No matter where in the world you live, there are animals who need your help. Companion pets rely on us to be their voices, to stand up for them while they are in need, and to make a difference. You can make the most impact personally by focusing your attention and efforts locally. Choose an animal rescue organization and donate a few hours each week- it’s time you’ll never regret donating- because the gifts you’ll get in return will be so much better. Even better is to gather up a few friends and volunteer together, there’s nothing quite like making the world a better place! Here are what we’re considering the four best volunteer opportunities in Pittsburgh for animal lovers looking to get involved!
CARMAA stands for the Coalition to Adopt, Rehome, and Match Abandoned Animals with their new forever homes. They could not meet their mission to reduce the number of homeless animals each year if it wasn’t for the involvement of volunteers. CARMAA is a non-profit, and a strong promoter of education about animal welfare issues. CARMAA focuses on finding unique ways for shelters to support each other, knowing they all have a unified cause. CARMAA believes we are all a part of the solution. CARMAA uses outreach volunteers to go into the community and educate locals on how to best help homeless animals. CARMAA hosts an annual Dogtober Fest as well as many off site fundraisers that wouldn’t happen without the attention and dedication of the CARMAA volunteers. Are you feeling inspired to get involved? You can fill out a volunteer form here.
The Animal Friends organization exists to ensure the well being of companion animals, all while ending animal overpopulation, abuse, and unneeded euthanasia. Animal Friends is committed to promoting the human-animal bond through outreach, education, and various programs. The Animal Friends was founded in 1943, when a group of Pittsburgh citizens banded together to find homes for soldiers’ pets who were being abandoned as they left to serve in World War 2. In 2001, Animal Friends decided to change the way an animal shelter serves the community. They built a 30,000 square foot animal resource center that offers creative kenneling, a resource library, miles of wooded walking trails, and even an education classroom.
Volunteers with Animal Friends make all the difference. You’re able to do many hands on tasks during your volunteer hours including: dog walking/training, animal feeding, rabbit care, foster care, administration help, satellite adoption center, community adoption volunteer, humane education helper, animal handler. Animal Friends offers a flexible volunteer schedule, and after a two session orientation you can volunteer at-will with no schedule or sign-ups. Volunteers are only asked to give 5 hours of service each month to stay active in the system.
The Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center was founded in 1909 by citizens who had animal welfare concerns. Their mission is to help all animals in need, regardless of their species or breed. This is why the ARL handles the care of both domestic pets and wildlife at their animal care centers. All of the animals in the care of The Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center have no time limit on their stay. The Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center (ARL), has over 500 volunteers who help them care for thousands of animals each year. They offer an enhanced safety/training program to provide essential skills and knowledge to volunteers. If you decide to become an animal handling volunteer, you will receive additional training to ensure your safety and that of the animals.
If you love wildlife- then check out their wildlife center! Volunteers are able to get an exciting hands on experience with species they may otherwise never get to meet. These injured or orphaned animals may not survive without the dedicated care of the wildlife team. All in all, nearly 13,000 animals are saved each year, and because of their open door policy, no animal is ever turned away.
If you’d identify as an animal advocate, then consider volunteering some of your time with an organization who’s values clearly align with your own. The Animal Advocates organization believes in leading with the heart. They are seeking volunteers to work in their shop, socialize the cats, do veterinary trips, or even foster pets. The Animal Advocates are a small but active group of people who keep most of the animals in home foster situations. Their ground floor is a retail shop which proceeds benefit the animals. This small group will allow you more freedom in volunteering than many other organizations might- if you have something unique to offer or bring to the table, they encourage you to bring it forward.
Other ways to get involved:
- Foster home
- Cat caretaker
- Resale shop
- Special Events
- Community Outreach
- Animal Rights
We honestly can’t recommend volunteering your time and love to shelter animals and rescue organizations enough! You’ll be so happy to know that these grateful animals truly do give it back to you ten-fold!