I came across this article at petful.com. I wanted to share it with you to inspire you to volunteer. We need help and we need you!
1. Meet new friends. You will be surrounded by people who love animals as much as you do, and they might even become your lifelong friends. This widens your social circle and incorporates compassionate people who share your interest in helping animals. Guinea pigs, rabbits and even birds end up in shelters, so you’ll also learn about other animals too.
2. Your efforts will help an animal get ready and increase its chances for a new home. Animals coming into the shelter vary according to their needs. A feral cat may need to be socialized, a dog may have mats to remove or a guinea pig may be underweight. Animals that appear happy and healthy have a higher chance of being adopted, and shelters need your help to achieve this.
3. Boost your mood — and your health. Volunteering gives us a sense of satisfaction for helping others, can lower stress, make you feel needed and appreciated, increase happiness and so much more. A study reported on in Natural Health magazine in 2007 showed that 95 percent of volunteers surveyed said they gained a “helper’s high” — a feeling of euphoria and energy. Volunteering truly is a feel-good activity, and what better way to spend the day than with cuddly and furry friends?
4. Gain experience. Whether you’re working the phones, stuffing mailers, grooming or arranging meet-and-greet sessions with potential owners, you are gaining experience in many areas that can have great benefits in other areas of your life. Young adults can become better acquainted with animals, experience a set schedule of responsibilities, and gain a reference for an employment or college application. Working adults may include it on their resume or incorporate animal shelters into their work-related events and charitable causes. Someone who is unemployed can get a boost of self-esteem and confidence by being part of a vital team while looking for work.
5. Trying something new is fun! A new activity can be exciting and a change of pace for a mundane or repetitive schedule. Why not make that something new be volunteering? You will gain a host of other benefits, and the rush of happiness when a pet you helped gets a new “forever home” is nothing short of amazing.
6. Stay active. Being a volunteer keeps your mind, body and emotions active and healthy. Sitting at home on weekends in front of a television can get boring and leave many of your talents unused. Volunteering that time instead keeps you thinking, moving and feeling, and can help increase physical mobility. Besides, playing with a puppy sounds much more fun than being a couch potato!
7. Become part of a very important team. Animal shelters need money and people to stay open. Some of them face closure constantly, and you could be that one extra hand that helps another pet get adopted, shepherds through another donation or encourages a new person to volunteer. The ASPCA estimates that there are about 5,000 shelters across the country, and these shelters take in an average of five to seven million animals per year. The animals keep coming, and more people are needed every day.