Do you want to impact the lives of pets in your community? Local animal shelters are always in need of dedicated volunteers. There are a variety of ways individuals can get involved with an animal shelter. From hands-on experience, to behind-the-scenes administrative work, there is a spot for all types of volunteers. Whether you are interested in getting involved, or looking to bring more volunteers onto your team, these are five signs you should look for in a good animal shelter volunteer:
1. Love of animals: Volunteers for animal shelters need to be excited to be working with different types of furry friends. While working in a shelter, it is important to have volunteers who are passionate about helping each animal find a new home. Hands-on volunteers will experience long hours spent cleaning, feeding and playing with these animals. Administrative volunteers will also be working in close quarters with these animals.

2. Qualified: Qualifications of a certain role depend on the volunteer position. It is important to evaluate the physical, emotional and mental skills each potential volunteer has. AWOIP has a sample skill screening to help properly place volunteers in order to best benefit the individual and the organization.

3. Patient and kind personality: Many animals that come to shelters have had a difficult past. It is important volunteers are both patient and kind when handling the animals. Working with these types of animals can be a very emotional experience and it is important volunteers are able to be understanding and compassionate.

4. Energetic: Working in an animal shelter requires an upbeat and energetic personality. Volunteers should be excited to be doing something they love: working with animals. Some hands-on tasks can be very physical and some administrative tasks can be very time-consuming, so it is important each volunteer is full of energy.

5. Committed: Shelters are looking for volunteers that are dedicated to the organization and that can commit to spending time at the shelter. Shelters rely heavily on volunteers so it is important they are reliable.
Volunteering at an animal shelter can be a very rewarding experience. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, contact AWOIP to find opportunities in your area. If you are a shelter looking to implement a Volunteer Program, make sure to also check out these tips from AWOIP.

No matter how much you may love cats, you’re likely still not thrilled to be woken up at three in the morning by feral cats serenading each other or fighting over a mate. More and more, though, Americans are looking for better ways to deal with the problem. Not only is the old-fashioned “capture and kill” mode of dealing with feral cats inhumane, it’s notoriously ineffective. Once the local cat population has been rounded up, a new group of cats moves in to fill the vacuum, and the cycle repeats itself.
The same goes for adoption: while some cats are socialized and fond of human company, others will never get over their mistrust. These “unadoptable” cats are often euthanized, leaving them to a fate no better than cats in areas with less humane polices. And even when cats have been successfully adopted, there’s still an ecological niche in your neighborhood that’s just waiting to be filled by more stray and feral cats.
This is where TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs come in. Feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, and vaccinated for rabies. Then they’re released back into the neighborhood. Often, a caretaker will work with community residents to provide safe and natural feline deterrents for areas where cats are a nuisance. They may even set up feeding stations and litter areas to direct cats’ attention to areas where they’ll be more welcome.
Despite the need for a caretaker to act as a community liaison, TNR programs are still more cost-effective than common alternatives. By creating and supporting a non-reproducing cat colony, fewer resources need to be devoted to catching members of a constantly-changing population. Instead, the existing cat population will defend its territory against intruders, while the colony size decreases over time as fewer and fewer kittens are born. And thanks to the lack of annoying mating behavior in neutered cats, there’s a marked decrease in calls to Animal Control.
Studies show that TNR programs lead to neighborhood cats that are quieter, less aggressive, and overall have better relationships with their human neighbors, while the cats themselves live healthier, longer lives. When both human and feline members of your community benefit, what’s not to love?

What is (TNR) Trap-Neuter-Return?
TNR or Trap Neuter Return is widely accepted as the most successful method for reducing free roaming and feral cat populations in a given area. Feral cats can quickly populate an area creating a number of hazards for local community residents and wildlife alike. The cats compete for resources and generally have a poor quality of life due to fighting over food and shelter, and overpopulation.
TNR uses live harmless traps to capture the cats without harming them or causing them additional stress. The cats are then transported to a veterinary clinic where they are treated for medical issues, desexed and ear tipped. Some TNR programs also vaccinate cats while they are in the care of a veterinary medical professional to keep rates of feline infectious diseases to a minimum. Once they are awake and healthy, the cats are released back into their colony area.
The ear tip allows volunteers in the area to see immediately if a cat has been sterilized already to avoid bringing the same cat twice to a clinic. The cat can be released and the trap can be reset to hopefully catch a cat that has not been through the program.
Trap neuter return is more successful than trap and kill because simply removing the colony as a whole will allow new feral cats to move into the space, creating the same set of problems you were facing before. TNR allows cats to stay in their home colony area without reproducing and creating more kittens, thus keeping the population down.

Finding volunteers and foster parents for kitten and puppy season can help take pressure off shelters having to handle all the litters of cuteness on their own. If you are wondering, what ways you can help find volunteers and foster parents for the season the five tips below will help you get a head start.
1. Post Flyers
Before kitten and puppy season even starts up, post flyers about the season around your local area and request help. Make sure the flyers have contact numbers so when volunteers or possible foster parents want to provide help during this season, they can reach you.
2. Place Ads in Papers
Placing Ads in newspapers requesting volunteers and foster parents for your local shelter is another way to receive the extra help you need when kitten and puppy season approaches. Ads in the newspaper should include contact information such as phone numbers and your shelters local address so possible helpers can contact you with ease.
3. Hold an Open House
One of the best ways your shelter can help find volunteers and foster parents for kitten and puppies is by holding an open house and speaking about what the season is and why extra help is necessary. Make sure you serve refreshments and show your appreciate to those who come to the open house.
4. Have a Bake Sale Fundraiser
Holding a bake sale fundraiser to help raise money for kitten and puppy season weeks before it occurs is another great way to help get the word out that volunteers and foster parents are needed. You can place little labels or notes on the baked goods that even say, “Volunteers and Foster Parents are needed for Kitten and Puppy Season Call This Number.”
5. Send Out a Newsletter
Sending out newsletters to all the people in your local community is an outstanding way to bring in volunteers and foster parents to help take care of litters of kitten and puppies during the busy season. The newsletters should explain what kitten and puppy season is and the ways people can help during it to make it easier for your shelter to handle.
End Notes
These are only a handful of ways that can help you find volunteers and foster parents for kitten and puppy season. Other ways is just to speak about it as you do task in your local community or post posters.

Kitten and puppy season is the time of year between early spring and early fall where overwhelming amounts of litters are brought to shelters. During this season, shelters struggle with keeping up with food supplies and pet care products. One of the best ways to prevent this from occurring is to be prepared. If you are wondering how you can help prepare your shelter for handling kitten and puppy season properly the ideas below should help.
1. Stock Up on Pet Food
Before kitten and puppy season starts, it is wise to stock up on pet food. If your shelter is struggling with having the financial means to do so, ask for kitten and puppy food donations from your local community. This way, when kitten and puppy season starts you will not run out of the foods necessary to nourish and help these furry pals grow up into healthy pet’s that could provide lots of love to the family that adopts them.
2. Stock Up on Pet Care Grooming Products
Most of the kittens and puppies that come during the kitten and puppy season are dirty and full of fleas and ticks. Due to these reasons, tons of pet shampoos and grooming products will be necessary to have on hand in order to help get the dirty ones clean. Other essential grooming products your shelter might need are grooming brushes, claw clippers and grooming sheers. Even flea and tick medication and collars are helpful to have on hand for those poor kittens and puppies that need a bit of help ridding the awful insects from their furry coats.
3. Stock Up on Extra Crates, Leashes and Pet Bedding
Stocking up on extra pet crates, carriers, and leashes and bedding before the season starts will ensure your shelter has enough room too safely and happen place the little furry pals until new homes are found for them. You will also need extra pet food and water dishes to go into those extra crates to ensure all kittens and puppies have the ability to access food and water when their little tummies are hungry and thirsty.
4. Stock Up on Extra Toys
During kitten and puppy season, extra toys will be necessary. All kitten and puppies staying at the shelter need to have plenty of fun things to play with to help keep the busy, well-exercised as well as healthy and strong.

Each year, kitten and puppy season occurs between early spring and early fall. These particular times of the year, litters of kitten and puppies are born due to pets and stray animals not being spayed or neutered. Unfortunately, shelters become overloaded with these tiny beings and struggle with feeding and providing care to them all, and those tiny furry friends that are left on the streets end up ill and dying due to infections feline and canine diseases as well as extreme hunger and thirst. The good news is there are ways you can reduce the amount of litters that occur during kitten and puppy season.
1. Important Reason to Spayed or Neuter Your Own Pets
Pets can escape from the hands of your care for whatever reason, which is normally not your fault. Animals get the need to be curious every now and again so they feel the need to take an adventure. During these adventures if your pets are not spayed or neuter, they can cause unnecessary pregnancies in stray animals on the streets, which adds to the unnecessary litters of kitten and puppy season. The best way to prevent unwanted litters during this season is by making sure your pets are spayed and neutered.
2. Importance of Donating to Help Kittens and Puppies Receive Spaying and Neutering
Some people and shelters cannot afford to spayed or neuter kittens and puppies due to a lack of financial means. The best ways to help with the spayed and neutering process is to donate financial means to help get these procedures done. If you run a traveling spayed and neuter clinic maybe, donate some of your time and means to help aid in the process of spaying and neutering.
3. Importance of Working with Animal Control to Care for Homeless or Feral Cats in Your Local Area
Caring for homeless and feral cats or pups in your local area by not only providing them with food, water and some sort of shelter, but by providing the financial means to sprayed and neuter these fuzzy friends you can reduce the amount of stray pets and litters on the streets and in shelters. Maybe even consider adopting some of these homeless cats and dogs so they have a home and are off the streets, which can help prevent unnecessary litters during kitten and puppy season.