My name is Katie Martino and I’m currently a Communications Specialist at a Kansas City company called VolunteerMark.  VolunteerMark is a volunteer management tool that makes life easier for nonprofits and volunteers.  I took this job because I realized the hardships of trying to sign up for a volunteer position and the process taking way longer and being more difficult than it should be.
Volunteering has been a really influential part of my life, especially volunteering at animal shelters.  It can be just as beneficial for you as it is for the animals.  Of course the animals need some TLC, but have you thought about how much it could affect you?
I didn’t realize how much it would affect me, but it did.  After I lost two of my pets to old age over the summer (my beautiful, loyal miniature sheltie and affectionate, loving Tabby cat), I was completely devastated.   In our house, our animals are family, not just pets.  After about a month of grieving, the house was a bit too quiet and empty, so we headed to our local animal shelter (PALS) to adopt a kitten .
I fell in love with the animals and the shelter.  I immediately turned in an application and began volunteering as soon as they accepted it.  I didn’t have a job at the time, and I was still upset about losing my pets over the summer, so I was looking for a positive change.  The first week volunteering completely turned my mood around. 
The people at the shelter were all compassionate and very welcoming toward me.  I not only created relationships with the people, but the animals, too.  I began to look forward to the days I volunteered and discovered skills I previously didn’t know I had.   It was a completely rewarding experience.
Who knew that a little bit of volunteer work and adopting an animal could make someone so happy?
If that’s not enough reason to volunteer at your local animal shelter, here are some more benefits:
  1. Make an impact.  If you think that volunteering at an animal shelter isn’t actually helping the animals, think again.  You’re joining a compassionate group of people whose common goal is to save animals.  You’re making their jobs a little easier and freeing up their time to do more good in the world.
  2. Make new friends.  Of course you’ll make friends with the people who work at the shelter, but I guarantee you’ll make a ton of new furry friends, too.
  3. Attain skills for a new job.  You’ll learn a ton from volunteering at an animal shelter.  You’ll be doing some hard labor, but you’ll also learn soft skills, too.  Everything you learn volunteering will help you with your career.  Who knows, maybe volunteering at an animal shelter will lead you down a new career path.
Are you ready to volunteer or adopt yet?  Here’s a list of my favorite local animal shelters:

If you’re not in the Kansas City area, visit Pet Finder to find animal shelters near you.  

For more posts from Katie, visit her at VolunteerMarkor What Katie’s Baking.
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