Volunteering with Your Dog
Spending your time volunteering promotes a sense of community and well-being. Include your pup in the fun by looking for these local dog-inclusive opportunities.
You want to spend time with your beloved pooch and make the world a better place – bingo! Volunteer with your dog! Many people think volunteering has to involve a big time commitment, but many volunteer activities do not encompass multiple visits or a long-term commitment. Check out these ideas for volunteering:
Canine walks and runs for charity.
Sign you and your hound up for a walk or a race to raise money for a good cause! You’ll likely get a t-shirt and a goodie bag filled with donated dog items for your pooch! The funds raised for a dog friendly race are often donated to an animal-specific cause. Not a runner or can’t find a race that allows leashed dogs to participate in your area? Donate to the race or to a racing team or person and cheer on the racers from the side-lines with your dog! Bring dog treats so you can reward your dog for good behavior in public.
Canine fundraisers at restaurants and breweries.
Check out your city’s local events for “Bow-wows and Brunch” or “Pints and Pups” events! You often buy a ticket to cover the cost of food or drink, donate to charity and are entered into a raffle. The raffles are often for doggie goodie bags or gift cards to local pet stores that donated to the cause, too!
Would you rather volunteer in the comfort of your own home? Contact local animal rescue organizations to find out if you can pick up laundry (e.g. dog sweaters and items that can’t go to commercial washers) to take home to do in your own home, interview and educate adoptive applicants via phone calls, check references via phone and email, or transport dogs to vet appointments or between locations – you could even bring your dog as a canine copilot assuming that the weather isn’t too hot or too cold and that you have crates in your vehicle to safely separate the pets.
Host a dog for a weekend.
Do you only have time on the weekend to care for an additional pet and not all the time? Some rescues allow you to pick up a dog on a Friday night and keep the dog until Sunday night or Monday morning. This weekend get-away gives the dog a break from a noisier, busier environment if the dog is being housed in a kennel situation. In addition, the multi-night slumber party gives the dog a chance to absorb some extra love; not only is this a happy time, but it also gives the dog more experiences that will help him fit into his forever home after he’s adopted!
Does your dog like other dogs or cats? Foster a dog or cat in your home. This is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences and you can make such a huge impact by opening up the doors of your home.
Train your dog to be a therapy dog! Therapy dogs volunteer together in schools, counseling groups, senior daycares and medical assistance settings (hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes). Young students could practice reading to your dog, you and your dog could visit with residents at a medical care facility, or your dog could provide comfort to a grief group as they pet your pup. It’s recommended to become involved and officially certified by a therapy dog organization. These organizations may provide liability insurance and other helpful resources to volunteers. You can even earn a title through the AKC for volunteering with your dog!
Canine blood donor.
Contact your local veterinary school or specialty animal hospital to find out about blood donor activities are in your area for your hound. Your dog needs to meet certain criteria in order to do this important, life-saving job. Criteria could include being between 1-6 years old, weighing 55 lbs. or more, being healthy, and having a friendly temperament. This will likely be a recurring commitment, such as at least six times per year.
Now that you’re bursting with ideas, go find and sign up for a fun volunteer activity!
Jasey Day holds the Certified Canine Fitness Trainer (CCFT) credential through the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the Bobbie Lyons K9FITteam - a team of compassionate canine fitness instructors who actively teach others and continually expand their own knowledge. Since 2004, Jasey has taught a variety of workshops and classes on the following: Puppy, Canine Good Citizen/Family Pet, Advanced Family Pet, Canine Fitness, Canine Swimming, Rally, and Agility. In addition, Jasey has earned over 60 titles in Dock Diving, Agility, Rally, CGC and Trick Dog. Jasey has worked full time for the American Kennel Club since 2007 and teaches at Care First Animal Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Jasey’s Labrador Retrievers spend their free time hiking, training, and snuggling with Jasey.READ MORE ARTICLES