Are you a PetParent who has a love of animals that extends far and beyond the animals that you share your home with? Chances are you’re a sucker for every sweet dog at the park, or kitten in the window- the same as we are! Animal lovers are a compassionate group of people, and Portland is home to such a strong community of animal lovers.
If you’ve been feeling the urge to give back, helping animals in need right from your local area is an enriching and supremely rewarding way of volunteering your time. With so many animals in need, and so many organizations willing to accept your help, we’re sure you’ll find a volunteer opportunity that is as beneficial to you, as it is to the animals and organization who will benefit from your gracious efforts. Here are four of the best pet related volunteer opportunities in Portland, OR!
Project POOCH, Inc., is a non-profit organization that works to pair incarcerated youths from the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon, with homeless shelter dogs since 1993. The dogs and incarcerated youths work together daily using positive reinforcement methods. As the youths learn the manage their dogs, they also learn how to manage their own behavior. Because these dogs provide unconditional love, loyalty, and mutual trust, the youths are able to blossom in this relationship.
Project POOCH asks for anyone who is inspired by their message and mission to reach out and ask how they can get involved. Project POOCH is willing to work with volunteers to find a way for anyone with any skill set to volunteer their time.
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) is funded solely through donations. It’s a spay/neuter program for feral, stray, and abandoned cats in Oregon. Currently operating with a robust team of nearly 900 volunteers including veterinarians, technicians, and only six full-time and three part-time employees, FCCO holds over 600 spay/neuter clinics per year in the Portland metro area and throughout Oregon!
They are absolutely committed to improving the welfare and reducing the population of feral and stray cats through spay/neuter programs and education. The FCCO currently spays and neuters approximately 6,500 cats per year, and has helped more than 64,500 since its inception in 1995.
The Oregon Humane Society was founded in 1868 by just 14 volunteers. Today, they rely on a network of over 1,000 volunteers to keep the shelter up and running. The OHS volunteers are involved in virtually all of the aspects of operating OHS- helping animals find home, maintaining the grounds, office work, cleaning, and so much more.
Adult volunteers must be 18 years or older, although they do have a youth volunteer program for those aged 12-17. If you can be a foster home to an animal in need, or work at public events those are positions the shelter is in constant need of. Volunteers should be prepared to donate at least 12 hours a month, and if you’re signed up for a dog walking position they need you to commit to 1 day/week.
Forward Stride is the Oregon’s only nationally accredited, comprehensive equine therapy center. They have a 4 fold program that includes sport riding, hippotherapy (occupational and physical therapy), equestrian vaulting, equine facilitated growth & learning workshops. Forward Stride has 26 horses and serves over 165 individuals each week.
Their mission is “Forward Stride provides therapeutic equine activities to individuals with special healthcare needs helping them to heal, grow and blossom with confidence.”