Having a pet to call your own is an amazing feeling and privilege. I am a dog and cat lover, and my family has owned two yellow labs throughout my life. I speak from experience when I say that there are few things that feel more special to me than coming home to the wagging tail of my dog after a particularly shitty day or week. Seeing her nearly uncontrollable joy provides me an immense uplift — an appropriate response when you consider the evidence that says having interactions with animals provides a wide variety of health benefits.
However, owning a pet isn’t a reality for a good number of people which can be the result of a number of factors. Maybe your living space can’t accommodate a pet, finances are too tight, or perhaps you simply aren’t ready for one just yet. Taking care of an animal that is entirely your responsibility can be a big financial undertaking (Chelsea has written about it here and here) and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The trade-off for the company of an animal who loves you unconditionally is that there are very real bills to pay. The cost of good, all-natural dog and cat food, trips to the vet, medication, grooming fees, pet sitting services, etc. all add up.
Fortunately, there are a number of fantastic resources/activities in which you can partake to get your animal lover fix if you aren’t ready to commit to owning a pet yet (you might even be able to make some cash while doing so!). I had a friend in high school who desperately wanted a cat but couldn’t get one because her mother was allergic. As an alternative to owning her own, she spent a few hours every Saturday afternoon working at an animal shelter nearby. She wasn’t paid for her work, but the job allowed her to interact with armfuls of cats and dogs each weekend and quell the need to buy/take care of her own (she actually ended up loving the job so much that she decided to go to veterinary school).
Below is a compilation of activities, side-jobs, and resources for getting your animal-lover fix on a budget. These are all opportunities for you to get involved with animals by either caring for them or interacting with them. Take a look!
Sign up to be a dog walker.
- Dog Walker Jobs
- Downtown Pets Dog Walker Jobs
- Dog Walking Service Finder (search by location)
- Dog Walking Jobs (Indeed.com)
Volunteer at animal shelters.
- Animal Humane Society
- ASPCA Volunteering
- Where To Volunteer: Animal Welfare
- Animal Care & Control of NYC
- Animal League America: Where To Volunteer
House sit for someone with a pet.
- Dog Vacay
- National Association For Pet Sitters
- Pet Sitting Jobs (Care.com)
- Pet Sitter Jobs (Indeed.com)
- Care Guide Pet Sitter
Get a part-time job at doggy day care/groomer.
- Biscuits & Bath Recruitment
- Dog Day Care Jobs NYC (Indeed.com)
- Spot Canine Club Hiring
- Dog Day Care Jobs NJ (Indeed.com)
- Jobs at Kennels
- Kennel Technician Jobs NYC (Indeed.com)
- Work as a Pet Groomer
Attend an adoption fair. *Cues Sarah McLachlan Music*
(IF you are considering adoption, make sure you have money set aside for necessary bills and expenses, and have enough space for them in your home. Adoption is a cheaper alternative than buying a pet from a breeder and saves the life of an animal in need!)
- NYC Adoption Alliance
- Best Friends Animal Society Pet Adoptions
- Petsmart Adoption Events
- Petfinder Cat Adoption Fairs
- Adopt A Pet Finder
Start helping animals today and get involved at animal shelters near you!