Volunteering with animals: Good for mind and body!


If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss for something to do on a day off, you really want to work with animals but can’t find any jobs, or you’re spending your hard earned cash down the gym every week, then why not consider volunteering at your local animal rescue centre or sanctuary?

Even though I now work full time I still find the time to pop down my local animal sanctuary and help out for a few hours. My speciality is ‘ferret whisperer’, a name I was given a while ago. ‘Crazy ferret lady’ is another I have been ‘kindly’ given, but we won’t go into that one… So getting back on track, I do help with the ferrets but I’ve also worked around a range of animals there including dogs, donkeys, geese, rodents and wildlife such as foxes and hedgehogs. Jobs include cleaning/mucking out, feeding, walking and socialising (the animals, not myself!)

But why would anyone choose to work for free? Well, as I mentioned earlier, if you’re someone that wants to work with animals as a career, then you can’t go wrong volunteering. A lot of places will take someone on who they already know and trust rather than advertise. You’re also of course gaining valuable experience. Animal lovers in general will love the sense of satisfaction gained from knowing you have contributed something to the life of Fido the homeless dog etc. Leaving the living quarters clean and cosy and the food and water bowls topped up, you can’t help but feel like you’ve made life a little better for these sick or unwanted souls.

This is also a great way to get fit, and stay fit! Why pay gym fees to pound a treadmill or lift weights when you can walk dogs and give those arms a workout lifting bags of feed and wood shavings? The fresh air and sunshine has got to be better than air conditioning and bright artificial lighting any day. There is nothing like coming home absolutely shattered, and knowing it’s because you did a good deed. 

One thing to bear in mind is that it can be hard seeing a much loved dog walk out of the doors to his new home, or a sick animal pass away. You can very easily get emotionally attached to the animals in your care. Just something to think about, especially if like me you get quite emotional when it comes to animals.

If this sounds like something you’d like to have a go at, then why not give your local animal shelter, sanctuary or rescue centre a call? Most places are very appreciative of any help they get as quite a few receive no government funding and are run solely by volunteers and rely on donations of food and blankets. 

Here is a list of some animal rescues and shelters in East Anglia, UK. If you are outside East Anglia or even the UK then do have a look online to find some animal sanctuaries near you.







These lists aren’t complete, so if volunteering with animals is something you are passionate about then please do look up a list of local rescues near you.

Happy volunteering!

Vintage Rose x

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