Volunteers Change the World – Be The Change for Animals

by Mary Haight on April 17, 2013

Be The Change“To change the world, start with one step – however small, first step is hardest of all…” ~Dave Matthews

The heartbeat of organizations worldwide, volunteers are working every day to create and be the change they want to see. From far-off jungles to organizations in your town, there’s a network of incredible people constructing a new reality for those in need. April is National Volunteer Month, time to put the spotlight on the people who willing give up time with their families, their pets and their friends to invest it in something bigger than themselves.

The role of volunteers has grown significantly in organizations everywhere, especially over the past five years as budgets tightened. Animal shelters and the pets they save have been well-served by those willing to take a hands-on approach and also by those who help with legal, volunteer-driven fundraising events, computer repair, and other special projects that there’s no time, staff or expertise to implement. The financial benefits gained make it possible for more animals to get care and/or adopted.

Volunteers are working to care for and protect animals. Sometimes opportunities come as a surprise while you’re busy doing other things as Amy Burkert of Go Pet Friendly recently found. She was conducting a “March Madness” contest for the top spot as Best City for pet travelers when one of the two competing cities, Annapolis, failed to vote on a bill that would have superseded the State’s Breed Specific Legislation.  A volunteer effort was born out of that incident to stop a different kind of madness.

Volunteers also work as humane  investigators, court advocates in cruelty cases, and many other functions necessary to the protection of animals. They are there again when you lose your dog. Mel Freer of No Dog About It has written extensively about her personal experience losing one of her dogs, found and safe through the efforts of all the wonderful volunteers working to find lost pets.

There are so many opportunities to participate, to be the change, even in the short term. Volunteer vacations reach beyond the familiar, connecting us to different cultures in unexpected, even delightful ways. Amazon CARES in Peru has a great international vet, vet tech, and experienced animal handler jungle volunteer adventure for two weeks for Americans, more for Europeans who have longer vacations.  There are opportunities to learn more about elephants and participate in current research in Thailand, with a 40,000 Thai Baht donation (just under $1400 US) given to the Golden Triangle Elephant Research Program from the hotel for each 4-day package booked.

Volunteers are the life’s blood of all manner of organizations, doing things where things need to be done. You can be part of this – choose your interest, build something, plant ideas — or city gardens, use your art, help right wrongs, heal wounds, offer compassion, or simply contribute a few hours here and there…be the change in your corner of the world and see what results.  Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers out there! I would not want to see what the world would look like without you.


I think it is just right to give our appreciation to each and every volunteer all around the globe. It is really nice to hear stories about people who keep on doing good things for others without asking for anything in return. Their heart is truly special and it just reminds us that goodness is still present here in this world. We must not stop hoping and let us all be inspired by these people.


So very true. If not for volunteers our world would be a very sad and lonely place. Just think, it was volunteers working the Boston marathon when those bombs went off. If not for them and the police and all those who took runners into their homes, we would not have stories of hope to remind us not all people are bad. I am especially grateful to the volunteers who helped me when Cupcake was missing. How does one thank people who just help because they care? 


Great post Mary. A good reminder that there is much good in this world.


This is a great post honoring the volunteers that make a difference every day. Thanks so much for the link to my post, as well. We're trying to keep the pressure on and help the people of Maryland put this breed specific law that was trust upon them in their rearview mirror.

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