Pet Volunteer in San Diego

If you’re an animal lover, giving back to a local shelter, rescue group, or animal advocacy organization can be an incredible way to make a positive impact on your community. We think you’ll be surprised in the ways that it will change you too! Nearly all animal care and advocacy groups rely on their dedicated group of volunteers in order to get by. Volunteers play a critical and vital role in the success and happiness of the animals under the organizations care. Here are some of the best animal related volunteer opportunities in San Diego!

1. Project Wildlife 

Are you a wildlife lover? No matter where you live, there is bound to be wildlife that need care and rehabilitation- even in the city where they are especially lacking in habitat. Project Wildlife is one such place, located in San Diego, where wildlife lovers can get up close and personal with the creatures they love and admire-all while giving back. San Diego happens to be one of the most biologically diverse parts of the US and is home to the highest numbers of endangered species. With less than 15 full time staffers, volunteers are critical to the success of Project Wildlife. Many volunteers provide pre-release care in their own homes and assist in releasing animals back into the wild.

Volunteer with Project Wildlife as:

  • hotline volunteer
  • education volunteer
  • triage volunteer
  • event/fundraising volunteer

2. San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

With three separate locations, the San Diego Humane Society relies on a small group of staff and a large group of animal loving volunteers in order to get by. Since 1880, they have been providing their vital services to San Diego county. They strive to have a volunteer experience that makes each individual happy, and are willing to work with people based on their skill level and interest to ensure a good fit.

You can apply based upon the shelter location, or by the position you’re interested in. An application is the first step, followed by an orientation before your volunteer work ever starts. While their services do change based on location, help is always needed to care for the animals and provide them with grooming, socialization, and exercise and mental stimulation. If you live in San Deigo county, one of the SD Humane Society & SPCA locations is bound to be near your home or work.

3. Helen Woodward Animal Center

The Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) is dedicated toward serving the community through education and by practicing and teaching humane behavior toward man and all living things. They believe that our lives are more precious when we have trust, unconditional love, respect, and care towards animals and one another.

All volunteers attend an orientation and receive a tour prior to donating any of their time. Volunteers will be matched with a position that highlights their personal skills. Adoptions, foster care, AniMeals delivery or food drive, Therapeutic Riding Program, Equine Hospital Volunteer, Pet Therapy, gift store assistant, education assistant are just a few of the positions available.

Junior volunteers are encouraged to work on fundraising projects such as dog food drives, coin drive, or donation drive. It’s often seen that young children absolutely excel at these sorts of events and it is a great way for them to give back to animals in need. If you’re unable to give the gift of time and love right now by volunteering, there is a whole section of the webpage dedicated to other ways of giving back- monetary donations and more.

4. Animal Protection and Rescue League

 The APRL is exactly as its name implies- a rescue and protection league for animals. They promote compassion for all species, and work to care for injured, abandoned, and stray animals in the San Diego area. APRL has several special missions including: promotion of cruelty free eating, ending of poisoning of wildlife such as squirrels/gophers in public parks, and protecting San Diego’s seal population. The APRL investigates and exposes animal cruelty, and one of their landmark cases is currently the campaign against foie gras. They strive to educate consumers and policymakers, and to be the voice and litigate for animals in the court system.

The bigger the city, the more opportunity to give back. San Diego is full of ways for animal lovers to get involved and make a difference in their neighborhood, community, city, and beyond. No matter how you choose to give back, the dedication of your time and devotion will have a ripple effect on the lives of the animals you make a difference for.

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