs to cleaning really anything. So if you could get in touch to notify me of any positions, thank you.
Charlotte - 6-Feb-21 @ 4:33 PM
Hi, I'm almost 14, female and I'm looking for some volunteer work for my DofE. I love animals, I have a cat and two rabbits and I have experience with walking dogs. I have a lot of spare time and not much to do with it. I'd love to help out with cat socialising and/or dog walking, after school hours preferably. Though I'm not sure there's much I can do (with covid). But I hope there is something and I hope to hear from you soon.. Thanks!
Caia - 4-Feb-21 @ 11:15 AM
Hi! my name is Lila and I turn 15 soon I love working with animals I'd absolutely love to work in a space around them even if I'm just tidying up or making other people drinks I find just being in a space with animals is so calming and fills me with joy. I'm happy to take on responsibility and volunteer regularly (just not during school hours) so please do let me know if any opportunities come up and I hope to hear back soon.
Lila - 25-Nov-20 @ 10:42 PM
Hey I’m a 13 year old female that would like to volunteer working with dogs when not at school. I have a dog of my own from a rescue and want to help the sort of place where I got my fur baby.
Fern - 25-Nov-20 @ 10:14 PM
Hi, i am 12 years old, turning 13 and am looking for a volenteering job. I prefer to work with dogs and could even make drinks for staff and volunteers! I am more mature for my age than you nay think and dont mind taking on responsibility and am ready for a real commitment. I have little experience however i have puppysat before and taken dogs on walks too! I wouldn't even mind cleaning the dogs! Thank you.
Mandy - 25-Nov-20 @ 4:46 PM
Hi, I am 13 years old and I'm trying for over a month for a dog walking job and volunteering but I am not eligible for most of them if you could give me some tips that would be great
Maegan - 6-Aug-20 @ 2:39 PM
Hello I'm a 13 year old girl, I've grown up with dogs my intire life and had been walking them since 10 I've walked larger dogs too that do pull and I want to consider trying out for the dog walking.
Jamie - 14-Jan-20 @ 9:33 PM
I'm just wondering how to start volunteering, I'm really interested and would like volunteer with cats... just wondering.
abi - 11-Dec-19 @ 6:08 PM
Hiya,I’m Turing 14 next year and I’m in search of a job. I’m good with dogs as I have trained my own 4 year old Labrador, and I’m wondering if there’s any possible way for me to volunteer from cleaning kennels, to dog walking I’m happy with anything.But I’ll only be able to volunteer on weekends, mainly sundays due to school and I was wondering if there still is any dog walking or cat socliasing spaces left. Many thanks
sarah - 28-Oct-19 @ 5:13 PM
Hiya,I’m Turing 14 next year and I’m in search of a job. I’m good with dogs as I have trained my own 4 year old Labrador, and I’m wondering if there’s any possible way for me to volunteer from cleaning kennels, to dog walking I’m happy with anything.But I’ll only be able to volunteer on weekends, mainly sundays due to school and I was wondering if there still is any dog walking or cat socliasing spaces left. Many thanks.
Maisy - 20-Oct-19 @ 1:03 AM
Hi, I'm a 12 year old girl and I love all animals so I was wondering if there would be any possible way to volunteer. I would do anything to do this because I want to be a vet when I’m older so I think this would be great experience and I would be so happy if I could do this.
Paige - 13-Oct-19 @ 8:45 PM
I’m a 12 year old girl who gets along very well with animals so I was just wondering if I could volunteer even if it’s just taking them on walks or making drinks for staff
Stevo - 19-Aug-19 @ 6:59 PM
Hello, I live near Chichester and am interested in volunteer dog walking as part of my silver d of e. I am 15 and was wondering if there was any opportunity for me to walk a dog at the weekends for 6 months, an hour a week. If so I would really appreciate if you got back to me. Many thanks.
priya - 30-Jun-19 @ 4:44 PM
Hello I am interested in taking on some volunteer work to care for animals/walk dogs etc..physical interaction with animals would be my preferance ..The hours can vary around my present lifestyle and job. I am studying for a dog walking /pet sitting diploma and i also.own an amazingly energetic border collie called Ollie.. Ollie is 11 this year and is showing early signs of not wanting so many walks even though his mind is very active ,very much like myself....
Jack - 25-Jun-19 @ 11:55 AM
Hi, I would love to spend some quality time with dogs. I love dog walking and I would like to support you and make a difference. How can I apply for a dog walking position? Thank you
Fede - 16-Jun-19 @ 9:52 AM
My daughter is 12 years old and has an amazing connection with animals-she seems to bond with them very easily-she would love to spend some of her spare time doing some volunteering with animals but I’m struggling to find anywhere because of her age-I am happy to go along with her if this would help Many thanks
Tasha - 19-May-19 @ 7:19 PM
Hi we are both 12 turning 13 and would love volunteer work in the summer we both have pets I (Paige) have 3 dogs and one is from a rescuecentre and I have 1 rabbit,fish and 3 horses and used to have a cat that we rescued Lexie has 3 cats and one puppy at her dads so we have experience and love to help out
Paige and lex - 30-Apr-19 @ 11:14 AM
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