DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I want to volunteer somehow to help pets in my area, but can’t really find any opportunities. I called the local shelter, and they said they aren’t accepting volunteers right now. Why not? I thought shelters were desperate for help. Where else can I look? – Tanya J., via email
DEAR TANYA: While some shelters accept any help that is offered, many have implemented more controlled volunteer programs. This allows them to have a better handle on which volunteers are available at certain times, who has more experience working with animals and who has less, and so on.
A better question to ask your local shelter is whether it has any volunteer programs available, now or in the near future, or any other opportunities to help. If not, you can ask if it is affiliated with a larger organization, such as the ASPCA, and find a contact there who has information about volunteer opportunities.
Many shelters offer fundraising events that are more fun and less work. If you’re not able to give money to the cause, you could offer to help at these events. Or, you can participate in charity walks – either by yourself or by rounding up a group of friends – and raise money that way.
Check your local newspaper for event listings and news from the local shelter. Many newspapers have an online component, and could have a lot more information on their website in a section reserved for the local shelters.
Visit the veterinarian and look for a bulletin board in the waiting room. If there is one, there likely are notices posted about events and volunteer opportunities. Or you can talk to the vet or an assistant during your pet’s checkup about your interest in volunteering somewhere, somehow.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.