Amazing Animal Activities

If you are looking to make a difference and have a love of animals, then community service is a great way to start.

There are numerous ways to earn service hours while helping animals.

Claire Satiroff

There are numerous ways to earn service hours while helping animals.

Claire Satiroff, Columnist

Community service hours are necessary to obtain at a majority of schools, including Horizon Honors. Many people feel a sort of dread or fear when coming to this realization, but community service does not have to be bad. There are a variety of volunteering experiences that can cater to people’s interests. When regarding animal welfare, many organizations provide great opportunities for those wanting to work with animals. Organizations such as the Arizona Humane Society (AZHS) or Saving One Life (SOL) are great places to start this journey.

Humane Teens (HT) is an incredibly educational and rewarding experience. It is a program run through AZHS in which teens aged 13 to 17 are offered the opportunity to gain knowledge about animals and to help the animals at the AZHS. Applicants can apply every semester; all that is required is that they fill out the application with two letters of recommendation, at which point they will proceed to the interview process. Registration is closed as of Feb. 4, but it will be open again in September. If accepted, HT volunteers will be expected to complete a minimum of 24 hours of service at the AZHS every semester. Though that may seem like a daunting number, it is actually quite easy to get that many hours; you can sign up for it every Saturday and the online training courses that are required will also give you hours. Plus, time flies when you’re having fun. I have found that, through HT, I have learned a multitude of skills and information, including how to handle a variety of exotic animals and how to read the body language of dogs and cats. Volunteers will get the opportunity to be a part of all that is done at the AZHS, go to adoption events, handle exotic animals, and learn throughout it all.

AZHS has many other service opportunities too, such as becoming a Junior Camp Counselor (JCC). This is where teens, ages 14-17, get to mentor children during youth development programs for a few weeks. The application process is the same as for HT, though if you are already a member of HT then you have guaranteed acceptance. Not only are these incredible opportunities because of the community service hours that you will acquire or how great it will look on college applications, but you will gain new friendships and have fun while doing it. You will truly feel that you are making a difference. Also, you will get a discount on adoptions and in the goodie store if you do commit to one of these programs. If you are not able to make that commitment, volunteer opportunities are available if you are 16 or older through AZHS. You do not have to go through the application process, but you will be required to complete training.

This is not the only organization that provides services with animals. SOL is a non-profit organization that is mainly focused on cats. Anyone can volunteer regardless of age as long as they have a guardian of 18 years or older with them. They will be required to go through training, but it is only around a one-to-two-hour process. SOL is available at the majority of PetSmart locations and participants will get the opportunity to socialize cats and kittens. Volunteers will be required to clean the cages, refresh the water and food dishes, and wipe down the glass. Volunteers will also be able to choose when your availability will be, so there is no stress over minimum hour requirements. SOL is truly an enriching experience, and volunteers will be able to connect with many different cats and be able to get a glimpse at who they truly are. I have found that many of the supervisors at SOL are incredibly kind and caring. They will not hesitate to sign any service hours for you or write you a letter of recommendation. The environment is comforting and kind, making it a great place to begin if you don’t have a lot of experience with animals.

These organizations do so much good, and you will be able to contribute to this good through these programs. If you have a love for animals, or if you just want to help out, then signing up for these service opportunities is a great way to start.  If the former aren’t for you then some other organizations are Lost Our Home Pet Rescue and Tranquility Trails. If you would prefer some at-home activities, then you could make pet toys or simply donate to shelters! When you need community service hours, why not get them helping creatures you adore?