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Cats and Dogs Can Change the World

If you’re an animal lover and interested in volunteering, there are many ways you can make a difference where animals are involved. Here are a few ways to combine the two.

Choose your own animal adventure.
At paws.org, volunteers care for wildlife and pets, advocate for animals, and educate their communities about important animal issues. There are opportunities for kids to fundraise and sponsor animals, to be foster owners, and in some cases, to earn school credit. The organization also has resources for classroom education.

Give some much-needed therapy.
After completing a training and screening process with PetPartners, you can benefit the health and well-being of people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, retirement communities, rehabilitation centers and many other facilities. The program was established in 1990 to ensure that “both ends of the leash,” people as well as animals, were well prepared to participate in animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted therapy programs for therapy pets. Join their nationwide team of volunteers working with nine diverse animal species.

Make it a dog walk in the park.
If your community has a dog park, chances are it’s run by volunteers who could use some extra help with cleaning and maintaining a fresh set of supplies like toys, water bowls and waste bags. Find contact information online, or posted at your local park. No park in your town? Here’s how you can
start your own.

Be a hero to man’s (and woman's) best friend.
For thirty years, Red Rover has been bringing animals from crisis to care, and preventing animal cruelty from happening in the first place. There are ways for volunteers to make a difference in ten minutes or less, by making a short video or distributing safety flyers in your neighborhood. If you have a little more time, you can help out in their office, work with their fundraising team, or raise community awareness by distributing humane literature. And for long-term volunteer work, you can become one of the nearly 3,000 active volunteers who provide lifesaving care and shelter for animal victims of natural disaster, cruelty and neglect.

Keep it simple.
Looking for something you can do on a whim in your neighborhood or town?
Contact your local pet shelter and see what they need. You could help a pet owner on your street by offering to take their dog on a walk, trim its nails or take it to the vet. And to help teach youngsters in your neighborhood about responsible pet ownership, you can always hire them to watch or house sit your pets whenever you plan to leave town.

Find more great ideas to volunteer with animals using keyword “pets.”