How to Get Involved with a Shelter this October

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, but what if you’re not ready to adopt a dog?

Shelters are chock full of adorable, lovable dogs who need a home. Humane organizations like the ASPCA and the American Humane Association designated October as the month to drive awareness for shelter adoption. The education and advocacy campaigns showcase just how wonderful a shelter pup can be, but if you’re not looking to add a new furry family member, October is still a great time to get involved with your local shelter.

Apply to Volunteer

Check out your local shelter’s website. Nearly every shelter requires a volunteer application. Download and fill it out so that you can get the ball rolling. Once you’ve applied and been accepted, even if you don’t see an opportunity right away, you’ll be added to the shelter’s volunteer database and they will call you when they need help.

Find an Opportunity

Many shelters list their urgent needs. Find an opportunity that speaks to you, then call the shelter to figure out how to get involved. You may be required to go through an orientation session or attend a training class before you’re allowed to perform a specific task.

Be Open-Minded

You might have your heart set on being a dog-walker, but be open to other opportunities, like serving as an adoption counselor. No matter what, shelters always need help, so be open to possibilities.

Make a Donation

What is the ongoing, constant need of every shelter? Funds. You can get involved with your shelter by either becoming a donor or by helping fundraise. Not everyone can give financially, but anyone can help solicit gifts for an auction or lick envelopes to mail out to past donors.


If you have an open heart and an open home, but you aren’t ready to adopt, sign up to be a foster family for a dog or cat in need. Foster families house and care for animals if a shelter is over-crowded or if the animal needs special care, like those recovering from surgery or undergoing heartworm treatment. Being a foster family is a rewarding experience, especially if you’re not ready to adopt a dog but are wanting to be involved in dog rescue.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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