Whether you’re interested in a career with animals, or just want to spend a little time improving the lives of homeless pets, there are many ways to volunteer with animals in Toronto, from dogs and cats, to horses, and more. Volunteering with animals can be a great way to give back, as well as meeting new people in town. Here are some of the best ways to help out furry friends in town.
Help homeless pets
The same organizations that facilitate pet adoption in Toronto regularly use volunteers to socialize and care for the pets temporarily in their care. This includes the City of Toronto Animal Services, the city’s two humane societies, and independent rescue groups. Volunteer positions within these organizations include visiting with shelter animals and walking shelter dogs, bottle-feeding kittens, or raising animals in your home that require temporary care before finding your forever home. There is also a need for administrative, fundraising, and other adoption volunteers, depending on the agency.
Browse the list of Toronto pet adoption groups to learn more about each one.
Join the Feral Cat campaign
Wild cats are not the same as stray cats. These are cats that have grown up on the streets and are not comfortable around humans, yet they are not really equipped to survive on their own. The Toronto Feral Cat Coalition represents a group of animal welfare organizations and individuals working together to help the city’s feral cat population. Cat colonies are given regular food and warm shelters, and each cat is trapped and spayed or neutered to stop the growth of the colony. Once socialized kittens or strays that have joined wild colonies are, when possible, removed and placed in homes.
Volunteer work with feral cats could involve becoming a colony keeper, trapping cats for vet visits, and socializing kittens so they are ready for adoption. There is also a lot of work to be done in education and community outreach, to improve understanding of the situation and how the community can help. Explore the Toronto Feral Cat Coalition website and member organization sites to learn more and find out how you can best spend your time.
Work with the Community Association for People with Disabilities (CARD)
Are you a horse or someone who wants to get more involved with horses? CARD offers therapeutic riding programs for people with a variety of disabilities at G. Ross Lord Park. In addition to supporting administrative work and events, CARD volunteers can be barn helpers and steelers who lead the horse from the ground during a lesson; More experienced volunteers can help as assistant trainers, trainers, and even horse trainers.
Support guide dogs
The Lions Foundation of Canada’s Dog Handler Program in Oakville offers specially trained dogs to assist people with various disabilities. The puppies spend their first year in a foster home with a volunteer, and volunteers are also needed to help with the dogs they are training, including cleaning cages, feeding the dogs, and spending time with the dogs when they are not in class. . Volunteers are also used in administrative functions such as fundraising and office support.
Attend pet-related events
If you want to do something a little lighter, consider becoming an event volunteer. These types of roles can bring you closer to animals without the responsibility of direct care. Being a host on Woofstock, for example, is a great way to learn more about dogs in a hands-off role. You can also plan your own fundraising event for animal-related charities in the city, depending on how long you have and where your animal-related volunteer interests lie.