The weather has warmed up, the pool parties have commenced, and the barbecues are primed—that’s why so many of us are eager to get out and reclaim the summer in ways we haven’t been able to in a very long time! As our lives begin to look a little more normal this summer, it’s the perfect time to reach out to your local animal shelters and rescues who are eager to welcome back volunteers and provide a more stable environment for the animals in their care.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of Palm Springs Animal Shelter and other organizations like ours. Through the kindness and dedication of volunteers, we’re able to provide the lifesaving services and programs our communities have come to rely on. And it’s not just the animals who benefit—volunteering can be a life-changing experience for people, too!
A WIN-WIN SITUATION
In the shelter environment, we constantly hear from volunteers who tell us their experience working with animals is the most rewarding work they’ve ever done. For many, volunteering fulfills a deep personal need. “I often dream of having a dog in my life, but my current work and travel schedules simply don’t allow that,” says shelter volunteer Gil Yu. “I’m not ready to adopt a dog today, but I look forward to it someday.” For animal lovers whose circumstances don’t allow for pet ownership, the time spent with shelter animals is priceless.
Volunteers are instrumental in providing structure and socialization in the shelter, as well. Shelters are an unnatural environment for animals, and many need a lot of time and attention to come out of their shells. “The best part is knowing that you helped increase the odds that an animal is adopted,” says volunteer Ori Dekel. “Transforming a skittish, fearful or even ‘wild’ dog into a happy, playful, well-behaved pup is rewarding.” Tamara Aldana adds, “I am very aware that not all dogs are treated with kindness and love. I wanted to play a role in making a difference in the lives of these animals. I’ve always had a pet who I’ve showered with love—I think every animal deserves that type of treatment.”
It is truly the volunteers who turn the shelter into a home for animals awaiting adoption. Through their time and effort, animals are able to maintain emotional and physical balance and are more ready to adjust to life as a member of a family unit when the time comes.
Shelters and rescues have tons of ways you can contribute! The needs certainly aren’t limited to walking dogs or cleaning cat crates, although those are always jobs that need to be done. Many shelters also provide opportunities to help facilitate adoptions, represent the shelter at community outreach events, and assist with the promotion of animals via photography and social media. Be sure to let the shelter staff know about your talents and passions, so they can curate a volunteer assignment perfect for you!
Volunteering in animal welfare is a fantastic way to meet like-minded people and build community. This summer, as you relax by the pool and spend time with your people and pets, make it a point to connect with the shelters serving your community and pitch in for the animals. It’s a great summer for service!
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit psanimalshelter.org.