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Tips & Advice

Volunteers Should Not Leave a Mess Behind

I am a volunteer at a local animal shelter in a bit of a sticky situation. One of the main volunteer duties is walking the dogs every afternoon. While the shelter is located on several acres where volunteers can walk dogs, many volunteers, myself included, prefer to walk around in the surrounding neighborhoods.


The problem with this is that many volunteers skip the less-than-pleasant job of picking up the dog’s poop during the walk. Once, I was even stopped by an elderly man who chatted with me for several minutes before getting to his point of making sure I was picking up dog poop in his neighborhood.

While picking up dog poop is certainly not the highlight of dog walking, it is hard for me to understand why volunteers don’t do this. These are supposed to be people who want to help make the world a little bit better, but instead, they are doing the exact opposite. 

The problem is motives. The people who skip the unappealing aspects of volunteering are the ones who are only there because they feel like they have to be, whether it is for college resumes, requirements set by schools or businesses or some other external factor.

If you are going to volunteer, it needs to be for the right reasons. While adding to your college resume is a great bonus, make sure that is not your only reason for donating your time. It is much more rewarding to help a cause you care about than volunteering anywhere just for the added benefits.

For those of you that care so little about your volunteer work that you leave behind messes wherever you go, think about why you chose to volunteer for that organization. If the reasons are anything but self-motivated, consider finding a cause more meaningful to you. That way, the poop gets picked up, and you are doing something that is more self-rewarding.