Volunteer

Interested in making a difference in your community? One of the best places to volunteer may be right near you: an animal shelter or animal protection organization.

Whether you walk dogs at your shelter, stuff envelopes for an educational mailing or assist with a fundraising event, you can make a difference in the lives of animals.

Here are just a few of the benefits of volunteering:

Be part of the solution. You’ll join a network of hundreds of thousands of people working to make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures. You’ll make the jobs of everyone working for animals a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection.

Get warm fuzzies. You’ll never find a more grateful and accepting comrade than an animal you’ve comforted.

Keep good company. You’ll make lots of new friends—and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.

Meet the new you. You’ll discover skills you never knew you had, and you may be surprised at what you’re capable of achieving.

Gain experience and a new career. You’ll learn things that may lead you to the career—or career change—of your dreams. Employers and college admissions officers look favorably on time spent in volunteer service.

Enjoy a wagging tail, a purr, and a smile. Didn’t someone once say that the best things in life are free?

Your efforts will help an animal get ready and increase its chances for a new home. Animals coming into the shelter vary according to their needs. A feral cat may need to be socialized, a dog may have mats to remove or a guinea pig may be underweight. Animals that appear happy and healthy have a higher chance of being adopted, and shelters need your help to achieve this.

Boost your mood — and your health. Volunteering gives us a sense of satisfaction for helping others, can lower stress, make you feel needed and appreciated, increase happiness and so much more. A study reported on in Natural Health magazine in 2007 showed that 95 percent of volunteers surveyed said they gained a “helper’s high” — a feeling of euphoria and energy. Volunteering truly is a feel-good activity, and what better way to spend the day than with cuddly and furry friends?

Trying something new is fun! A new activity can be exciting and a change of pace for a mundane or repetitive schedule. Why not make that something new be volunteering? You will gain a host of other benefits, and the rush of happiness when a pet you helped gets a new “forever home” is nothing short of amazing.Stay active. Being a volunteer keeps your mind, body and emotions active and healthy. Sitting at home on weekends in front of a television can get boring and leave many of your talents unused. Volunteering that time instead keeps you thinking, moving and feeling, and can help increase physical mobility. Besides, playing with a puppy sounds much more fun than being a couch potato!

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