How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Volunteer at an Animal Shelter

Do you want to volunteer at an animal shelter? Maybe you want to do it so you can be around animals, or maybe you need a volunteer project for school or another activity; whatever reason you have for wanting to volunteer at an animal shelter, the first thing you have to do is make sure your parents approve of it. Start with step one for some steps to get your parents to agree!


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    Do some research. This is important; some shelters do not allow children volunteers. Make sure that kids your age can volunteer without an adult watching them. If you have to have a chaperone or adult monitoring you, find out if the shelter employees themselves are willing to supervise, or whether you need to go with an adult.
    • Make a plan for your participation; find out how often you'd be volunteering, how you'd get there, what you'd be doing, and how you'd balance this responsibility with your other tasks. The more information you can prepare about your plan, the more seriously your parents will take your wish.
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    Present the benefits for both the animals and you. Write a list, if it helps to organize your thoughts. List why it might be good for you, your family, and the shelter for you to volunteer. There's no doubt that time with people is good for the animals, and the experience can be good for your resume and college applications, too. Write it all down to present your case.
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    Be responsible in other things. If you are responsible in other tasks, it'll show that you're ready to take on this responsibility, too. Show your maturity. Try to do your chores. If you have younger siblings, take care of them. If you have older siblings, offer to help with something. If you have pets, make sure they have food and water. Complete school work, and offer to help around the house.
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    Ask them why they do not want you to volunteer at an animal shelter. Be mature when you do this; rather then demanding an answer through tears, kindly ask them their reasons. See if you can fix it. Ask them what they'd need you to do in order to consider your volunteering, and then go out and do it. Are they concerned that your grades will slip if you start volunteering? Then work hard and get your grades up. Are they worried that you won't get around to your chores? Then be extra productive in getting all your responsibilities handled, with time to spare, to show them you have the extra time to devote to this activity.
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    Offer to do chores. If you do chores for money, you might also want to offer to do chores without money. If you do things like cleaning your room or walking your dog for money, offer to do the same chores for less, or no, money. If they ask why, tell them that you're trying to show them that you're ready to volunteer at the shelter; don't hide your intentions.
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    Point out that it's a good substitute for asking for a pet. If you're animal crazy and your parents won't let you have one, you may be driving them crazy by asking for a pet. Point out that if you volunteer at a shelter you will be around animals a lot of the day, and won't necessarily want one at home anymore. This might make your parents more likely to agree, or at least consider letting you volunteer.
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    Never insist/beg. If you scream, cry, or demand that they let you volunteer, they will be way less likely to let you, as this shows a lack of maturity. Feeling upset is perfectly fine, but making a big deal and screaming directly is not a good thing.


  • It might help if you already have a set idea of the shelter you want to volunteer at.
  • Make sure you want to do it; volunteering at a shelter is something you should do for a long time.
  • If you want to walk dogs there, tell your parents how many dogs you have walked.
  • You might want to tell your parents you know it will be hard; make sure they know you understand that volunteering at a shelter will take a lot of work, and might not be easy.
  • If you can, help a friend walk their dog or see if you can come play with their cat, if you have a dog take it for plenty of walks, if you have a cat spend a lot of time playing with it; show your parents you are good around animals.
  • Show your parents you really like dogs and cats, research them often and share the better facts. That might help them understand this is not just a phase.
  • Never say to your parents that you want to volunteer at a shelter so they will let you adopt an animal, they might not plan on letting you get one and they might refuse if they think you only want to volunteer at a rescue for that reason.
  • If you say you will not ask for a pet anymore if you get to volunteer at an animal shelter, and get to volunteer because of that, try to keep you promise and don't ask for a pet.


  • Understand that volunteers do not get paid; it is not a job to volunteer at an animal shelter, you will not get money for it.
  • Crying, screaming, or yelling will get you no where.
  • If you do get to volunteer at a shelter, don't beg your parents to take a dog or cat home; that might annoy them.
  • If you only want to, for example, walk dogs keep in mind you might have to play with cats as well. Or the other way around.

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Categories: Animal Welfare Activism