For National Volunteer Week, I am taking a moment each day to highlight one area of volunteering.
The one area of volunteering I am most passionate about – that I myself am most involved in and feel the most passion for, is volunteering for anything that benefits for or benefits from animals.
The first area people will think of when I say animal volunteers is animal welfare. But this category alone is broad. In general I mean those that volunteer for an organization that seeks to aide and improve the life of animals in their community and the world including humane societies and animal rescue volunteers including cat socializers and dog walkers, trainers that volunteer to help with behavior problems, clerical workers, event planners, and foster homes. Then there are anti-cruelty activists that seek legislation, educate the public on atrocities such as dog-fighting, and look into the use of animals in product testing and other laboratory animals. But this can also include many others such as volunteers at your local zoo, dog park advocates, the organizations that include dogs in their walks, and even those people that just seem to attract stray dogs and help them find their way back to their owner by taking the time to call the owners or taking the animal to an animal welfare agency that will try to re-connect them.
In addition to those that volunteer to help animals, there are also those that use animals to help others such as pet therapy volunteers and search and rescue teams. Pet therapy can include visiting people with pets to improve their spirits by the connection we have with animals, or dogs that help people in physical therapy by encouraging them to walk with the dog or even acting as a ‘crutch’ for them to lean on. Of course remember the animals themselves that aid us – the cats and dogs that visit the ill to improve their spirits, the dogs used for physical therapy, the dogs used for search and rescue.
Animal activism often crosses over into environmental in the case national and world-wide anti-cruelty volunteers who love wild animals and seeking to improve their chances of survival and their homes.
A BIG thank you to all those that give their time to make animals’ and our lives better.