Working and volunteering at an animal shelter is rewarding and fun… however it isn’t always easy. There is much more to it than playing with puppies and snuggling with sleeping kittens. People who work and volunteer at shelters have to be dedicated and big-hearted. When someone decides they cannot take care of their pet anymore, or when strays are found, shelter workers are there to take the place of the owner. There are a few main facets that go with maintaining a shelter, including responsibilities, maintenance/upkeep and funding. A shelter must maintain all of these things in order to provide a healthy, safe environment for the animals.
The first aspect of maintaining a shelter is all of the responsibilities that shelter workers have. They have to clean, feed, provide attention and love; they are responsible for the overall welfare of a number of animals. Shelters often have difficulties finding enough volunteers because they need so many and it is a big and sometimes messy job.
Shelters have to be kept tidy and maintained. Whether it is a non-profit, donations-only, or government funded facility, there are always going to be problems that need to be fixed such as everything from leaky pipes to broken fences to electrical issues. There generally isn’t a whole lot of money coming through a shelter, so maintenance problems, that can often times be expensive, can be a large source of anxiety for shelter workers. Shelters also need to maintain a high level of cleanliness for the health of the animals, as well as the workers and visitors. Disease can spread quickly through a shelter, so keeping the place clean is of utmost importance.
The next aspect that comes with working at a shelter is funding. Vaccinations, spay/neutering and any medical issues of an animal are the most challenging aspect that any director will face because it all costs money. Not only do some of the worker wages depend on donations from the public, but the reason the shelter exists, the care of the animals, does as well. Shelters also need funding to advertise the facility. Gifts and donations from the public make a shelter’s lifesaving work possible. You don’t need to be able to donate large sums of money; donation of your time and/or skills is also a way to help a shelter make ends meet.
Along with all of the hard work and dedication that goes into working at a shelter, it is a truly rewarding job for those who stick with it for the long term. Without the workers, shelters don’t exist. Though they can’t say it, animals rely on these workers to provide them with the best lives possible. You can help too by volunteering at an animal shelter.