Celebrate National Volunteer Week

From helping out rescue groups to volunteering at shelters, there are countless ways dog lovers can make a difference in their community.

During National Volunteer Week, dog lovers of all ages can get involved with animal welfare. 

“Helping out locally is a big step in making your community more humane,” says Denise Bash, Program Manager for the Petfinder.com Foundation. Finding a local rescue group to aid is only a click away. DogChannel.com offers a search tool in the Adopted Dog Resource Center.

You can also find shelters through the Petfinder.com home page. Just click on Find Animal Welfare Groups.

Most groups make a wish list of volunteer help and needed supplies to help them rescue more pets.

Be sure to contact the group in advance. “Some organizations are inundated with certain supplies, just because it is free does not mean they can use it,” says Bash. “Ask them honestly what they really need or what they need to get done that they need help with.” 

Common items needed:

  • Cat litter (check first—they may need a specific type)
  • Pet food (many organizations are brand-specific to make sure that the animals do not get sick from switching food)
  • Raised beds for shelters, toys, crates and kennels, collars and leashes.

Consider holding a “collection drive” among your neighbors or friends.  Many people in your community are interested in helping animals.

Shelters also need volunteers willing to foster dogs, walk dogs and help clean facilities.

Many organizations do have age limits regarding volunteers, but kids can still help. “Kids are incredible fundraisers; set up a lemonade stand or bake sale.”

Increasingly, you can even help shelters just by clicking Like on Facebook.

For example, for each new fan that registers on the Bissell Homecare Inc. Facebook page beginning this summer, the company will make a donation to the Petfinder.com Foundation, with a goal of contributing a total of $50,000.

Part of the money will go toward funding an Animal Lifeline trip in 2011. Animal Lifeline is a support organization for rescues, shelters and municipal groups that partners with the Petfinder.com Foundation to take groups of student volunteers and animal care professionals to provide education and resources to rural shelters in great need. Click to see a video of how these trips benefit local shelters.

To learn more about the PetFinder.com Foundation, click here.

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