5 Fun Volunteer Ideas to Help Shelter Dogs

5 Fun Volunteer Ideas
5 Fun Volunteer Ideas to Help Shelter Dogs
Feel-good volunteer work that helps dogs in need!


Transport Animals

Road trip, anyone? All you need is a vehicle to help with the rescue of “death row” dogs. There are many groups that organize volunteers to drive a portion of a multi-leg journey, moving pups from over-crowded high-kill shelters to an awaiting home or reputable rescue in a neighbouring city or province/state. Reach Out Rescue & Resources is one of the groups that regularly pulls dogs from kill shelters where they have simply run out of time. To volunteer to help transport dogs and give them a second chance at life, simply fill out the form on their site, reachoutrescue.org, or google “rescue dog transport” to find an organization near you.  


Become a Foster Parent

Overcrowded animal shelters are the rule, not the exception, so many rely on foster parents to provide a loving home without cages and kennels. By fostering, you save two dogs—the one you foster and the one you make space for in the shelter. “Our foster program helps animals who have a good chance of adoption, but who are either too young, sick, injured, under-socialized or emotionally stressed in the shelter environment,” says Kim Monteith, BC SPCA manager of animal welfare. There’s just one problem: your foster dog may become your fur-ever pet—many fosters fall in love and end up adopting their furry charge, a happy outcome for all involved. To provide a temporary home for a pup in need, contact your local shelter or rescue group and ask if they’re in need of foster homes.


Videographer and Photographer 

Videos and photos can actually save dogs’ lives by attracting attention on websites featuring adoptable pets and sparking social media buzz, increasing chances of adoption. No fancy camera is needed. In fact, your smart phone will do just fine, though by all means, your pro equipment is welcome. Reach out to your local shelter or rescue group and offer your services. A few tips: Arrange enough time beforehand to meet your subjects out of their cages and get them comfortable; avoid dreary backdrops (you may want to bring a backdrop with you if you’re taking photos in the shelter); cheerful accessories like bandanas or bowties are always a good idea; bring treats; get eye-level; and find out favourite playtime activities (ballistic for balls?) to get a smile. If you’re a budding videographer and/or photographer, what a great way to build your portfolio!


Copy Writer for Pet Bios

Sure, a picture says a thousand words, but a short bio can help a rescue pup stand out! A well written description is a memorable marketing tool that provides details to motivate a potential adopter. Drop by your local shelter and offer your services. Then put your fingers to the keyboard and write a great pet profile. Not only will it ultimately attract an ideal adopter, it will also hone your writing skills and build your confidence as a writer. Visit petrescue.com for tips on how to write a great bio for an adoptable pup.


Park/Trail Cleanup

Become a clean park/trail advocate. Chances are, your neighbourhood has a clean trails program and/or event you can join. For instance, Edmonton’s “Dogs Off-Leash” members recently hosted a fun Year of the Dog social meet-up followed by a group poop-clean-up effort in their local off-leash area. Or simply make it a habit to collect any trash or poop you encounter while on a walk, hike or beach run with your dog. Post the results with Clean Trails (cleantrails.org), a sustainability-focused nonprofit organization that galvanizes volunteers to support clean up initiatives in their local outdoor communities.

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