Is dorm life depriving you of having a four-legged companion by your side? Or maybe you live in an apartment that either does not allow animals or requires you to pay an extra fee to have one. I was lucky to commute to college from home because that meant I did not have to be away from my pets who always provided me with love and cuddles during my more stressful moments in life. If you are missing out on the love that only an animal can give you then maybe you have considered volunteering at animal shelter in your free time. Volunteering at animal shelters is a great to socialize with animals who could benefit from human love and interaction before finding their forever homes. From my own experience with volunteering many of these animals didn’t have the best start in life and could use a gentle, kindhearted person to help them learn to be more confident in themselves and to trust to other people. But there are also many animals who are more than happy to have your undivided attention. Here are three local animal shelters in the Chester and Delaware County area to volunteer at and what kind of services they are looking for.
Brandywine Valley SPCA
The SPCA is often the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of volunteering at animal shelters. The Society for the Prevent of Cruelty to Animals is an international organization with branches all over the world. Founded in 1929, the Brandywine Valley SPCA was created to end animal suffering and to involve the community in the welfare and well-being of animals. Each year they care for over 16,000 animals and are finding homes for at least 96% of the homeless pets that enter our shelter.
- Dog handling
- Cat handling
- Take animals to adoption and community events.
- Promote the pets at the fundraisers to help them get adopted.
- Take pictures of the pets to be uploaded to the website and social media accounts
- Create dog treats and cat toys for the adoptable pets
Mainline Animal Rescue
Located in Chester Springs, I volunteered at this shelter during my Sophomore year of community college. What sets Mainline apart from most rescues is that is located on a sixty-acre farm (making it one of the largest no-kill animal shelters in the Country) that has fenced in pastures for the dogs to play in, walking trails and it’s cat room (known as the Kitty Clubhouse) has its own catio (cat patio) for the cats to lounge in the sun safely. They are also strong animal rights advocates, and the staff even offers programs that provide insight and education regarding puppy mills, rehabilitation of animals, and responsible pet care. Along with dogs and cats the shelter also takes care of bunnies, Guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, and other pets sometimes are looking for a new home.
- Walking/Running and exercising dogs, playing in fields and with play groups
- Participating in our Animal Welfare and Education (AWE programming)
- – “Petiquette” (training class for high energy dogs)
- – Shy Dog
- – Home School
- – Play Group Series
- – PK 101
- – Wash n’ Wag
- Loving and “snuggling” dogs and cats who need extra TLC
- Training to become adoption counselors
- Transporting pets to new homes, vet appointments and field trips
- Planning and coordinating offsite events
- Cat Play & Enrichment
La Mancha Animal Rescue
Founded in 2001, La Mancha is a forty-five-acre facility that rescues dogs, cats, pigs, goats, horses and exotic animals that need more space or knowledge than what the SPCAs can provide for. They have two heated and air-conditioned kennels for dogs, each kennel includes a run where they have indoor/outdoor access. There is a heated and air-conditioned building dedicated to cats, which is free range, no cages. They are most known for rescuing and rehoming Great Pyrenees dogs.
- Socialization with other dogs such as walking them together or playtime together in our exercise fields
- Training in the basic commands of “sit”, “paw”, “come” and “down”
- Basic leash training
- Basic agility training
- Playing fetch and catch with balls and frisbees
- Rides on the farm Gators to those that are not used to riding in vehicles
- Swim time (weather permitting) in our large pond
- We gently introduce our rescues to brushing and bathing
- Lots of loving and belly rubs
Of course, there are many other animal shelters that would love volunteers so be sure to research as many as you like (especially if you don’t live in the Chester/Delaware County area). Who knows, maybe one day when you are ready you will meet your future pet there.
To volunteer at any of these shelters click these links: