Everyone Should Try Volunteering at an Animal Shelter

Well, maybe not everyone.  If you’re highly allergic and never plan on adopting pets, you’re cool.  But for those who ever plan on adding a furbaby into your family, I highly recommend volunteering at an animal shelter, especially one that euthanizes animals.

¿Por qué?

The shelter I volunteer at does practice euthanasia to animals that are unhealthy, aggressive, and sometimes ones that are there too long because the shelter has such a high number of new strays and surrenders coming in.  I don’t like it, but it’s not something I have a say over.  I have only been volunteering for 2 months and heard some heartbreaking news today.  Momma, the most loving and sweet 2 year old black cat, was euthanized recently.  She was there when I started volunteering and she was put down because no one adopted her.

Over the past two months, I’ve realized just how many friendly/cuddly adult cats are surrendered because their owners had to move.  This irks me greatly.  Unless you are fostering or develop some kind of health condition where you can’t have animals, pets should have furrever homes.  Who else considers their pets to be part of the family?  I wish people who think pets are so disposable wouldn’t have them to begin with.

Hearing the news about Momma being put down was the icing on my revelation cake.

Everyone who comes in to the shelter looking to adopt flocks towards the kittens.  They are adorable and who wouldn’t want a kitten?  I’m guilty of this myself….until now.

Volunteering at the animal shelter has given me a new perspective on pet adoption.  While the kittens are temptingly cute, they become adults all too fast.  The adult cats’ days are numbered…even when they’re healthy and cuddly.  When considering adoption in the future, the adult cats will get my attention.  I would probably end up adopting a black one since they are least likely to be adopted; People still think they’re bad luck.  Poor Momma.

Unless you have a show animal or are purebred breeder, please spay/neuter your pets.  It breaks my heart to see adoptable pets like Momma put down due to high intake and lack of space.  You may think you don’t need to because your pet is an indoor animal (or male) but take my word, a couple of mistakes could land you (or your neighbor) with a bunch of kittens.  When I first got my Shadow, she ran out the door twice when she was under the age of one, and, after two litters, I had to find homes for 13 kittens!

I also used to think that adoption fees were bogus and did what I could to find the cheapest kitty possible. That perspective has also changed since volunteering at an animal shelter.  The fees (probably don’t even begin to) cover the cost of medical care, which includes spay/neuter and vaccinations.

So, aside from my own personal realizations brought about by volunteering at an animal shelter, it’s a rewarding experience.  I get to socialize with the animals and I love it.  The shelter is also non-profit and survives on donations and volunteers.  If you can’t volunteer, a local shelter is always in need of toys, litter, towels, blankets, food, etc.

14 thoughts on “Everyone Should Try Volunteering at an Animal Shelter

  1. I think I developed that sight about adoption early on (adopting older, not younger), because as you said, younger ones get all the attention and the older ones who are properly trained get booted out of the system or put to sleep. Talking about both children adoption (minus the sleep part) and pets. It is very sad that such a volume of stray animals keep coming in. People should really, REALLY ensure that no improper breeding takes place with their pets… most just let them multiply like rabbits and dump them at shelters. As far as moving, I can understand extreme situations, but you’re right, people treat their animals as disposable, and that is really sad.

    • It is sad. The shelter I volunteer at sees anywhere from 500-700 animals come in each month! And this is just one of my shelters in the area. I’ve seen several people come in with crates full of kittens, yet they keep the mom at home, unspayed. 😦

  2. I only wish we could volunteer at our county animal shelter. Many of us have put in applications and been approved only no one has ever been called. But, I have been working with an animal rescue and currently foster two little chihuahuas. This is my first experience as a foster, and so far I am enjoying it!

  3. It makes me sooo mad. When I moved across the country, people kept asking me if I was taking my dog. HELLO, yes I am taking my dog. What kind of person would consider leaving her behind? A dog (cat) is not a pet until you have something come up – they are a pet for the rest of their life. I just had to put my cat down before I moved because he was at the end of the road with lymphoma and there were significant vet bills with both my dog and cat that month, but I knew what an honor and responsibility being their person was and I did whatever I needed to do. (PF bloggers often discuss the spending limit for a pet, and I personally don’t have one, but understand when that becomes an issue if you really are barely scraping by) For me, it’s a quality of life balance. I adopted both my cat and dog as adults and would prefer to adopt an adult in the future. Not only are your points above valid, but you also can see their developed personality first. Just because you adopt an outgoing kitten doesn’t mean that she won’t be a moody cat. 😀

    • Good point about the moody cat….My Shadow was a nice kitten that I got from a friend but she’s kind of turned into a bitch, lol! Sorry to hear about the passing of your cat. It’s never easy to lose a pet/member of your family. I plan on moving my cats from east coast to west coast when my husband’s tour of duty is over. A place that accepts cats is my #1 priority in moving! I don’t even consider a place that doesn’t allow cats!

      • It’s okay! I was a mess for a day or two and then read more about his illness and realized that I did do the right thing. This particular cat did a cross-country move with me and he was totally okay! He didn’t do cat carriers, so I put the litter box on the floor and he either hung out under my chair or on the dash. The dog was much more annoying. By day 3, she thought that was her new life and she made it known that she did not approve.

  4. Haha! I’d be worried about them getting under the pedals! When I moved from the midwest to east coast I only had the older cat and she did fine. She was mostly crated, but we opened it up and she mostly stayed in the carrier and occasionally found a comfy spot on top of some blankets that protected our computer stuff. I added 2 cats to the bunch and the older one does not like the younger ones. It’ll be an interesting journey!

  5. Would you ever consider volunteering your time at a no-kill shelter?

    I see on your “About Me” section that you are/were in the Chicago-land area. Have you heard of Paws? They are a great no-kill organization that takes in animals from all over the country. They train volunteers well and have high adoption costs to support the shelter.


    We have a 3 lovies from this shelter (a dog and two cats) and would adopt all of Paw’s residents in a heartbeat!

    • I’m no longer in Chicagoland but yes, I’ve heard of Paws. I’d consider volunteering at any animal shelter but volunteering at a no-kill shelter doesn’t make the ones that do practice euthanasia disappear. I appreciate the new perspective I’ve gotten volunteering at this one and will continue to do so until I move. I’m sure there will be a no-kill shelter in my future as we’ll probably be moving around a lot.

  6. I volunteered at a local city animal shelter when I was in college. It was hard work cleaning all those pens, but an experience I will never forget. All of our animals are rescues. I can’t understand why anyone would buy a dog or cat when there are so many that need homes in the shelters. Bad animal owners break my heart. You don’t give away your kid when you move, so why would you give away your pets? Pets are a lifetime committment, If you move you better find a pet friendly apartment or give the cat to a friend who will take good care of him/her. OK off my soapbox, I know I’m preaching to the choir 😉 Kudos for your volunteer efforts you’re definitely making a difference in those animals’ lives!

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