You call yourself an animal lover yet haven’t really done anything for your four-legged friends. However, sporadically feeding strays doesn’t count! Well, 2020 could be the year that desire changes into action. In our first of the series, Resolution 2020, we propose making new furry friends.
When most people think of helping animals, they think of adoption or donations of money or time. But there’s a more direct way of offering your help. Go down to an animal rescue centre and volunteer your services in person.
There are many things you can to do to help, from the more labour-intensive stuff like cleaning and grooming to dog walking, advocacy, public relations, and even photography. Decide what tasks you’d be most comfortable with and make sure the staff is aware of any limitations you may have. As you spend more time volunteering, you’ll settle into a routine that lets you juggle your other responsibilities. There are many more takeaways to this resolution 2020!
5 benefits of volunteering with animals
1. You make new friends (the human kind). Volunteering at an animal care centre widens your social circle and incorporates compassionate people who share your interest in helping animals.
2. 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.
3. Volunteering gives us a sense of satisfaction for helping others, can lower stress, make you feel needed and appreciated. A study reported on in Natural Health magazine in 2007 showed that 95% of volunteers surveyed said they gained a “helper’s high” — a feeling of euphoria and energy. Enough reason to get working on resolution 2020.
4. Whether you’re working the phones, grooming or arranging meet-and-greet sessions with potential owners, you are gaining experience in many areas that can have great benefits in other areas of your life. Young adults can become better acquainted with animals, experience a set schedule of responsibilities, and gain a reference for employment.
5. 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!
How to go about it
If volunteers are in such dire need, then, why do some non-profits have such complicated application processes? Believe it or not, it’s not to frustrate or deter you — it’s to ensure that you are committed and reliable.
Too often, shelters receive interest from people who aren’t prepared to dedicate more than 1 or 2 visits at the most. If each volunteer needs training to handle the animals and understand standard procedures, the process is a waste when trained volunteers quit after spending as little as 20 minutes playing with the animals.
Not only does this organisation rescue and rehabilitate street animals, it is also a sanctuary for cows, dogs, and donkeys who are too fragile to survive on the streets.
What you can do: They have flexible volunteering schedules. You will be assigned a range of tasks from feeding and bathing the animals to assisting in physical therapy. They especially encourage you to socialize and cuddle with the sanctuary dogs, who need love and affection. To know more about volunteering at Animal Aid Unlimited, click here
Blue Cross of India is virtually synonymous with animal welfare in Chennai and have drawn nationwide acclaim for their excellence in their field. Though it started small with the four founding members, today the effects of their work are being reflected throughout India.
What you can do: They have many volunteers from all walks of life who freely donate their time and expertise to facilitating their projects. Besides, you can take care of animals on the campus and rescue services. Fill out this online form to begin.
The organization had a humble beginning. Red Paws Rescue is the vision of Sadhwi Sondhi who at the young age of 17 decided to create awareness to the plight of stray and abandoned animals in New Delhi by starting her own NGO. The name Red Paws Rescue comes from Sadhwi’s pet, a happy and playful dog who loved her bones, naps in the sun, doing her doggie tricks and watching the rain from the porch.
The aims of Red Paws Rescue include finding homes for Indian dogs and pups, placing abandoned pets into loving homes, mass sterilizations of stray animals in different zones across New Delhi.
What you can do: Fill out this form to volunteer with the organization. Volunteering includes spending time with the puppies, spreading awareness, picking donations etc.
The Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (including the Bai Sakarbai Dinshaw Petit Hospital for Animals) was established in 1874 and is over 144 years in existence.
What you can do: Be a foster mom or dad for litters of puppies / kittens / birds. Be a canine companion or a feline friend, walk dogs on weekdays and weekends, groom dogs and horses. Use your digital photography on the rescued cats and dogs. Or become an emergency help and rescue correspondent or data entry operator. Click here to volunteer at BSPCA.
How to prep yourself for volunteering
– Set aside at least 2 hours per week specifically for spending at the centre.
– Turn your volunteer time into part of your routine so it’s harder to skip.
– Consider becoming a volunteer with a friend or family member so you can go together.
If you can stick with this resolution 2020, volunteering with animals is one of the most rewarding experiences available. All it requires is a little dedication and a whole lot of love.