The UK is a nation of animal lovers. According to leading veterinary charity PDSA, 49% of adults own a pet, with an estimated 20 million cats and dogs playing a big part in this. Lots of animals don't have a safe home to call their own though. Luckily, there are many ways you can help.
Why Volunteer With An Animal Rescue Charity?
Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit or snake, giving your pet a loving home is one of life's great pleasures. However, you don't need to have pets of your own to care about animals and their welfare.
If the thought of an animal being without a home is upsetting to you, then you can make a difference by volunteering with a charity that specialises in animal rescue. By donating your time to a charity such as Dogs Trust or Battersea, you can make a truly valuable contribution to the good work these organisations do.
How To Help Animal Rescue Charities
GIVE YOUR TIME TO A REHOMING CENTRE
The RSPCA rescued and collected around 130,000 animals in 2017. That's in addition to the more than 150,000 dogs that Dogs Trust looked after in the same year. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities to get involved with, and helping out at a rehoming centre means you can look after animals while they wait for a new, loving home to go to.
HELP OUT AT A CHARITY SHOP
A number of animal rescue organisations have charity shops across the UK. Whether it's organising donations or working on the till, you can help sell items to raise money for the operation. Volunteers are crucial for keeping charity shops going, as are item donations. So, even if you haven't got much spare time to lend, have a clear out and donate anything you don't need.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER DRIVER
As animals regularly need to be collected, volunteer drivers play a vital role in rescuing animals. They help with taking animals to the vet, hospital and other rescue centres when required. Drivers might even be needed to move stock between charity shops, so you'd be in a great position to help if you own a van.
GET INVOLVED WITH A CHARITY EVENT
Charity events can be a lot of fun, particularly if you love the bedlam that comes with having countless animals around. From open days to microchipping events and fetes, you can help to raise awareness and funds for your chosen charity.
FOSTER AN ANIMAL
Probably the biggest commitment you can make is to give an animal a home yourself. Fostering is an incredibly rewarding thing to do, especially if you're able to provide a loving environment for an animal that hasn't been used to one. It can also be deeply satisfying to see a mistreated animal flourish under your care. Fostering is something you should carefully consider, although you usually take an animal for an initial trial period to make sure you're compatible with each other.
Things To Know Before You Volunteer
You may not be able to volunteer with some animal rescue charities if you're under the age of 18. This includes Battersea, which has over 1,200 volunteers working at or around its three centres in London, Brands Hatch and Old Windsor.
Volunteering in kennels and catteries are usually the most popular roles with animal rescue organisations, so you may need to be patient and sign up to receive alerts about new roles.
You should be able to give as much or as little of your time as you like, although there may be certain conditions with different charities. As you'll likely need training and support, you may be required to commit to volunteering for at least three to six months.
Where To Get Started
If you're thinking of volunteering with an animal rescue charity, you're probably desperate to get started. To give you an idea of how you can help, take a look at the volunteering opportunities available with these fantastic organisations:
People's Postcode Lottery players have raised over £19 Million for those three charities alone. When you sign up to play, you'll help even more animals get a chance at happier, better lives.