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Best Volunteer Opportunities For Animal Lovers In Chicago

If you love animals and are looking to make a difference in an animal's life, consider volunteering at one or more of the animal-related opportunities available in Chicago. The facilities highlighted here focus on animals and depend on volunteers for their success and the animals' success. Not only does volunteering to help animals make a huge difference in an animal's life, but it also helps a community's success while also making the volunteer feel great.

(Photo Credit:

PAWS Chicago
1997 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 935-7297

PAWS Chicago's mission is to build no-kill communities, starting with a no-kill Chicago. Volunteers are the key to the shelter's success and there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available; kids over 12 can also volunteer along with a parent/guardian. The first step in becoming a volunteer at PAWS Chicago is to attend a new volunteer orientation. There is additional information about becoming a volunteer on the website.

ARFhouse Chicago
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 305-5640

ARFhouse Chicago (Animal Refuge Foundation) is a no-kill shelter located in Chicago and it is a 100-percent volunteer-run organization. All of ARFhouse adoptables are housed in foster homes and boarding facilities until permanent homes are found. Animals accepted include dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. This shelter puts an emphasis on taking in animals that are often difficult to place or overlooked due to age, breed or medical issues. ARFhouse Chicago has many opportunities available for volunteers and welcomes help as the shelter is an all-volunteer shelter.

Felines & Canines
(Photo Credit: Felines & Canines' Facebook))

Felines & Canines
6379 N. Paulina St.
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 465-4132

Felines & Canines has a no-kill policy and is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. It is funded through adoption fees, fundraising events, foundations and tax-deductible donations. Volunteers are a vital component to keeping Felines & Canines up and running. Volunteer opportunities are listed on the website such as TLC/socialization/dog walking, cleaning and special events assistance.

Related: Best Chicago Animal Groomers & Pet Shops

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

Volunteers are an important component in keeping the Lincoln Park Zoo free. Volunteers are needed every day to help in a variety of areas. Whether it is greeting and educating guests, planting flowers or assisting scientists in monitoring animal behavior, each volunteer is key to the zoo's success. Busy season begins in March. Some volunteer positions are available March through October, while others are year round. Check out the Lincoln Park Zoo website for volunteer information sessions.

Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 939-2438

Volunteers are extremely important to the Shedd Aquarium and because the Shedd Aquarium provides extensive training and gives its volunteers so much responsibility, there are several important requirements to become a volunteer. Click the volunteer link on the website to see the detailed requirements. There are many interesting and rewarding volunteer opportunities at the Shedd Aquarium such as Aquarium Collections Husbandry, Caribbean Reef Diver, Guest Engagement, Marine Mammal Diver, Marine Mammal Husbandry, Research and Evaluation, School Programs, Water-quality Laboratory and other volunteer areas.

Related: Advocates: Illinois Ranks First In Animal Protection Laws

Michelle Guilbeau is an elementary teacher living in Chicago, Illinois. She has also experience in school administration and literacy coaching. Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge of education and parenting issues with her readers. Her work can be found on

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