Becoming a volunteer for animals at local pet shelters is a great way to instill charitable and humane values in kids. Animal shelters have networks of people that contribute time, money, and resources to meet the needs of the pets in the shelter’s care. Often this network is made primarily of volunteers. Children, even young ones, can become part of this network by donating time or through other creative projects.
Volunteer Time at a Local Pet Shelter
Local pet shelters rely on volunteers to help care for many of the basic needs of the rescued pets. Kids may be able to help clean or spend time petting and brushing the animals. However, animal shelters often have minimum age limits for volunteers. This is for the safety of the children and the animals. There are risks associated with animal shelter work such as getting scratched, bit, or exposed to diseases such as cat scratch fever. If your child is too young to volunteer directly with the animals, don’t give up. For kids too young to become regular animal shelter volunteers there may be other options for them to volunteer for animals in the community.
Join the Animal Shelter’s Youth Program
Some shelters have programs or clubs for young kids that involve educational activities and some time spent with the shelter animals.
Volunteer at the Animal Shelter with Your Child
Some shelters may allow kids under the minimum age to volunteer with a parent. If you contact a shelter that has age restrictions for regular volunteers, do ask if your child can volunteer with you.
Raise Money for the Animal Shelter
Even county and city pet shelters need donations to help provide the best of care for resident cats, dogs, rabbits, and other animals. Kids can do a lot a good work for a shelter by raising money that can be donated to the shelter. With an adult’s help, kids can plan out a way to earn money such as a coin collection at school or selling no longer used toys on eBay.
Collect Supplies to Donate
Contact a local shelter and ask for its “wish list.” This is a list that shelters have that lists specific items like dog food or dog beds that they need. Also ask if there is anything not on the wish list that may be needed currently. For example, if the shelter needs a new printer because one just broke that may not be on the list. Kids can use this list to ask companies, friends, and family for these specific items. With an adult’s help they can then take all of the items to the shelter.
Get Media Attention
In addition to raising funds and supply donations you can also contact the local media to have a story done on the child’s efforts. This is an excellent opportunity to try and gain some good publicity for the child’s good deed and for the local pet shelter to showcase some pets that need adoption. Such feel good stories are hard for the local news and public to resist. Your child’s 15 minutes of fame can also bring in more support for your local pet shelter and encourage others to volunteer for animals.