5 ways to volunteer with your dog
By Ashley Bennett
Volunteerism is not just restricted to humans. There are now a lot of opportunities for pets to get involved, too. All dogs can help out in some way, shape, or form, whether they participate in a charity walk, visit hospital patients, or donate blood.
Here are five simple ways you can volunteer with your dog.
1. Donate pet blood: We all acknowledge the need for human blood, but there is also a need for pet blood. There are veterinary blood banks across the country that store blood for pets in need of transfusions due to sickness or injury.
Most dogs are eligible to donate blood if they are fully grown and in good health, although they will have to pass a physical before they can get started. A blood donation session will be a quiet affair for most dogs, as there is minimal pain and they will lie there peacefully until it is over. Some veterinary clinics will give you free pet food or a free health exam for your dog as a gift for contributing to the cause. Talk to your veterinarian to discuss if your dog is a good blood donor candidate.
2. Charity runs or walks: Usually, most charity walks and runs allow dogs to join in as well. It is a fun way to raise money for a good cause, get some exercise, and bring your dog out for support. There will be the option to donate money or simply run in support of the cause. You can sign up for the event as usual, but make sure that they allow pets to attend.
3. Bring your dog to work: Bring your dog to work is an annual event sponsored by Pet Sitters International. The event has become more popular in recent years, so a lot of employers honor the event by allowing employees to bring their pets to work. Your dog can stay with you at your desk as long as there is a comfortable place to sit or lie down while you work. Be sure to bring along some snacks and toys to keep your dog entertained!
4. Open your house as a foster home to help shelter dogs socialize with your dog: Shelter dogs often need to be socialized before they are adopted into families. It can be challenging for dogs from tough backgrounds to get used to being around people and other pets. This is why some shelters organize temporary foster homes for dogs to get them ready to be adopted.
To volunteer, contact a local animal shelter, then be prepared to allow the dog to stay in your home for anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months. Give the dog, your pets, and family members some time to get acquainted with one another, because shelter dogs often need time to adjust.
5. Therapy dog at a nursing home or hospital visit elderly senior citizens: Sick and elderly patients at hospitals and nursing home facilities often love to have pets visit them. Studies have shown that exposure to pets during a time of illness can boost morale and aid in the recovery process. Almost any type of dog can work as a therapy dog as long as they are well-groomed, well-behaved, and love people. Contact a local hospital or senior citizens’ home to get more details about how to get started.
Volunteering with your dog is a fun way to support positive causes and have a lot of fun in the process. Always ask for permission to bring your dog before you attend any event and make sure that your dog is comfortable at all times, with time to rest and snacks in between. Other than that, have fun and give back!
Do you volunteer with your dog? Share your experience with us.