According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 7.6 million pets that are admitted into animal shelters each year. With only an estimated 13,600 independent community animal shelters nationwide, there are just too many animals and not enough help. Shelters rely heavily on volunteers to help keep operations running smoothly. By volunteering at an animal shelter, you're not only helping animals in need, but you can help yourself, too.
Here are 7 ways you can benefit from volunteering at an animal shelter:
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Dream of having a pet, but live with an allergy ridden roommate? Or maybe you're being responsible and know you just don't have the time or space to devote to an animal. When you volunteer, you get to spend hours with tons of snuggle-hungry cats and dogs. It's a win-win for both you and the pets that are about to gratefully slobber all over your face.
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Studies show that petting a dog or cat can help lower your blood pressure, which in turn, lowers your stress. Most Americans will admit to being over-stressed, so a day at the pet shelter is a great way to wind down, even if it's only once a month.
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Feeling a little lonely? If you want the companionship of animals without becoming a crazy cat hoarder, then volunteer at your local shelter. The animals will love your company as much as you enjoy theirs, and they'll always be happy to see you. Nothing cures a case of the blues better than the sight of a wagging tail.
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If you're constantly caught in the gravitational pull of your couch, getting out to walk the dogs is a great way to squeeze in some much needed exercise. And they'll be so thrilled to be out of their cages.
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Without being stereotypical, a lot of animals that are in shelters have a history of neglect. Spending time and playing with these abandoned and abused animals can help improve their behavior, and also make you more sympathetic towards the troublesome ones.
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If you're the self-proclaimed definition of introvert, going out and socializing with fellow volunteers and animals can help you come out of your shell. If you're new to a city, volunteering is also a great way to meet new friends who care about the same things that you do!
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Caring for an animal is a huge responsibility, which is why most of our parents gave us a goldfish before ever getting us a dog or cat. Being around these animals can teach us a lot about responsibility, and more about our instincts and emotional states. Animals often emulate our own emotions, so seeing how animals respond to us can show us how we come across to others.
Hopefully these great reasons to volunteer will get you off your butts and into the shelters! Both you and the animals will be glad that you did.