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Calling all animal lovers!

Rescuing an animal and providing it with a safe, forever home is a rewarding experience in itself, but not everyone has the time or resources to make that commitment. Luckily, that's far from the only way to bring the joy of animals into your life, and the lives of others, while making a difference. Here are a few ideas.

Make house calls for shelters.
You can volunteer to deliver pets for adoption, or even bring pets to potential owners for an in-home visit. The Humane Society of the United States can help you find your local animal shelter, and also has links to pet matching services where you can inquire about these opportunities. The Broward County Humane Society runs a “Snuggle Delivery” service you could help out with, where furry friends are delivered for a few hours to an office for all employees to enjoy.

Set a four-legged example.
If you know your pet is good with humans, you can teach responsible children in your neighborhood or members of your family how to properly care for a pet by inviting them to feed, walk or house-sit the animal. Want to take it a step further? SafeHaven Humane Society offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for kids under the age of 16 with you serving as the parent, guardian or approved family member.

Give a human a break.
You don’t have to have a pet of your own to volunteer with animals. If you’re comfortable around pets of any kind, you can offer to help owners in need by taking their pets to veterinary or grooming appointments, picking up prescriptions, or watching them for a weekend. Just remember to pet-proof your house and get a full understanding of the pet’s behaviors and needs.

Administer therapy.
Help brighten someone’s day by teaming up with your local Veterans Administration, senior center or other community organization where pets could make an impact. Therapy Dogs International, based in New Jersey, offers resources for who want to share their patient and kind dogs with schools, nursing homes, hospitals, libraries and more. For videos about how to volunteer with your dog, cat and even horse, check out Pet Partners. They also have information about how to set up a pet therapy operation of your own. Most organizations will have policies and procedures regarding pets, including vaccination requirements, so make sure to have a thorough discussion to confirm you pet qualifies for volunteer service.

Find more volunteer opportunities for you and a furry friend with keyword “pets.”

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