Top Volunteer Opportunities For Animal Lovers In Connecticut

March 21, 2014 9:00 AM

File photo of a kitten. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Animals need love too, and in Connecticut, there are many places where animal lovers can demonstrate their affections for their furry, four-footed, winged or other non-human neighbors. Whether it is offering donations, professional services, helping out at a zoo or volunteering time to bathe, walk or simply “socialize” with animals, there are many places in Connecticut in need of kind-hearted animal lovers. Here are just a few.

The Beardsley Zoo
1875 Noble Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06610
(203) 394-6565

Hundreds of animals live at Bridgeport’s Beardsley Zoo, and while keeping them fed and healthy is up to the professional staff, there is a lot more to maintaining and running a zoo. That is where the Connecticut Zoological Society and the Beardsley Zoo Summer Intern program fill in the gaps. The Connecticut Zoological Society offers membership and animal sponsorship programs for individuals, organizations and corporations, and coordinates fundraising and educational programs proposed or run by people and groups. The Society also has a list of jobs and projects that need volunteers, and will help match those who wish to give of their time with the most effective way of doing so. The Summer Intern program is also a great way for college-level students and recent graduates to contribute to and learn about caring for the animals at the zoo.

HHH – Horses Healing Humans
340 New London Turnpike
Stonington, CT 06378
(860) 460-4107

Although Horses Healing Humans is primarily dedicated to helping people by partnering them with horses, taking care of those horses requires a lot of work – and most of that is done by volunteers. Such “volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization,” notes the website, as stalls need to be mucked and horses need to be groomed, bathed, fed and walked. The barns and grounds need to be maintained in order for HHH to fulfill its primary mission of providing therapeutic help to heal those in need “through the power of horses.” Just as those horses are helping people to heal, so do they need care – and that is where horse lovers can give of their time and their heart.

Related: Top Places For Pet Photography In Connecticut

No-Kill Animal Shelter of Monroe
359 Spring Hill Road
Monroe, CT 06468
(203) 445-9978

“Rescue, Rehabilitate and Rehome” is the motto by which the staff, supporters and volunteers who keep Monroe’s No-Kill Animal Shelter going live by. Caring for 30 dogs and 30 cats at a time costs money and time, and without donations of both from the public, this shelter could not continue its fine work. Even those without any particular skills or expertise are welcome, for there is always something that needs to be done to keep 60 animals happy, healthy, groomed and fed. Those who cannot volunteer their time but still want to help can always make a donation. Don’t know what to do with a gift card? Director Susan Fernandez says she can make good use of store gift cards – especially if they are from Home Depot, Pet Smart or a retailer that sells the things the shelter needs to stay in good repair or to feed and care for its furry friends.

City of New Haven Animal Shelter
81 Fournier St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 946-8110

In this era of tight budgets and cuts in services deemed “marginal” or “non-essential,” places like the City of New Haven’s Animal Shelter have come to depend more and more upon the public for support. Without volunteers, says Municipal Animal Control Officer Stephani Johnson, the shelter could not function at the level it has for so long. Last year alone, nearly 1,000 animals found temporary refuge in the shelter. Just neutering one of those animals costs $80, and the food bills also mount quickly, for the shelter is almost always near full capacity. Volunteers are always welcome, but instead of contacting the shelter directly, they should work with one of the two main organizations that coordinate assistance from supporters. These are The Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter and the City of New Haven Humane Commission. The Friends can be contacted by calling, writing or emailing the shelter at the address noted above. For information on how to work with the Humane Commission, please call Patricia Lawlor at (203) 946-7802 or email

Danbury Animal Welfare Society (DAWS)
147 Grassy Plain St.
Bethel, CT  06801
(203) 744-3297

For 40 years, the Danbury Animal Welfare Society, or DAWS, has been working to rescue cats and dogs in the greater Danbury area. Although there are usually upwards of four score animals in the shelter at any one time, and hundreds more pass through its doors annually, the Society treats every pet as an individual, thus standing by its motto: “Making a difference…one animal at a time.” DAWS is heavily dependent upon volunteers – those who make donations, support fundraising efforts, work to maintain the physical structure or spend time caring for its inhabitants. There are many ways to volunteer at DAWS. The shelter has a foster home volunteer program, a youth volunteer program and a need for those willing to bathe or just “socialize” with the animals. Volunteers can be either cat or dog oriented, or can work with both species should they be so inclined. DAWS provides training and supervision for its volunteers and also welcomes assistance from professionals in non-pet related careers. At the moment, the Society is looking for volunteer photographers, graphic designers and those with web skills.

Related: Top Breaders In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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