Advocate For Animals

The essential guide to animal volunteer opportunities in Dallas-Fort Worth

Essential guide to animal volunteer opportunities in Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas rescue dog
Local photographer Sylvia Elzafon works with Dallas Animal Services to raise awareness about animals in need at the city shelter. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon
Couple with adopted dog
When it comes to getting a pet, adopt, don't shop. Photo courtesy of Dallas Animal Services
Spiral diner veggie burger
Try some meatless meals at restaurants such as Spiral Diner. Photo by Marc Lee
Texas Veggie Fair, shirts
Don't miss the annual Texas Veggie Fair. Photo by Marc Lee
Ringling protest
Hold signs and protest outside the circus. Photo by Marc Lee
Dallas rescue dog
Couple with adopted dog
Spiral diner veggie burger
Texas Veggie Fair, shirts
Ringling protest

You love animals, and you'd like to help them in some way. You know there are animals in need, and organizations dedicated to helping them, but you don't know which to support.

Here is our master list of nearly every possible way you can help animals, whether it's an active role or from the comfort of your couch, beginning at the top with those that require a big time commitment, tapering down to easier ways to get involved.

 

IF YOU WANT TO HANG OUT WITH ANIMALS

Adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue. This one's a big commitment. You're taking care of an animal for the rest of its life, and that can be a long-term relationship. In your search for a pet, avoid breeders and instead adopt from a shelter or rescue. (See some rescue choices below.)

Foster an animal from a shelter or rescue. When you foster, you're still giving an animal a home but it's temporary, for a shorter period of time. You're like a babysitter, until a permanent home can be found.

Volunteer at your city shelter. When you volunteer, you don't take animals home; instead, you visit with them and make them more comfortable during their stay at the shelter. City shelters are great places to help because they shoulder the biggest burden, with the greatest number of animals. Major city shelters include Dallas Animal Services, Fort Worth, Arlington, Burleson, Everman, Irving, Garland, Mesquite, Seagoville, Sunnyvale, Collin County and more.

Volunteer with one of the many groups that assist shelters (and there are more than are listed here): 

Volunteer with a rescue group. If you'd prefer to work with a smaller organization than the city shelter, there are hundreds of rescue groups across Dallas-Fort Worth, that specialize in every flavor and breed. Like retrievers? There's a rescue group for that. Like rabbits? There's one for that too. If you want to help cats, there's Feral Friends. A list of rescues is at the bottom of this story; other volunteer opportunities can be found on volunteermatch.org.

IF YOU WANT TO HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE

These groups are good if you want to help animals, but are also seeking social interaction with other people.

Animal Connection of Texas is an activist group that focuses on ending animal suffering, abuse, and exploitation. You'll hold signs at protests and raise awareness about the cruelty of fur, circuses, and animal testing.

Big Fix For Big D is a program that conducts free spay/neuter, vaccinations, and registration clinics for pets in eight Dallas zip codes. You'll be helping poor people take better care of their pets.

Black Vegetarian Society preaches the benefits of a plant-based diet. You'll attend the occasional seminar and potluck gathering.

Dallas Vegan is the biggest vegan organization in Dallas and sponsor of the annual Texas Veggie Fair. You'll attend monthly drink sessions at vegan-friendly bars and other occasional events such as films and special dinners.

Denton Vegetarian Society is a vegetarian/vegan discussion, support, and advocacy community in Denton. You'll attend random seminars, bake sales, and events.

The Humane League Dallas is part of a national organization that does grassroots outreach, education, and campaigning on behalf of animals. You'll hand out leaflets at rock concerts.

Texas Humane Legislative Network is a statewide organization that works on animal legislation. You'll join one of their nine regional chapters and help get out votes on animal protection laws while networking with other animal advocates.

Urban Animal magazine is a quarterly magazine and social enterprise dedicated to increasing the demand for adoptions of homeless pets. You'll respond to requests for supplies and action.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HANG OUT

Donate. If you're not out to socialize with people or pets, one easy way to make a contribution is to donate. Nearly every organization listed here is underfunded and staffed by volunteers. You can donate cash, make contributions to medical bills, or buy food and supplies online and have them shipped.

Go meatless. The simplest thing you can do for animals is to stop eating them. Join the annual Texas Go Vegan Week in October. Follow the Meatless Monday Facebook page or join the Meatless Monday Facebook group where you can trade tips and recipes. Eat more often at vegan restaurants such as Spiral Diner, Be Raw, and Kalachandji's.

Visit a nonprofit sanctuary such as Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch or In Sync Exotics, which rescues animals from zoos and other inhumane circumstances — preferable to patronizing zoos, circuses, or animal-themed amusement parks.

Report cruelty. Call 911: if you see someone on the side of the road selling puppies or kittens; if you see a dog chained to a tree; if you see an animal running on a street without an owner.

LIST OF LOCAL RESCUE GROUPS