How Volunteering With Dogs Can Change Lives

Helping out at a shelter is great, but there are so many ways to volunteer your time and your heart to help dogs in need.

By | Posted: April 23, 2014, 2 p.m. PST

If you are like most people, it’s not that you don’t want to volunteer, it’s just that you "haven’t gotten around to it,” "you don’t think you have the time,” or "you aren’t sure where to find volunteer work.”

There might never be a perfect time to start, but it’s always a great time to get involved with a cause you are passionate about. 


Photo by Gina Ciloi


As pet lovers, there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities, most of which involve helping rescued animals find homes, promoting spay/neuter, or brightening a person’s life through therapy visits, to name a few. Regardless of the work, you are volunteering your life to save another – whether it’s the dog needing a home or the lonely person in the hospital – and that makes it worth the time and effort.

Ways to Get Involved

There are so many ways to volunteers, we cannot possibly list them all. However, if you are unsure what type of volunteer work you would enjoy, here is a partial list of opportunities you can do alone or with your dog, depending on where your interests lie.

Here are some great ideas to consider if you want to…

Help Rescues

  • Volunteer at a shelter or with a local rescue
  • Be a foster parent
  • Raise money for local rescues
  • Contact companies for donations
  • Help promote adoptable pets on social media and at events
  • Work adoption events
  • Donate your time and car to transporting rescue pets to and from shelters, vets, and foster homes

Help People

  • Become a puppy raiser and help raise a future service dog
  • Do therapy visits with your own dog
  • Raise money for those who cannot afford a service dog
  • Join or start a "read to dogs” program
  • Join or start a pet therapy team


Therapy Dog. Photo by Ernie Slone


End Pet Overpopulation
  • Promote low-cost spay and neuter programs in your community
  • Create a "Spay Day” in your community
  • Raise funds for people who cannot afford a spay/neuter
  • Volunteer to help at a Spay Day Event


Start Rescue Transport


Pet Health Concerns

  • Organize or volunteer at an event such as a canine cancer walk
  • Fundraise for grants to help people pay medical bills

These are just a few ideas for you to choose from – the possibilities are almost endless.

How to Find a Volunteer Position

Now that you have decided what you want to do, how do you find a group or organization to help?
  • Ask your friends, family and coworkers
  • Check out the Pet Expos and Events in your area
  • Contact your local humane society or animal shelter to offer your services. To locate those local groups, visit the Shelter Pet Project.
The internet is obviously a great resource for dog-related volunteer opportunities. Aside from just doing a web search, check out these websites for volunteer positions:

Most importantly choose a position you are passionate about and sounds fun.

To all who are currently volunteering – thank you from all of us at DogChannel and DOG FANCY – you are helping to make our world a better place, on paw print at a time.


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