The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

January 21, 2013

Ryan Richardson: Volunteering a great way to help animals

JOPLIN, Mo. — Many of my friends are still making the transition from college to real life. Most of them are getting that first taste of dealing with student loan debt, finding a job and affordable housing to live in.

For most of them, that means cutting expenses to the essentials, which may also mean holding off on welcoming a pet into their home, for now.

While the weight of responsibility may cause some people to eat a ramen noodle diet in lieu of steak dinners, there are still several ways that people can spend time with animals without breaking the bank.

Volunteering at local animal shelters can provide a plethora of benefits to pet-lovers, both young and old, who have extra time to spend in their community. Amber Kenagy, transport coordinator at the Carthage Humane Society, said the benefits are much deeper than meet the eye.

"We have a lot of people who help out as a stress reliever from their normal lives, in addition to people who just lost a pet or had to give their pets up for whatever reason," Kenagy said. "It helps people relax, and it helps these pets become more adoptable when it comes time to put them in a good home. They get more used to people, which makes their transitions into homes that much easier."

Irene Keheley, with the Animal Welfare Society in Miami, Okla., said the need for volunteers keeps the shelters operating.

"We always are looking for new volunteers because there are no holidays or breaks for these pets in our shelter," Keheley said. "You can do a heck of a lot in a few hours that means the world to these dogs."

For those of you interested in improving the lives of homeless local animals, below is a list of animal shelters that accept volunteers. If you have time, please consider taking a look at these shelters or others in your area that could use your assistance.

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