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Dog Walkers: Volunteer to Walk Dogs at Animal Shelters

by Ann Mason
The Challenge

Volunteering as a dog walker at your local animal shelter or humane society is a meaningful way to make a difference in the lives of homeless dogs in your community.

Dogs in animal shelters are typically confined to cages or small areas.  The isolation and restricted activity can cause health and behavior problems that affect the dogs' quality of life and chances for adoption.

Volunteer dog walkers provide the daily exercise, affection and socialization that confined dogs need to stay healthy, happy and adoptable so that they can one day go home to a family that will care for them in ways their original owners did not.

Animal shelters and humane societies rely on the help of volunteers to operate; dog walking is one of the most flexible ways to help. Most shelters allow volunteer dog walkers, who have completed an orientation, to simply drop-in during regular business hours to walk and play with the dogs.

If you are an animal lover interested in brightening the day of a lonely dog that needs a little attention and exercise -- and if you need maximum flexibility with your volunteering -- walking dogs may be for you!

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  • Find your local animal shelter by entering your zip code at Pets 911 or Petfinder.
  • Contact the closest animal shelter to inquire about dog walking opportunities. Complete any necessary paperwork, orientation and training required by the shelter before you begin volunteering with the dogs.
  • Encourage friends and co-workers to join you as a volunteer dog-walker, and remind people considering getting a dog that your local animal shelter has many adoptable animals eager to find new homes.

To learn more about health and welfare issues facing dogs and other pets in animal shelters, contact the Humane Society or The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

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