Volunteering at an Animal Shelter…Can You Do It?!

volunteering at an animal shelter will help these two dogs find a homeBack in 1999, I decided to give myself a Christmas present…the gift of volunteering at an animal shelter.

Because of my love for animals, I went to a nearby shelter, The Buddy Dog Humane Society in Sudbury, MA. It is a long-time “no-kill” animal shelter (founded in 1961)and has a wonderful reputation for the work it does in the community to benefit our homeless animals.

I signed in and walked through the dog kennels. Then I left. I decided I just couldn’t do it; it would be too hard. The homeless dogs just broke my heart. I went home.My Buddy Dog, Chloe

I kept thinking about how I wanted to volunteer and make a difference, and I kept thinking about all those dogs in their kennels waiting for a family and a home. About a month later, I went back. Frankly, I decided that if I truly wanted to make a difference, I’d have to deal with my personal feelings and I’d better suck it up and get over it. I did.

I have been a volunteer there ever since; that’s fourteen years and counting. I began walking the dogs once a week for two hours on Wednesday mornings, and my involvement grew from there.

Among other things, I was invited to join the Board of Trustees in 2008 and am now an Executive Board member; I was on a regular TV segment on New England Cable News for over 10 years; I’ve been involved with the passage of two major bills of animal protection legislation and have lobbied and testified at the State House on a number of occasions.

There are so many different ways you can contribute and volunteer.  These are just a few.  I understand there are people who wouldn’t be able to get past the sadness of the homeless animals; I understand that.  I’ve been there. When you are involved with animal sheltering, there are days that will break your heart, and there are days that will be some of the best of your life.

Don’t let anything stop you!  You can help with so many other aspects of keeping a shelter running; contribute your time and your energy.  You can help with office work…mailings, holiday donation solicitations.  Once I even dressed up in tropical gear and handed out flyers at a local mall to get a donation for my efforts from the vendor to the shelter.  Sometimes we have done gift-wrapping of presents at holiday time at a major book retailer.

Don’t let fear stop you.  You can start with small peripheral contributions and let your involvement grow.  You really can make a difference!

To Your Dog’s Good Health!

Cheryl Major


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About Cheryl Major

Cheryl Major has been a volunteer at The Buddy Dog Humane Society in Massachusetts for 14 years, and has been on their Board of Trustees since 2008. Her blog, HealthyDogsWorld.com, is a labor of love. She has also been involved in passing animal protection legislation at the city and state levels and was a regular guest on New England Cable News (NECN) for their "Adopt a Pet Segment". This blog is dedicated to the joys and challenges of dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages with whom we share our lives.


Volunteering at an Animal Shelter…Can You Do It?! — 4 Comments

    • Thanks Alex. I agree. The animals need us volunteers to help save them and to be their voice. Thanks for reading my blog…I appreciate it! Cheryl

  1. This sounds like a good idea, I have recently retired and for once have some extra time to do something like this. After all my dog was rescued from a shelter.

    • Good for you! There are so many awesome dogs in shelters waiting for someone to love them and give them a home for a lifetime!!

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