If you have a love of animals and you’re looking for ways to get involved in your community, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in Philadelphia. Devote some time helping out at animal adoption centers and clinics, raise awareness against animal cruelty, visit hospitalized children with your trained dog or become a zoo volunteer. The places listed below are just a few of the ways you can make a difference in the lives of other people and, of course, animals.
Forgotten Cats Adoption Center
901 Old York Rd.
Jenkintown, PA 19046
2360 W. Oregon Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Located inside PetSmart stores, Forgotten Cats is a volunteer-run organization that strives to reduce the unwanted cat population and stop the suffering of kittens born to homeless cats. This mission is accomplished without killing. Homeless cats are trapped, vaccinated and spayed/neutered. Sick or injured cats are given medical treatment and volunteers work to find homes for cats and kittens that would do best in a home environment. Training is provided for volunteers, and schedules are very flexible with just a two-hour weekly minimum requirement. Typical volunteer duties include playing with the cats, keeping the cages clean and helping people who are interested in adopting.
Gerald B. Shreiber Pet Therapy Program
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
34th St. and Civic Center Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
The Gerald B. Shreiber Pet Therapy Program at CHOP allows children to interact with dogs in a safe way, providing unconditional love, acceptance and comfort during a time that can be scary and stressful. These visits help children feel more at home, increase social interaction and provide distraction from illness. You can volunteer with your dog to be part of this therapy program. You must be at least 18 years old, and your dog must be at least one year old. All dogs and volunteers must have a current therapy certification and must undergo various trainings, screenings, background and health clearance checks. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one two-hour shift each month.
The Humane League
1601 Walnut St., Suite 502
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Started in 2005, the Humane League is a non-profit organization working to protect and reduce cruelty toward all animals. Currently, farmed animals are excluded from anti-cruelty state laws. Because of this, they are the primary focus of the organization. Volunteers help promote social change that aligns with the organization’s main programs: vegetarian advocacy, humane education and the cage-free campaign. Passing out pamphlets at community events such as festivals, distributing starter kits for vegetarians and speaking to restaurant owners and schools about including more vegetarian options on their menus are just a few of the ways to get involved.
PAWS: Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society
100 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 298-9680 Ext. 30
Spay/Neuter and Wellness Clinic
2900 Grays Ferry Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 298-9680 Ext. 0
Dedicated to saving abandoned, homeless and unwanted animals, PAWS is Philadelphia’s largest no-kill shelter. The non-profit organization operates a low-cost clinic that serves rescue organizations and pet owners without access to affordable veterinary care. And through its foster care network, special events and adoption locations, PAWS helps thousands of animals find loving homes each year. Volunteers are needed at both the Old City adoption center and the Grays Ferry clinic to assist with dog and cat care, cleaning and other office tasks.
3400 W. Girard Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Opening its gates on July 1, 1874, the Philadelphia Zoo is considered the first zoo in America. With elephants, polar bears, gorillas, tigers and more, the 42-acre zoo is home to over 1,300 animals and attracts over 1.2 million visitors each year. With approximately 500 volunteers, volunteers are essential members of the zoo staff. The majority of volunteers work within the zoo’s various education programs, teaching visitors about the various animals as well as conservation. Opportunities are available for teenagers as young as 14 years old, all the way up to senior citizens. Zoo volunteers receive free zoo admission and parking passes, food and gift shop discounts, invitations to special events and more.
Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer fiance would love to open.
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