Jobs and Projects for Children Who Want to Work with Animals
Most pet shelters and pet rescues survive on a meagre budget and rely heavily on volunteers for fundraising as well as much of the hands-on work. While many children adore animals and would love to volunteer, they are often excluded due to liability.
Children are at higher risk of being bitten by animals who view them as subordinate or equal, rather than dominant. Additionally, some young children may not yet have the maturity to handle small pets with care. However, children who are determined do not have to let age restrictions stop them.
Show Dedication to Shelter Work
Most shelters are always in need of paper towels and bleach for cleaning, old newspapers for lining cages, and of course pet food, both dry and canned. Great quantities of these are used daily and every donation, no matter how small, helps.
Shelters always need money to cover veterinary expenses, medications, utilities, and other costs of running a rescue facility. Donations, no matter how small, are always appreciated.
Children can raise money for the shelter and have fun at the same time by organizing an aluminium can drive, car wash, or lemonade stand with their friends. Kids can also collect newspapers and old blankets, sheets, towels, and rugs for pet bedding from their friends or from garage sales.
Scheduling regular visits with a parent to make donations shows dedication and lets the shelter workers know this is a volunteer they can depend on.
Show Maturity in Shelter Work
While dropping off donations, children may also offer to separate the slick ad pages from the absorbent pages of newspapers or to fold laundered pet bedding. This helps staff to work more efficiently and reduce costs, while also becoming better acquainted with the volunteer. Small chores can possibly lead to other responsibilities for children who demonstrate maturity and a willingness to carefully follow instructions. Shelter staff are more likely to assign tasks to someone they know and trust.
If the child will not be able to make a scheduled visit, he/she should notify the shelter ahead of time so other arrangements can be made.
When a parent volunteers at a shelter, the child may be allowed to come along and help too. For busy parents, even just a couple of hours one weekend a month can make a difference. Dogs and cats need socialization that overworked shelter staff has little time to provide. Socialization keeps pets friendly and more adoptable as well as happy and less likely to develop bad behaviors. On the other side of the coin, according to parenting expert Ann Pleshette Murphy, studies have shown that kids who volunteer have better grades and fewer discipline problems.
Shelters often need foster homes for pets who do not fit well into shelter life. These may be very young animals who need an extra feeding during the night, very old animals who do not have the energy to handle the noise and chaos of a shelter, or handicapped animals who are sometimes bullied by other animals.
The shelter usually covers most expenses for the pet and all the foster family has to do is provide the love. Fostering may not work well for all children as they must understand that the animal will not live with them forever but eventually be adopted.
Families that would like to foster can express interest and fill out an application. Shelter staff is more likely to choose someone they already know and trust.
With patience and diligence, kids can find ways to work with animals.