Pets bring joy and unconditional love to many of us, but did you know they can also help enhance the lives of those in your community? With many organizations offering programs that allow you and your pet to volunteer, there's never been a better time to get involved. Check out a couple ways you and your furry friend can help give back to others in need.

Pet Therapy:

Whether in a nursing home or hospital, there are many people who could benefit from some love and affection from your furry friend. Continuous visits from pets can not only provide both parties with much needed social interaction but can help reduce stress as well. If your pet has gone through training and is friendly with new people, volunteering at a local hospital may be a good fit.

Dog Walks/Runs for Charity:

A great way to spend some quality time with your pet is by training for a charity run together. Many organizations, such as the State Street Mile, now offer runs for pets and pet parents. Get both of your heart rates up by signing up for a charity walk or run together, all while collecting donations for a good cause. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian and confirm your pet is in good health before signing up for these activities.

Reading Programs:

Both the young and the elderly can benefit from having a pup around as they practice their reading skills or have a story read to them. Young students who struggle with reading often appreciate a non-judgmental listener while they sharpen their skills. Many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and libraries have programs catered to these types of readers and may need additional volunteers throughout the year.

Donating Blood:

Just as people can donate blood to the injured or sick in times of need, pets can also do the same for animals who may need blood transfusions. There are many clinics nationwide that offer pet blood banks – you can also check with your veterinarian to see if their clinic accepts donations. If so, it only takes about 20 minutes to donate. Always talk with your vet before donating blood to ensure your pet is healthy enough to do so.

Volunteering with your pet can bring joy to not only you, but many in your community. Remember that while your pet is giving back, you can also give back to them with a HomeAgain® membership. Microchipping and registering with HomeAgain keeps your pet safe while you're out and about in your community. If your furry friend gets lost while training for a charity marathon or loses their way while volunteering, HomeAgain can help bring them home safely.