Snuggle Buddies: Unique Volunteer Ideas For Retirees
Retirement is a great time to start a regular volunteering gig. Not only is it a great way to ward off some of the boredom and loneliness that can come with major life changes (like retirement), it’s also a way to help others and get to know your community. Here are some options you may not have considered yet. Must love animals and babies.
Go For A Walk—With A Furry Friend In Need
Are you experienced with German Shepherds? Do you have a soft spot for Spot? No need to full on foster if you’re not ready to take an animal into your home. Volunteering to walk dogs at your local animal shelter can be just as good for you as it is for the dogs. You get out of the house, dogs get out of their kennel, everyone gets a little exercise.
If you’re interested in joining a rescue group for a particular breed of pets, ask your local veterinarian. Chances are they have a contact at a rescue group that wants you to join its pack.
Discover A New Lease On (Wild)Life
A wildlife center is often part of a state’s parks and wildlife department. They always need more volunteers for animal care, public education and fundraising events. Centers receive baby birds, deer, and other sick or hurt animals found in the wild, especially in the spring and after storms.
While volunteering at the wildlife center you may find yourself bottle-feeding a baby squirrel after a veterinarian has tended to it. Or, you may be asked to tidy the cage of a recently discharged rabbit family. Most centers depend heavily on volunteer workers to keep them running. If there isn’t a center near you, check out nature conservation group Audubon Society and find out how you can become active in their chapter. Today there are over 450 active chapters!
Research has shown babies crave being held. Those who aren’t cuddled enough can suffer long-term neurological and emotional consequences, especially those in situations of withdrawal from certain substances, or recovering from illness and surgeries.
Volunteers can help fill in the gaps to relieve exhausted parents and nurses, and literally sign up to cuddle with infants in need. Check with your local hospital for requirements, training and available volunteer positions.
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