How to Prepare for Volunteering with Animals

How to Prepare for Volunteering with Animals

Are you an animal lover who has always dreamed about volunteering with one of your favourite animals?

Shelters and sanctuaries exist to give vulnerable animals a place to be cared for, offering a better quality of life for animals all over the world.

Whether you’d like to stay close to home and work in a pet shelter, or you’re willing to travel to the other side of the world if it means getting hands-on with some elephants, there are some steps to take to prepare for the journey.

You can volunteer with animals to give something back or enjoy a new experience, but no matter the reason, preparing is key.

This article will explain the steps you should take before deciding on your volunteering journey to help you prepare.

Decide on a location

One of the first steps you should take when volunteering with animals is the decision of where you would like to go. You can either stay local and search for shelters near you, or you can go abroad for more exotic animals.

It will ultimately boil down to what you want to achieve, and whether you’d rather stay local or go further afield. If it’s something you’d like to do alongside your normal job, a local shelter would be the best decision.

Or if you’ve always wanted to travel, going abroad is a great way to mix travel with volunteering.

The type of animal

If you have a specific animal you would like to volunteer with, this is a good starting point. There are specific sanctuaries which specialise in looking after certain animals, so you can start your research focusing on the type of animal you’d like to work with. However, if you don’t mind which animal, you’ll have many more options.

Research, research, research

One of the most important steps is to do as much research as possible. You don’t want to jump at the first opportunity you see in case there’s something more suited to you.

Before making a decision, get in contact with a number of shelters or experiences and ask any questions you have. Find out

Background checks

For shelter companies to accept an application, you will undergo some background checks to verify that you’re safe around animals. You may be accepted with previous criminal convictions, however history of animal abuse or very serious convictions, especially any involving volunteering, may stop you from being accepted.

Interview stage

In some cases, you’ll need to go through an interview stage to make sure the right candidate is selected. It will usually just consist of an informal chat to find out about your experience and reasons for wanting to volunteer.

Why volunteer?

There are many reasons why people want to volunteer with animals. Read on below for some of the most popular reasons why you should consider it.

Animal lovers can give back

If you feel like you want to spend your time doing something impactful and useful, volunteering is the perfect way to do this. Especially if you love animals, you can give back to a group that means a lot to you.

Not only will you be able to look after them and build a meaningful bond, it won’t only help the animals themselves, but also your own mental health. Even if you can only help out in your spare time, or you’re willing to travel abroad and work full time, giving back will help both you and the animals.

Life lessons and satisfaction

Focusing on unfit or unwell animals can give you a great sense of purpose and may help you look at life differently. It’s quite unlike any job and can provide important life lessons.

Gain skills

All types of volunteer work will provide you with new skills but working with animals can offer a variety of skills that can help you in future jobs. This can be anything from confidence to in-depth knowledge about health and safety and specific animal knowledge.

These jobs are usually very hands-on and require you to really get involved which will be great for building confidence and improving things like talking to strangers and building character.