Cuddling for good cause - 5 tips how you can get involved in the animal shelter

William Walker Dog in Shelter

Life is beautiful - but we at William Walker are sure that it's even more beautiful with a dog by your side. A partner in crime who absolutely has what it takes to be your "Best Friend". He's loyal, faithful, reliable and paints a smile on our faces every day. And these are just a few of the many reasons why about 10 million of the estimated 35 million animals living in german households are dogs.

Volunteering to help at an animal shelter - 5 Tips

But what if you love dogs but can't have one of your own? For example because it is not possible due to your job, the apartment is too small or you are traveling a lot? Then volunteering at an animal shelter is the solution. Not only are they always short of money and dependent on donations, but they are also happy about any active support. Trained animal keepers and veterinarians take care of the animals. However, they often reach their limits because the teams are small and the number of animals in need of protection is large. The staff often cannot provide more than basic care on their own. That's why animal shelters rely on the work of volunteers. The more hands that help, the more time there is to deal more intensively with the individual animals. So it's an absolute win-win situation for you. You are with your beloved dogs and other animals and at the same time you make an important contribution to animal welfare. The opportunities to help at an animal shelter are numerous and vary by facility. At William Walker, we want to show you a few activities you could do to make a difference at the shelter.

1. Walking the dogs

To really let got, to sniff around to your heart's content, to play, in a few words: to experience something different than the everyday life in the shelter. For shelter dogs, it's the highlight of the day, and the walk rounds are no secret. Your assigned dogs usually remember exactly when you will take them for a walk and usually can't wait. After a short training by a dog trainer, you are fit even without much dog experience and you can march off cheerfully in a double pack. Some animal shelters also offer trial walks and a walker's pass together for an expense allowance.

2. Cuddling for a good cause

Without love, cuddles and a bit of warmth from the heart, little dog souls atrophy at the shelter. And those of the other shelter residents long for a little closeness, too. Help them to rebuild trust with people through your affection, because the animals in the shelter have often been treated badly before, sometimes they are partly traumatized. Resocialization is an important factor for a successful placement.

3. Cleaning is also part of animal love

Enclosures, boxes, cages, aviaries, toys, scratching posts and much more need to be cleaned - there is no way around it. And those who love animals can also really lend a hand when it comes to cleaning. Also handicraft-skilled volunteers for outdoor work are welcome in animal shelters.

4. Making food for the Animals

Supplying food and water to an average of 1,000 shelter residents is a massive feat. Cleaning bowls, filling a wide variety of quantities and types of food, and distributing it to the animal shelters. Without helping hands, the hired employees quickly falter.

5. Well-being of the animals after the adoption

Many animal shelters conduct a post-placement check on the animals they place. This is a good and important thing, but time is often short for this as well due to a shortage of staff. If you want to get involved, here's what your job looks like: You visit the placed animals in their new homes. Whether dog, cat, rabbit, bird or guinea pig - see if they are doing well with their new owners. Are they treated with love, adequately fed and cared for? Do the owners get along well with their new guardians?

What should I bring for a voluntary activity in the animal shelter?

Quite clearly: a heart for animals, empathy and a little time - but above all you also need a thick skin. Being with animals isn't always all happiness and fun. Old, sick animals die, you will see mistreated animals and the long-established animals that have been living in the shelter for so long that they have little chance of being placed.

You'll need to take training for some tasks, such as helping in the wildlife enclosure. Just in case, you should be vaccinated against tetanus. The minimum age for volunteering at the shelter is 18. You can find out about the exact guidelines at your local animal shelter. You can find an overview of animal shelters all over Germany at the German Animal Welfare Association.

Important: Due to the ongoing pandemic, many animal shelters have special regulations regarding volunteers and have canceled their info evenings and training. However, animal welfare does not stop because of Covid-19 and we are fighting together, hand in hand, even if we are not allowed to touch!

We at William Walker know that not all dogs in this world are doing as well as the four-legged friends of our William Walker crew. That's why a part of all sales from William Walker goes to Hunderettung Europa e.V. for the benefit of dogs.

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