All over the United States, animal shelters are overpopulated with abandoned pets. Shelter employees work hard hours on a daily basis to make sure that these “orphans” receive food, water, health care and shelter. Providing the most basic care is hard enough. Making sure that the animals have any sort of life outside of their cage can be a luxury that is difficult to meet.
This is where shelter volunteers come in. Shelter volunteers are often given the responsibility of providing the extra services each pet needs. Whether it is providing a cat with toys in a play room, or putting a leash on a lovable dog so that it can get exercise and free time out of its cage, shelter volunteers provide a helping hand to the shelter’s paid staff.
Depending on the shelter, volunteers may be asked to help clean cages and litter boxes. They might be asked to feed the animals. But usually these tasks are performed by regular staff employed by the shelter. Interested volunteers should ask ahead of time what their particular shelter asks of volunteers.
Volunteers can also assist with another vital task. Animal shelters fall into two categories, kill or no kill. Essentially, in a kill shelter, animals are taken care of for a limited time. If they are not adopted, they are euthanized. No-kill shelters allow animals to live in the shelter until they are adopted. In either case, both types of shelters face the problem of overcrowding. Good homes for abandoned pets can be hard to find. A volunteer can make that task a bit easier by spreading the word about pets available for adoption via word of mouth, social media or flyers and brochures.
A final consideration is many businesses require or at least encourage employees to volunteer their time to improve the business’s standing in the community. Donating time to the local animal shelter may be of interest to many employees. Not only could they volunteer, but they could also help by setting up a fundraiser or a donation drive. Most animal shelters need donations of pet food, non-scoopable cat litter, towels, blankets, and even toys.
Here is a short list of some local animal shelters. Readers who are interested in volunteering can contact a shelter near them and offer to volunteer their services.
- Granny Rose Animal Shelter: 613 River Lane, Dixon, IL 61021, (815) 288-7387 (ask for Judy).
- Happy Tails Animal Shelter: 1408 McNeil Road, Rock Falls, IL 61071, (815) 626-2994.
- PAWS Humane Society: PO Box 7722, Rockford, IL 61126, (815) 299-7297.
- Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary: 111 North 1st Street, Rockford, IL 61107, (815) 962-2767.
- Friends Forever Humane Society: 966 West Rudy Road, Freeport, IL. 61032, (815) 232-6164.