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How to Volunteer at an Animal Hospital

Husky on an exam table with a vet in the background

Volunteers are an extremely valuable asset for any veterinary hospital. They help with the daily care of animals and can also assist with other important tasks, like data entry. It’s a great job for animal-loving individuals because they can help the sick and injured animals to recover. If you are one of them, keep reading to know about the general steps and requirements to volunteer at an animal hospital.

Ever wondered how to volunteer for an animal shelter? Click here to learn more.

How to Volunteer at Wildlife Hospital (WildCare)?

Located in San Rafael, California, Wildlife Hospital takes care of about 3,500 animals in a year with the help of its dedicated staff and volunteers. They provide non-stop healthcare facilities (365 days a year) to numerous species (about 200) and have more than 250 volunteers.

The primary goal of this organization is to ensure the best health of the admitted animals before releasing them into their habitats. For this purpose, volunteers are trained for every aspect of the process. For example, they learn species identification, correct handling techniques, and physical therapy regimes. Similarly, they are taught the ways to ensure hygiene and safety and the proper methods to prepare food.

The basic requirements and procedural details for applying as a volunteer at the Wildlife Hospital are discussed below.

Volunteer Requirements

Squirrel hanging upside down in a cage
  • All volunteers must watch the orientation video before applying.
  • An applicant must be at least 18 years old at the time of applying (and watching the Orientation Video).
  • Young adults and teens (between the ages of 15 and 17) can learn more and apply for support volunteer positions. They can also subscribe to the e-newsletter and stay informed about the upcoming volunteer opportunities.
  • All volunteers must fill out, sign, and turn in all the required documents.
  • New incoming volunteers must watch 6 online classes through the Google Classroom portal. They should also do their first six weeks of onsite volunteer shifts with an experienced mentor volunteer.
  • The minimum commitment for new hospital volunteers is from March to the end of WildCare’s “Baby Season” (usually until late October).

Watch the Orientation Video

Woman sitting at a desk with headphones on watching a video on her laptop

The very first requirement of WildCare is to watch the orientation video of the Wildlife Hospital. It is available online and covers all the important aspects of the internship. It will provide the applicant with all the information about training, responsibilities, and working routine. Therefore, it’s imperative to watch this video, and any candidate who sends an application without watching the video is rejected.    

Want to volunteer at an animal sanctuary but don’t know where to start? Check out our post “How to Volunteer at an Animal Sanctuary? to learn more.

Commitment

Person writing on different colored tabs on a calendar

Volunteers must attend one 4-hour shift in the Wildlife Hospital every week. Shifts can be scheduled on any day of the week from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm or from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. It’s highly recommended to choose a shift after a thorough evaluation of your schedule and commitment. This is because a volunteer must be available on the same shift every week (to keep things smooth for both parties).

This regular volunteer shift will continue from the beginning of the training to at least the upcoming “Baby Season”. In most seasons, the baby season goes on until late October. 

Training

small group of people in a classroom type setting

Every volunteer will have to go through a 6-class training series (on the Google Classroom portal). In addition to that, he/she will be required to attend a shadowing day. After completing these steps, a volunteer can start working at the Wildlife Hospital. However, volunteers are required to attend at least one educational class (per year) that is approved by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Once a volunteer is there, his/her progress is tracked through 3 training levels. It is necessary to master all the skills of a level before moving on to the next. However, volunteers are allowed to observe advanced procedures for increasing their knowledge and experience. All the details of these training levels can be found at http://wc.convio.net/site/DocServer/Training_Levels.pdf?docID=1401

Want to know How to Volunteer at an Animal Rescue? Click here to find out.

Safety Considerations

Hands wearing blue gloves isolated on a white background

WildCare ensures high standards of safety for their volunteers by making protective gear a compulsion. Therefore, all the volunteers must use gloves, face masks, and eye protection while attending to an animal. Similarly, all the volunteers must have a current tetanus vaccine. This is because volunteering with wild animals comes with a lot of health risks, and they should be minimized.

In addition to that, people with compromised immune systems are not allowed to volunteer at the Wildlife Hospital. Likewise, pregnant women are not accepted for this role.

Clothing

Pink, orange, and white sneakers against an orange background.

Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes at all times during their shift at the Wildlife Hospital. Although WildCare doesn’t have this restriction, most volunteers choose to bring separate clothes for their shift. Shirts with long sleeves and pants are highly recommended to keep things comfortable. This type of clothing is also effective for this role because your clothes are going to get dirty.

If you still have any questions about the process, you can contact the Volunteer Manager of WildCare at volunteer@discoverwildcare.org.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.