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What is a volunteer?

A volunteer is a person who offers to help others with the work they are doing. A volunteer does not get paid. Volunteering offers other rewards. Did you know that volunteering helps you become a better person? When you help others, you make a difference in their lives. You become more confident. You learn new skills. And you make lots of new friends.

On this page we want to shine a spotlight on kids who are working hard to make a difference in the world by volunteering with animals. Do you help out at an animal shelter? Do you collect canned foods for pets? Do you pet sit? If you volunteer to help out animals in any way, we want to hear from you. Tell us everything you do and send us photos and we'll post it all!


Read about these amazing volunteers! (updated 6/2/09 New photos for Jammie below!)

New!Abby is compassionate eleven year old from North Carolina. She is an entrepreneur (a person who organizes and starts a business) with lots of ideas to help animals in need. She has set some summer goals for herself and when her local shelter opens, she will be ready to help them out. Read her exciting plans below.

SpotlightWell, this summer I am starting a doggie-day-care/spa and I might even start walking dogs! I am donating this money to this Animal Shelter who hasn't even built a shelter! They can't afford it, and there are poor kittens, puppies, dogs, and cats, who are suffering. Last month I went to their fundraiser and they had adoptions, food, and contests. I feel really bad for all those animals!

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Ten year old Amara is a tireless volunteer from Maine who does all kinds of things for animals. She has teamed together with her friends to help raise money for homeless animals. While she's raising money, she's also helping out her neighbors. This is one creative individual! Read all about her activities below.

SpotlightMy friends and I have started a fundraiser for local animal shelters. We make unique crafts and sell them. We work at a lemonade/treat stand in the summer and a hot cocoa/treat stand in the winter. We help others by doing some work for them such as shoveling their driveway or walking their dogs. I am going to start a doggie spa in the summer to make some extra money. We each have a role in this process. I use the internet for ideas and help. My friend, Brianna, does the craft stuff and my friend, Abigail, does most of the work. We all use the phone and mail to contact each other and sometimes we meet up to do stuff together. We have thousands of ideas and are going to make the animals in all our local shelters really happy!


Avani is a hardworking ten year old from Colorado. She does all kinds of ambitious activities at the Humane Society in her town. Most humane societies run on donated money and they always need volunteers to help them take care of the animals that are there. All of the animals at the Humane Society are waiting for new homes. Being a volunteer is something kids and adults can do to help the dogs and families in their neighborhoods.

SpotlightI work with the dogs at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. We walk them, do pet laundry, clean poo or pee, feed them, wash pet dishes, give them toys, give them blankets, and just make sure they don't cry.

Let me give you a close up to a few of these things. This is the way a walk at the humane society works. First you have to look at the kennel sheet which tells you how many times a dog has been walked. Each dog needs three walks. Then, you have to get a leash the right size and get a sign that says 'I'm a lucky dog, I'm on a walk' so that if someone wants to adopt that dog they know where it is. Then you put the sign on the kennel and put the leash on the dog and that's the whole process to walk a dog!

Now I'm going to tell you how you do pet laundry. In the laundry room there are pet beds, towels, rags, and more.There is a HUGE bucket where all the laundry goes. On the laundry there is poo, pee, and blood (from surgeries). To do laundry, you have to put on gloves. You take some laundry out of the bucket. You put it in the washer and let it wash. Then you put it in the dryer and let it dry. Then you take it out of the dryer and fold it up and put it on the shelf.

I hope everyone will decide to volunteer at their local humane society because you can have fun and you can help homeless animals. They're so cute!


Lauren, age thirteen, is a generous volunteer who works with dogs at the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). This organization works to find ways of preventing cruelty to animals all over the United States. Lauren also gives a very special gift that helps with all the projects that the SPCA does.

SpotlightI volunteer at the SPCA and I give $200 a year and I also walk the dogs. Sometimes we even foster a dog. I take care of the dogs and it is really fun. If you can't adopt, foster! It is an awesome way to help.


Thirteen year old Jessica is learning lots of great things at a veterinary office and at the same time does a wonderful service by volunteering to help out. She must have lots of energy to do such good work after a long day at school!

SpotlightMy mom, Mechele, works in a veterinarian office and after I go to school, I go to help her and I have helped a many of dog ... I cannot count how many.


Fourteen year old Courtney is a very enthusiastic volunteer from California. She helps out a local store with their pet adoptions. It gives her a good sense of accomplishment when she matches a dog to their new owner. She also has a very special plan for her life - read below to find out what that is!

SpotlightI help out at Petsmart Monday through Friday from 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm. Whenever they have pet adoptions, I always love to find these animals the perfect owners. One time, I was able to give twelve loving animals a new home. It made me so happy. When I turn sixteen in two more years I'm planning on beginning to complete all of my biology classes so I can study to become a veterinarian.

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Jamie is a remarkable eleven year old from Illinois. She does a very important service in her neighborhood. Older people, like all people, enjoy having pets. But often it's difficult to care for their animals. So Jamie offers to help them take care of their pets. In that way, Jamie also is taking care of her neighbors. She allows them to keep their pets longer than they might have. And, the pets get to stay with with people they love.


I go to old people's houses after I get home from school and I help them take care of their animals. I take the dogs for walks, I give them baths, and I also do anything like feeding. One house that I go to, she cannot get out of her bed so I bring the dog to her and it's a very little dog.


Emily is a hard-working fifteen year old. She volunteers with a cat rescue group doing the most important job there is - fostering and socializing the cats who are homeless. Animals live in foster homes while they're waiting for their forever homes. While these cats and kittens are living with Emily, she helps socialize them. Both cats and dogs need socializing so they can be good companions to their new owners and good citizens in the community. Emily talks about the things she does to help socialize the rescued cats and kittens.

SpotlightI help get kittens and cats ready to be adopted by fostering them. Sometimes they're mean, sometimes they're sweet, little, messy, or sick. They all just need good homes and help! I help with getting them ready to be around children and people, desensitize them to everyday sights and sounds (laundry machines, dishwashers, pots and pans, people walking near them, and so much more!) You'd think a cat would be used to these things, but sometimes they're not. A lot of cats come from Animal Control, others are dumped, and still others are just dropped off with the rescue. No matter how they get here, it is my job to socialize and prepare the ones that I am given before they are adopted out.


Catrina is a remarkable fifteen year old. She did not say where she lives, but the pet store in her neighborhood is lucky to have her as a volunteer. Volunteering isn't always easy. It's a commitment to get up, dressed, and out the door to help someone else out. Catrina helps not only the animals, but the employees at this store.

SpotlightI go to the pet store to do stuff like clean out the cages, feed them (the animals), give them fresh water, and I get to play with them. I take them out and bring them into a fenced in big cage. I check them to make sure they don't have fleas or any sickness. My dog comes sometimes. He is a German Shepherd.


Patricia is an energetic fourteen year old volunteer who lives in California in the USA. Her volunteer work takes her to PetSmart, a store that sells pet supplies. PetSmart also helps the community by bringing in dogs that do not have homes. They advertise to the public and hope that people come see them and take one home. These dogs are usually in a pen or a cage. Patricia has found a way to be sure that these sweet animals find homes.

SpotlightI help out the dogs at PetSmart. I help them get adopted by teaching them tricks and making them look more adoptive. I take them out of their cage and walk them around so people could see what good dogs they actually are because in the cage they're really barky and people don't adopt as much so taking them out helps.


Our next amazing volunteer is Taylor. Eleven year old Taylor lives in New York in the United States of America. You might say that she is an entrepreneur (a person with great ideas). She goes to her neighbors and offers her services as a dog walker. A dog walker needs to be physically fit and healthy to walk many dogs all over her neighborhood. She also needs to be good with dogs and friendly to people she meets along the way. A dog walker also needs to know how to work with the different sizes and personalities of the dogs she walks.

SpotlightI volunteered to walk dogs in my town.

I walk three dogs. Jenny, Lucky, and Star. Star is the most active. Lucky is the easiest to walk, and Jenny is the most difficult to walk because she doesn't want to go anywhere, and she is very little. The way I walk active dogs is I give them something that will occupy them, like a toy that they can hold in their mouth (usually it works) ~Ha! ha! Sometimes I bring treats with me to give to the dogs. My favorite dog to walk was my neighbor's dog, Jenny. I haven't walked Jenny anymore because she is getting kind of old, but I still have many other dogs to walk.

When I meet a new dog, I usually pet it for awhile so they will get used to me. Then I see how they do on the leash. If they do good, I take them for longer walks than normal walks with new dogs. If they do poorly, I usually take them up and down the road 20 feet each way.

It's a fun job and a great way to help the community!!!

Send us your story!

Our first special volunteer is Jammie. Jammie is fifteen years old and lives in Michigan in the United States. Her volunteer job is working at a doggie daycare near her home. Doggie daycares are very popular. People like to take their dogs to these places and leave them there while they work or take care of other responsibilities. Usually the dogs at the daycare get to play together. A dog who would normally be home alone now has lots of friends. Here is what Jammie does at her volunteer job, in her own words:

SpotlightFor my volunteer job, I work at a doggie day care. I get to work at 2:30 and work until 6:00. Some nights I help with the obedience classes, then I work until 7:30. It's so much fun!!! We write up little report cards to tell the owners what other dogs they played with and what their favorite games are. It's very interesting to watch the dogs work things out on their own, playing together like old friends!!!
Jammie's dogs More of Jammie's dogs

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