Do you love animals? Have you ever thought about volunteering for an animal rescue or charity but didn’t know where to begin or who to contact?
Volunteers form a vital part of the day to day running of animal rescues and pounds in Ireland. Without volunteers many rescues could not continue with their work.
Each rescue in Ireland is different. Some consist of one or 2 people who may also have full time jobs and rescue in their spare time. Others rescues and pounds may have dedicated centres with staff and high overheads. Volunteers matter to all of them.
Below are the types of volunteering roles that are frequently required by animal rescues. This list does not cover everything and can vary from rescue to rescue. Here is what you can do to help.
Fundraisers are always required by rescues and charities and without vital funds many charities would close. When organised by the charity it can involve events like street and supermarket bucket collections, open days, dogs shows and much more. If you would like to organise your own fundraising in aid of your favourite charity why not have a bake sale, table quiz or do a marathon? The list is endless.
Many animal rescues rely heavily on fosterers to help out when their kennels, catteries and stables are full. Some rescues do not have physical premises and without dedicated fosterers they would not exist.
Rescues need photos of their animals to upload on to Lost and Found sites, Facebook pages and their websites. Due to the high turnover of dogs in pounds volunteers are usually required at least 2 days a week.
TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return)
There are many feral cats in Ireland and help is needed to trap, neuter and return the cats to their original location. Regular feeding of these animals and their colony may also be required.
Most dogs need plenty of exercise and look forward to their walks when they are in a new and unfamiliar environments. As well as giving the dogs much needed leg room it can also reduce anxiety in them and allow their handlers to asses their personalties.
Cleaning of kennels/catteries, feeding and grooming of animals and dog walking may all be required.
Home visits are required by most rescues before the animal will go to it’s foster or permanent home.
Like any other type of office admin role this type of work is very varied and can differ depending on what rescue you go to or simply what the rescue needs done on the day. Sample work can include working at reception, data entry, manning the phone lines, Facebook and Twitter updates and maintaining the rescues website.
Where can I view a list of available volunteering opportunities?
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Right here! Use the search box on the right hand side and choose animals as your cause. Yes the box works and no it’s not just an image! It will bring you to many open opportunities that are available in Ireland.
Volunteer.ie also contains lots of general information on volunteering in Ireland.
If you cannot find what you are looking for get in touch directly with the rescue or check their website. Please bear in mind that some rescues do not have time to update their site so an email or phone call may provide more information
What do I need to volunteer?
- TIme. This can be as little as an hour a week up to a full time working week commitment.
- Some rescues may require Garda Vetting, previous animal welfare experience or an animal welfare qualification/completed course. Others just require a love of animals and a willingness to get stuck in.
- Dedication and commitment. If you do not turn up, or get the work done it will be the animals that suffer
- Patience and a smile – Rescue work can be hard, involve long days and can sometimes feel like there is no thanks or reward. That is until you see a pet coming out of it’s previously terrified shell or going to their new forever home with a very happy family and it makes it all worthwhile.
If you do decide that Volunteering is for you please remember that not all rescues may come back to you immediately. This is not because they don’t need or want you, or that your services are of no use. It just means they are overworked and usually have a million things to get through during the day with feeding, cleaning, walking, driving, emails, phone calls, and of course a lot of pet rescuing to do! Please be patient.