Lately, it seems that I’m constantly running behind. Today’s post is no exception. Writing a post for Blog the Change for Animals has been on my to do list for over a week, yet I’m still barely getting it up before the day is done. Luckily, a topic has been percolating in my brain for a while now, so here we go…
Have you ever thought about volunteering for a rescue group? I’ll admit – it took me a while to turn my intentions into actions. I would occasionally send an email to a rescue group for information, but somehow it never really clicked.
For today’s Blog the Change event, I decided to share a little bit about my experience and encourage you not to give up if you’re interested in working with a rescue group. I had my own form of Goldilocks syndrome – it took me a while to find a group and volunteer opportunities that were a good fit. With a little persistence and patience, you can find your fit as well.
For me, things finally changed once I read an article about Second Chance Photos. I’d never considered offering my services as a volunteer photographer before, and reading about the organization gave me the push I needed to seriously pursue volunteering with a local rescue group. I emailed several local organizations, and one took me up on my offer. (I later had the opportunity to attend a Second Chance Photos workshop, and it was fantastic.)
My experience taking photos of some of the animals at Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) led to other opportunities. In order to make the logistics of photo shoots easier, one of the other volunteers suggested I sign up for dog walker training. (Before taking the training, I had to have another volunteer get the dogs out of their runs and bring them to me for photos. Now I can get dogs out myself. I’ll be candid – I haven’t done any formal photo shoots since taking the training, but I’m going to revisit this option soon. I wanted to get comfortable with the shelter and its routines before trying again)
After taking the training, I began to receive FOHA’s weekly newsletter, which is full of volunteer opportunities. I started to volunteer for dog adoption events, and I now help out with FOHA’s Twitter account as well. The adoption events are very rewarding – it’s a fun way to spend a day, and it’s nice for the dogs to get out of the shelter for a few hours. Two of the dogs I’ve brought to events (Willis and Janai) have since been adopted – when I read their names in the weekly email of dogs who were going home, my smile couldn’t have been bigger.
So, if you want to volunteer but don’t know where to start, this post is for you. Your fit is out there. If the first group you try isn’t a great match, try another one.
Try out different opportunities. If you’re a people person, you might enjoy working an adoption event. If you enjoy being outdoors, you might like being a dog walker. If your time is limited or you prefer working from home, you could volunteer to help with the organization’s social media accounts. If you’re a writer, perhaps you can help pen bios of adoptable animals for the website. Do you have experience planning events? Perhaps you can help plan a fundraiser or organize other events for the group. Are you a cat person? Consider becoming a volunteer cat snuggler. (Best job title ever.) Help collect food, blankets or other supplies for the shelter. Every little bit helps, whether you can volunteer once a week or once a month.
Many rescue groups have weekly newsletters – sign up for those and take a a look to see what kinds of help the group needs. There’s an opportunity out there for everyone. Sometimes, you just have to try a few on for size until you find the one that’s just right. If you haven’t found your fit yet, don’t give up. I’m glad I finally took the leap, and I hope you will too.
I also hope you’ll check out all of the great blogs participating in today’s Blog the Change event… there are some truly wonderful posts this round.