Team Up With Your Dog for Volunteer Work

Your Labrador retriever Harley could easily become a social director. This outgoing four-year-old pooch seems to love everyone, engaging with canine and human buddies on neighborhood walks and dog park visits. You think Harley’s easygoing personality would make him ideal for human/canine volunteer work. Before proceeding, however, your Lakeville, MN vet will give him a physical exam and update his vaccinations. The vet will consider your companion’s ability to remain calm in challenging situations. If he approves, investigate nearby volunteer opportunities.

Canine Good Citizen Badge

Harley got a gold star for his obedience class work. He’ll return to school for his American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Badge. Many non-profit groups require dogs to obtain this certification before working with them.

Your companion must excel in a 10-part obedience and behavior test, conducted at home and around your community. Your local AKC club can provide you with class schedules and testing details.

Canine Goodwill Ambassador

Although you enjoy supporting an animal rescue group’s thrift store, you’d like to become more involved in the organization’s work. Chances are, the group participates in community fairs and pet expos. Perhaps Harley could serve as the group’s “Canine Goodwill Ambassador” for these events.

Learn about the group’s mission and complete your volunteer requirements. If you and Harley can wear matching T-shirts and/or bandannas, you’ll create an especially good impression.

Furry Reading Buddy

Your agreeable overgrown puppy thrives on children. You think he’d make a great “Tail Waggin’ Tutor” for elementary school-age students who need reading help. Therapy Dogs International sponsors this national program, in which students read aloud to a friendly pooch. Ideally, the child will develop reading confidence and will begin reading to his (or her) own dog.

Although you’ll attend each session, Harley will run the show. To learn more, ask your elementary school librarian or principal how your volunteer team can help.

Friendly Hospital Visitor

Many hospitals operate “Friendly Canine Visitor” programs, allowing specially trained dogs and handlers to visit willing patients. If you’re comfortable in that setting, ask the facility’s patient advocate how Harley can become a canine volunteer. If the hospital isn’t familiar with the program, maybe your people-loving dog can blaze the trail.

When Harley next visits your Lakeville, MN vet, share his rewarding volunteer experiences. To prepare your dog for volunteer work, contact us for an appointment.