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Volunteering at an Animal Shelter

Chances are there is an animal shelter in your community. Did you know that it could always use extra help? Generally these shelters exist on limited budgets funded from taxes and nonprofits, so your volunteer time is really needed. But why should you and your child volunteer? A child benefits by bonding with the animal and learning the ethic of community service. This is especially true if your little one does not have a pet. An animal benefits by getting some badly needed human attention.

An animal shelter isn’t only for lost pets. It’s also home for animals who have been abandoned or whose owners can no longer care for them. Generally these animals are cats and dogs, but a shelter might also care for rabbits, birds, turtles, hamsters and reptiles. The care that a shelter provides includes feeding, exercising and nurturing. The latter is where your child comes in. Some shelters also provide vaccines, licensing and pet adoption services. Who knows, the pet your child bonds with at the shelter might one day come home with you.

At the shelter there are different ways to get involved. Some shelters allow your child to play with the dogs in the play yard, or with the cats in the cat room. Some have a pet club where your junior veterinarian can have regular hours with a designated animal. Some shelters do not allow minors to volunteer due to liability concerns. But if that is the case at you local shelter, there are other ways you can get involved. Almost all shelters welcome donations: towels, bowls, toys, etc. You can even organize a fundraiser to benefit your local shelter.

Volunteering at or fundraising for the animal shelter is a great way for your child to get to know and appreciate animals while benefiting an organization that needs the extra help. Find the local shelter in your area and just go for a visit. The animals will thank you.

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