(Credit, Melissa Moreno)

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community and to help those in need. When considering volunteering your time for a cause or organization, consider the animal community. Animals depend on the human race to protect and take care of their needs and so many animals are neglected, abused and many abandoned. Without the assistance of volunteers, these poor creatures would suffer needlessly. Fortunately, there are countless organizations in the Houston area that provide a home and care to animals in need.

Houston SPCA
900 Portway Drive
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 869-7722

The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is the city’s first and largest animal protection organization and shelter. This amazing organization is completely funded through donations and strives to end the suffering, abuse and exploitation of all animals and to free as many as it can from this plight. Volunteers are greatly needed for the continuation of programs such as this one. To volunteer at the Houston SPCA, one must complete an application and after approval, will receive extensive training. The Houston SPCA prefers long-term volunteers as opposed to a one-time volunteer activity in order to justify the training and orientation process and also so it can ensure the volunteers are truly interested in the program and the animals’ well being. There are many volunteer opportunities available at the Houston SPCA in a variety of areas such as Mobile Adoption, Humane Education and many other special events throughout the year.

Citizens For Animal Protection
17555 Katy Freeway
Houston, TX 77094
(281) 497-0591

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) is a non-profit organization that shelters, rescues and places homeless animals for adoption with families who want to add a special pet to their family. By speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, CAP not only rescues animals in need, but provides education to the community to promote awareness for this cause. Volunteers are needed to assist with a variety of programs and duties, including hands-on help with animals when they first arrive at the shelter, assisting families in choosing their new pet and even working at the Happy Tails Pet Supply Shop or CAP Thrift Store. A minimum six-month commitment is preferred to fully gain the benefits of the extensive training to ensure the safety of the animals, staff and volunteers. Citizens for Animals Protection welcomes volunteers of all ages, including youth between the ages of 12 and 18.

The Houston Zoo
6200 Hermann Park Drive
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 533-6500

Volunteering at The Houston Zoo can not only be rewarding but essential in ensuring that the zoo is a great place to visit. Currently, over 300 adult volunteers contribute their time and care to the animals of The Houston Zoo, and during the summer months, a team of students ages 13 to 17 volunteer their time to not only assist in care of the wildlife, but also to gain valuable experience about the animals and conservation. A commitment to volunteer is a requirement and adults seeking to volunteer their time at the zoo must commit to a year of 60 hours of service. Those who desire to give back to the wildlife community in Houston reap benefits include training and support, invitation to special volunteer appreciation events, discounts on concessions and Zoo membership, in addition to developing new skills and experiencing a special relationship with others with similar interests. The Houston Zoo also offers several summer programs for students and those interested in veterinarian medicine.

Related: A Guide To The Houston Zoo

Friends For Life Animal Shelter & Sanctuary
107 E. 22nd St.
Houston, TX 77008
(713) 863-9835

Friends for Life is not only a shelter, but a sanctuary for abused, neglected and abandoned animals. This dedicated organization is funded through private sponsors who share the passion for animals. The Friends for Life Animal Shelter and Sanctuary offers no-kill solutions to the animals of Houston and includes programs such as rescue, rehabilitation, adoption, humane education and animal food/supply support, all with the much-needed assistance of community volunteers. After the training and orientation process, volunteers, 18 and older, may assist in the areas of direct care of the animals, adoption counselors and at special events.

Rambo the dog (Credit, Melissa Moreno)

Houston Humane Society
14700 Almeda Road
Houston, TX 77053
(713) 433-6421

The Houston Humane Society is an organization that operates on the generous donations from the community. This includes volunteers who donate their time and care for the homeless animals of Houston. Volunteers as young as 12 years of age are welcome to lend their efforts to assist in making the life of the animals in the care of the Humane Society better through proper care and awareness.

Related: Best Dog Walking Trails In Houston

Melissa Moreno is a freelance writer covering all things Houston. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.