What does a volunteer in an animal shelter do?

Shelter volunteers provide a charitable service to help pets have been victims of cruelity and abandonment. This person work is essentinal to shelterr due to their scarce funding and the fact that they are always overflowing with work
What does a volunteer in an animal shelter do?

Last update: 09 October, 2018

Animal shelters are institutions that are important to any society. They are responsible for caring for, protecting and defending abandoned and abused animals. These centers work due to the charitable services of volunteers. In this article, you can learn about animal shelters more in-depth and find out what you can do as a volunteer.

What is an animal shelter volunteer?

Volunteers are people who donate their time and effort. Volunteers are people who spend their free time doing a job in exchange for the satisfaction of having done it. 

Volunteers don’t just work in animal shelters. There are many other social projects that work thanks to the efforts of volunteers. Anyone can volunteer for any cause they would like to help, and there usually isn’t any specific requirement to work for them.  

To work in an animal shelter, you really only need free time, commitment and the desire to work. Of course, the compensation you’ll receive isn’t financial, but it’s totally an emotional experience.

Cleaning services

Cleaning the shelters may seem like a boring job, but it’s important for the well-being of the animals that live there. The animals’ enclosures — not just those of the dogs — have to be cleaned on daily basis to ensure the hygiene and health of their inhabitants.

A man working on the enclosures of dogs

Many of the volunteers who work at shelters do mostly cleaning jobs such as sweeping, remaking beds, removing blankets and broken toys, and scrubbing the floor. It’s also necessary to clean the food bowls after giving the animals their food and to change their water.

Dog Walks

After cleaning, it’s time to go for a walk. Life inside the shelters is boring for dogs and they’ll appreciate getting outside for a bit; they’ll explore new places and follow new scents. 

The walks make a difference among animal shelters.  Some take the dogs out for walks every day while others organize mass walks once a week. Those that are located in urban areas have different walk schedules than those in rural areas. 

A man walking a dog from a shelter

Remember, when it comes to abandoned dogs, going out for walks could be a delicate situation because not all of them know how to walk on a leash and some won’t get along with other dogs. So, in such cases, you should listen to the advice from older volunteers for good walks. 

Welcoming Homes

Welcoming homes are fundamental to an operating animal shelter. Volunteers allow animals in their home for a limited amount of time when they need a place to stay.

These are volunteers that take care of an animal at their own home and don’t work in a shelter. These people will take care of the animals until the shelter finds someone to adopt the animal. Afterward, these volunteers always have the option to take care of another animal from the shelter.


Volunteers who spend time with the animals are necessary. However, the funding of the shelter is just as important. There are volunteers in animal shelters who are dedicated exclusively to raising funds to pay the bills and food. 

Shelter dog being introduced to a family for adoption

Some shelters are associations and they need to find partners in order to stay operating; others go to street markets and sell handicrafts. However, others take advantage of subsidies and sponsorships to cover veterinary expenses.

Business owners can also help by doing fundraising events, community solidarity dinners, and even raffles full of attractive products are good ways to raise money. Again, if you want to volunteer in an animal shelter, get in touch with one in your area and they will tell you what you can do.

A place for everyone

But that’s not all: much more help is needed and everyone can help out. A volunteer’s work in an animal shelter is more than just walking dogs and raising funds, especially because everyone has the skills that are required to work for one.

For example, animals shelters need electricians to do maintenance, editors to help find homes for the animals, lawyers who can take charge of any animal cruelty cases, etc. These centers have a space for all kinds of people and skills.

Animal shelters are based on the voluntary work of many people. No two associations work the same way, and there is room for anyone that’s willing to help. There are many different ways anyone can volunteer at an animal shelter.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.