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Volunteer Jobs Working with Animals
My 8 year old daughter loves animals and would love to volunteer with them in
I do know there's a Montclair 4H and did a little online research into it, but
would love to hear anyone's recent experience. I'm worried 4H may be too much of
a time commitment. Also, from what I read, at least when it comes to the pigs,
they end up in the slaughterhouse. I don't think she'd be into that as a final
So am wondering if there's another program that involves feeding chickens or
goats once a week, for instance. It would be great if there were some education
involved as well as some hands-on experience.
We live in Berkeley.
Thanks for any ideas!
my kid loves animals
Little Farm in Tilden Park has husbandry opportunities for kids -- I know they
have summer camps starting at age 8, but I'm not sure whether they offer year-
round programs, as well.
Some other ideas if that doesn't work out: Oakland Zoo has teen volunteers who
help out in the sheep & goat encounter -- it may be worth checking if they
offer a program for school-age kids to get involved. Many humane societies
(including Berkeley HS, I believe) also accept youth volunteers to come in and
socialize their animals, which may not be exactly what you have in mind but
would at least involve animal care with an ethical slant. Best of luck!
There are lots of community gardens and backyard animals in and around
that might let your child help out. I know of backyard chickens, turkeys,
quail, and rabbits. (The turkeys and rabbits are likely to end up slaughtered
like the pigs at 4H.) Is there a garden program at her school that might be
willing to get chickens or rabbits? There are chickens at the school on
Telegraph a few blocks north of Ashby. I think it is a middle school. If her
school is not willing to add animals to their garden program, try contacting
Institute for Urban Homesteading (http://iuhoakland.com) to see if they have
ideas or resources, as their teachers often raise their own animals and know
community gardens and local organizations that might have animals that she
help care for.
Didn't see the original post but we've been volunteering at House Rabbit Society
in Richmond for a couple of years now. You can sponsor a particular rabbit, or
just come and hang out and feed, pet, and otherwise play with the bunnies. It's
a nice way of having a pet without having the hassels of a pet. friend of the
Editor note: a reply was also received for 4H Clubs
My 15 yo, son will have a few idle weeks this summer. He loves
animals and has in the past volunteered at Milo, which is now in San
Rafael and inconvenient.
I know that the Bkly Animal Shelter (not, EB Humane)...the ''pound''
has volunteer opportunities and that teens 15 or older can volunteer
without parent supervision.
Have your teens done this? For how many hours at a time? Can they go
every day? I will check out w/ Bkly Animal Shelter too, but
wondering about personal experiences.
So far there are no camps he is interested in for those few weeks.
Thanks for any info/other ideas.
mom of teens (oy!!)
My son started volunteering at the Berkeley animal shelter last summer
as an almost-16-year old. Mostly he walked dogs. They are open every
day except holidays, and volunteers can work any hour that they are
open to the public. I forget what the time commitment is, but you can
ask the shelter.
It may take a couple of months from the time you apply until the time
you can start volunteering. You have to take a class (orientation)
that is scheduled only a few times a month (all within the same week).
Then you have to meet with the volunteer coordinator, which isn't
always easy to schedule. So I would apply and sign up for orientation
as soon as possible.
My son got a lot out of it. I am impressed with the integrity of the
My daughter volunteered at the Berkeley Shelter for about 1-1/2 yrs
when she was 16, a couple of years ago. The volunteer has to attend
an orientation and do a mentoring session with an experienced
volunteer where they actually go out on a walk with a dog around
Aquatic Park. As I recall, the shelter requires that you volunteer at
least 1hr./wk. I did occasionally walk with my daughter (I did not
volunteer), but it was her responsibility to do all the walking and
picking up the poop of the dog.
Be aware that there are many pitbull dogs that are at the shelter, but
all the dogs are classified so if you are an inexperienced volunteer,
you usually can only walk dogs that are well behaved. My daughter is
very petite (weighs under 100 lbs) and walked several bigger dogs
without problems. Many people have their dogs off-leash at Aquatic
Park, but if your son loves animals and has walked dogs before, he'll
probably be ok dealing with the situation. FYI,sometimes you come
across people sleeping in the park during the day, but they normally
never bothered her.
dog walker's mom
I don't have experience with the Animal Shelter, but a friend's teen
loves volunteering for the Oakland Zoo. The following is off the
Oakland Zoo web site:
Teen Volunteer Opportunities
Work with Children, Animal Keepers and Zoo Teachers
Are you interested in animals, plants, conservation and children?
Train to be animal interpreters, conservation leaders, ZooCamp
assistants or learn to make enrichments for the animals. Play an
important roll in Oakland Zoo's volunteer core, working with
children, keepers and teachers.
Teen Wild Guide
This program is designed for teen ages 13-18. Participants will
train to be a wildlife interpreter for young visitors in the Wayne
and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo and participate in a variety of
Roots & Shoots projects.
Globe Trotting in Guatemala
Few experiences can affect teens like international travel. The
Oakland Zoo has a history of inspiring teens with trips to exotic
locations such as Uganda, Peru, and Thailand. 2010 will be no
exception, as we return to visit one of our longtime conservation
partners in Guatemala!
ZooCamp Teen Assistants
Spend two weeks this summer as a ZooCamp Teen Assistant. Assist
ZooCamp teachers in their daily teaching duties. Teen Assistants
should be energetic and enjoy spending time with children.
Community Service Projects
Just need a few hours for school? Please check out our on-site
Arroyo Viejo Creek restoration program Click here or stay tuned for
more info on our enrichment programs, coming in Fall 2010.
YOU can play a role in helping us with this important program, by
learning about enrichment, choosing an animal, and creating your own
enrichment project for our animals.
Makes me want to be a teen (well, maybe a teen giraffe...)
My son wants to volunteer with animals this summer - especially
marine life, but any animal care would certainly be considered. Any
ideas in the East Bay?
I ran across Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue Center while helping my
son research volunteer opportunities. I don't know much about them,
but check out their website: http://yuwr.org/ - looks pretty cool to me!
Check with the pet shelters in Berkeley and Oakland. I don't know
the age requirements, but the Oakland program has a class you take
to learn to walk their dogs (could provide training for a future
afterschool/summer job). Lindsey Museum in Walnut Creek trains young
docents and also have a rescue animal division where they take care
of injured/sick animals, and rescue rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. There
is the Marine Mammal Center near the Golden Gate, but that work is
can be dangerous, and I am not sure they let teens train.
A recent post in response to this question referred to ''the Oakland
program.'' It's important to know that there are two animal shelters
in Oakland: the Oakland city animal shelter on 29th Avenue and the
East Bay SPCA in Oakland (near the Coliseum). Unless the policy has
changed, the city shelter has different restrictions for under-18
volunteers. You should check with each separately.
Dog walking mom
My 7 year old daughter loves animals. We would love to find a place
where she can volunteer a few hours a week working with animals but
don't know where to look. Does anybody have any experience with this,
or any suggestions?
The working farm in Tilden Park's Nature Area takes volunteers on
weekends. Also, the Oakland SPCA will allow kids to volunteer along with
Try ARF in Walnut Creek, or any local animal shelter. Not sure of the age
requirements, but these animals need socialization to help them get good
homes. Kudos to your daughter for wanting to help animals, and to you for
P.S. If you're looking for a vacation, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in
Kanab, Utah, is a fabulous place! I go annually to volunteer.
I can't answer your specific question about places to volunteer, but in
terms of ''where to look'' you might check out VolunteerMatch.com. You can
search for local volunteer options by category (incl. work with animals),
and by age group (kids, adults, seniors).
I don't know where you're located, but Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut
Creek trains volunteers for the wildlife hospital.
Also in Walnut Creek is ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation). They may accept
volunteers for caring for dogs and cats.
Have you tried talking to Stanley at the Little Farm in Tilden? I'm not
sure if the starting age is 7 or 9, but the girls work on the farm taking
care of all of the animals.
My 12 year old daughter would like to find a volunteer job
opportunity working with dogs. She would be happy to help
socialize, train, or care for any type of dog, young or old.
We are currently a foster family for the Humane society, but
she would like to work with someone involved in the dog care,
breeding, or training world. Some of the organizations we have
contacted only work with older adolescents or adults. We live
in Marin, but are able to come to the East Bay. Any suggestions
are much appreciated! Susan
Does anyone know of a summer program or daycamp where kids can work with
animals--preferably with cats and dogs? My 12 year old daughter would be
very interested in a program like this.
Also, are there volunteer opportunities for a 12 year old to work with
animals, where a parent/adult wouldn't have to accompany her each time? The
Berkeley Humane Society, for example, requires an adult escort.
this is in response to the parent who asked about summer programs for her 12 yr old
daughter where she could work w/ animals. the sfspca (maddie center) offers cat camps
and dog camps. they're offered as day camps in one week sessions. they're extremely
popular and enrollment is limited so it's done on a lottery basis. i suggest applying
early. my son was fortunate enough to get to do a one week cat camp session in the
summer of 99. although he was older (13) than all the others and felt that most of the
activities were directed towards the younger crowd, he LOVED the time spent with the
cats. he learned a lot about cats, watched a spay operation and spent time petting cats. i
would definitely recommend it.
as far as volunteering goes, you might want to check with some kennels in your area to
see if they would let her help with cleaning up the kennels or walking the dogs that are
boarded. also check w/ pet adoption organizations like the milo foundation or
concern for cats. good luck.
The San Francisco SPCA has a summer day camp
for kids who want to learn more about and be around cats and dogs. I
don't know how early it fills up.
My daughter (12) and I volunteer at the Oakland SPCA. We took two dog
training classes after which we could walk and socialize the dogs and
partecipate in misc. events. The SPCA requires that I'm volunteering at
the same time my daughter does, but we pretty much do our own things since
she is more interested in dogs and I like cats better. She's not allowed
to partecipate in the dog grooming, but cat grooming is ok. We have done
it now for a couple of months and it has been great. Check them out at
their site http://www.oaklandspca.org/ and feel free to contact me through
Did you try Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael? I used to be a
volunteer dog walker there. I don't know how whether they let kids do it.
Ariel Gilbert is the volunteer coordinator.
Guide Dogs for the Blind in, I believe, San Rafael sometimes needs
people, including teenagers, to foster puppies in training. This is quite
a commitment and usually requires some help from the rest of the family,
but it is socially useful work and supposedly fun and rewarding.
I am a volunteer with Hopalong Animal Rescue, a not for profit animal
rescue group in the East Bay, primarily Oakland and Berkeley. We
rescue dogs and cats from the Oakland Animal Shelter who are at risk
for euthanasia. We are always in need of volunteers, adults and
teenagers who can handle dogs at our mobile pet adoptions that are
held weekly throughout the Bay Area. We are also desperate for more
foster homes for dogs and cats, pups and kittens. If anyone is
interested in helping out please go onto our website at
www.hopalong.org and check us out. Then if you would like to help
email us at www.info at hopalong.org. If anyone needs community service
hours for school requirements maybe this would count. Please ask your
friends, neighbors and students and let us know. Thanks. Kathy (8/00)
Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society
has a strong volunteer program. Call
845-3652 or check www.bhumane.org
(from the May/June 1999 Berkeley High School PTSA Newsletter)
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