Have you ever thought about volunteering at an animal shelter? If not, consider putting it on your list of feel-good things to do.

One of the easiest ways to help out at a shelter is merely giving your time and attention to the animals there. Many of the animals are rescue animals waiting for someone to adopt them, and they need love. Spending time with humans is a great way to keep them well socialized and on their best behavior for their potential new owners. Just an hour a week could make a massive difference for the animals at the shelter.

If you don’t want to be hands-on with the animals, you can volunteer in various tasks: maintaining a website, helping with outreach, building and maintaining structures, or writing compelling stories about their animals needing a home. You never know; your particular skills and hobbies may be just what your local shelter, rescue, or sanctuary needs.

Are you thinking about getting a pet? 

Volunteering at the shelter is a great way to gain more information before making the decision. Most shelters have dogs and cats, so if you are thinking of one of those common pets, you can become familiar with what’s involved in taking care of them. You may even fall in love with one of the animals and decide to adopt.

Do you have a child who is afraid of dogs? 

It’s a common fear for children–they may have encountered an overly friendly or even aggressive dog and associated that experience with all dogs. Try taking your child to an animal shelter to help love the animals, and they may become less fearful.

Are you yourself in need of receiving some love and attention? Nearly everyone feels that way at times. When people volunteer at a shelter, they’re not just giving love to the animals, they’re receiving it as well. If you’re feeling down or depressed, visiting a shelter to help may help you more than you expect.

Are you looking for something fun to do with friends or family or a youth group? If your group shares a love of animals, volunteering at the shelter is sure to be a hit. It’s a unique opportunity to bond with each other while helping out the community.

A great thing about volunteering is that you can do whatever works for you. If you’re afraid volunteering will involve unpleasant tasks or too much time, realize most places are more than willing to accept your help in whatever form you can give it. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

How to volunteer? 

Simply call your local shelter and ask what help they can use. Whatever it is, it may be right up your alley.

This blog was originally published at sarahlaud.org.