Animal shelter volunteer opportunities in L.A.

For those with a hankering to volunteer at an animal shelter, Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles, California, is the place to be, in more ways than one.

Translated, that means you do not necessarily have to be present at the center to volunteer. Many ways of volunteering, from both near and far, are opening up.

Volunteers putting together pet adoption gift boxes

One way to volunteer from afar is by putting together a gift box, or what’s being called an "adoption in a box." Patty Hegwood, director of Volunteer and Visitor Engagement, says volunteers can assemble an adoption box for a cat or dog, and even personalize it for an individual animal found on the center’s adoption page. "It can be the size of a shoe box, or whatever size they like," she says. People can include treats, toys, a bed, a T-shirt, or even a letter written to the future adoptive family, and then mail or ship the box to the shelter.

"When the dog or cat is adopted, the note can be given to the new adopter," Patty explains. "They can thank them for adopting a shelter animal and encourage them. It’s a great way for people to connect with one another and give each other props."

Patty adds, "One of the things people can do is look on our wish list and add items in an adoption box from that."

Other ways of volunteering from a distance include sponsoring animals or promoting them on social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, and personal blogs. Volunteers can look through the shelter’s adoptable dogs and cats and pick animals to promote.

Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in L.A. volunteer opportunities

At the center, opportunities are aplenty as well.

"We're heavily relying on the support of our volunteers to effectively operate the center on a daily basis," says Kaylee Hawkins, volunteer coordinator for Best Friends Los Angeles programs and the center.

"Volunteers can help in so many capacities," Kaylee says, "which range from greeting guests to helping with administrative/data entry work, and from laundry and clean-up to animal socializing."

Other opportunities include helping the center’s trainer and transport team with assessing animals at the six Los Angeles Animal Services facilities to pull dogs and cats for the center. A volunteer receptionist is also needed at both the Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center and clinic.

Making a difference, wherever you are

Whether you live in the area or out of town, the opportunities to help are there. Kaylee points out, "Every single way a volunteer chooses to participate is essential to the overall mission of guiding these adoptable animals into loving homes and serving the neighborhood with key clinic services, including spay/neuter."

Combined with volunteer support from afar, "We're helping lead Los Angeles to no-kill status," she says, "and a time when there are No More Homeless Pets."

Interested in volunteering?

Find out more about how to sign up to volunteer at Best Friends Pet Adoption and Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles.

Photo by Sarah Ause Kichas