Is there anything better than playing with puppies and dogs all day?

The short answer is no.

The long answer is no, and even science backs it up! Studies regularly show that playing with animals can help lower stress levels and increase your heart health.

If you’re interested in doing your part to help animals, considering volunteering at one of these caring animal welfare organisations.

Animal Anti-Cruelty League, countrywide (AACL)

One of our favourite animal welfare organisations, and a long-time recipient of our ongoing support for vulnerable animals. We’ve donated over R300,000 to pets in need during lockdown and the AACL was the main recipient.

They protect and find homes for pets all over South Africa and welcome support in the form of your valuable, animal-loving time. If you’re in or near Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Ladysmith or Bredasdorp, they need you!

Click here to volunteer with AACL.

TEARS™ Animal Rescue, Western Cape

Tuned in, compassionate and understanding, TEARS has been active on the Cape Town peninsula for 20 years. Visit their Sunnydale premises in the Mother City to see how well they run their cat- and dog-loving centres. You can help by offering your time to cuddle and care for adorable, deserving cats and dogs awaiting adoption, by fostering one or more of them, or even by helping with gardening duties.

Gift your time and skills as a TEARS animal shelter volunteer here

Mazarat Animal Rescue, KZN

This organisation operates out of boarding kennels on Mazarat Farm and would love your support. They describe themselves as a “pro quality of life, safe haven for rescue animals, that endeavours to rescue, rehabilitate, sterilize and rehome rescued, abandoned and surrendered dogs and cats.”

They educate kids about pet care and sterilisation in local schools, and offer reduced-rate veterinary services to pets with financially disadvantaged humans throughout the year. If you’re near the Waterfall area (just outside Pinetown), get in touch.

Get in touch to volunteer here.

Wetnose Animal Rescue Centre, Gauteng

This no-kill shelter will not put down animals who aren’t adopted – so some of the pets awaiting adoption may live there for a long time. This means your visits count even more for their wellbeing. If you’re a PTA or JHB resident, bring your love and cuddles to their 600+ dogs and cats in the Bronkhorstspruit area.

Join the Wetnose volunteer crew here.

What to expect

Most organisations will register you online, ask a few preliminary questions about your skills and experience, offer an in-person orientation session or training to qualify you as a volunteer and then add you to their team of engaged and caring humans who actively make a difference to deserving, homeless pets. Who knows, you may fall in love with one of their furry friends and adopt!

Who else will be there

Along with the organisers, potential pet parents, workers, and other volunteers, you might be surprised to run into shelter vets.

“Shelter medicine is a field of veterinary medicine that combines individual animal health care with the needs of the [animal] population,” explains the SPCA. “Shelter medicine is an exciting, growing field that is now being taught in many veterinary schools,” with the goal of improving the health and well-being of animals in shelters

ASPCA Pro highlights that the primary goal of shelter medicine is to prevent disease rather than just treat it, as treatment is time-consuming, costly, and often results in prolonged pain and suffering.

Some of the key aspects of shelter medicine include:

  • Infectious disease management and prevention.
  • Population management and animal welfare.
  • Medical, surgical and emergency care.
  • Caring for and providing documentation for animals who are part of cruelty cases.
  • Shelter facility design.
  • Clinical behaviour.
  • Community programs and working with community veterinarians to share information.

ASPCA Pro finishes, “Shelter medicine must balance the physical and behavioural needs of the individual animal with the overall health of the herd without jeopardizing the welfare of either one.”

In this way, it differs to private veterinary practice. In a private practice, a vet puts your pet’s needs first and foremost (and we help you pay for it).

Need to cover your pet? We offer competitive cover at a price you pick. What’s more, each new policy helps us support shelter animals on your behalf at no extra cost to you. Chat to us about how you can Name Your Price™ for pet insurance that really cares today.