Do you have a love for animals but you aren’t in a place to adopt? Whether you already have enough pets, not enough time, or not the right home environment, you can still help out without actually adopting! Shelters and rescues are in constant need of volunteers with a variety of talents and abilities.

If you don’t have a lot of animal experience, that’s okay! Other volunteers are always willing to teach others, or you could take on a different role such as taking photos or helping with social media.

By volunteering, you’ll not only make a difference in your local animal rescue community, but you’ll also be helping animals in need. Here’s how you can get involved:

Foster an Animal From a Shelter or Rescue

Rescues are always in need of new fosters. By fostering, you are providing a place for a homeless pet to live until it finds its forever home. You may also need to spare some time to take the animal to adoption events.

Each rescue has different rules when it comes to fostering, so be sure to ask about events, vetting and expenses such as food, toys, bedding, etc. In addition, ask yourself these questions to ensure you’re ready for the commitment:

  • Do you live with anyone else? Are they okay with fostering?

  • Do you have enough time and resources to dedicate to the animal?

  • Do you have any current pets? Are they friendly?

  • Will you be able to say goodbye to your foster when it gets adopted?

  • Are you prepared to treat this animal like it’s your own during its stay?

  • Will you have extra time for cleanup and other responsibilities?

  • Do you have any animal/breed restrictions where you live?

  • Will you have extra time to help train the animal?

Fosters are a big part of what helps keep animal shelters and rescues going. They keep animals out of the stressful boarding environment while making room for new animals to come in.

Transport Animals at a Rescue

Volunteer transporters are responsible for transporting an animal by vehicle to wherever it’s going next: a new rescue organization, foster home, forever home, or to an event.

If you’re interested in being an animal transporter you can find many resources online for animal rescue organizations in your area.

Volunteer at Your Local Shelter

Most shelters have volunteer programs that you can look into. There is usually orientation and training, plus a minimum age and time requirement.

There are generally several volunteer opportunities you can choose from, depending on what your local shelter offers. Here are a few examples:

  • Animal interactions

  • Customer service

  • Housekeeping

  • Clerical support

  • Special events and pet showcasing

  • Youth education

Donate to a Shelter or Rescue

You can donate money to shelters and rescues, but there is more you can do beyond that. There are several items that can also be donated to the animals in need:

  • Cat litter

  • Kennels

  • Dog food

  • Dog toys

  • Water and food bowls

  • Leashes and collars

  • Blankets and towels

  • Beds

With such a large volume of animals coming in and out of shelters and rescues, they need a lot of supplies to keep up. Anything you can donate helps immensely.

Volunteering benefits both the animals and the people who work night and day keeping shelters and rescues operating smoothly. Even without animal experience, you can find ways to offer your support. Help Equity Bank spread happiness to pets in need by supporting a local cause or finding a volunteer opportunity here.