Volunteer at TCHS
Volunteers are essential to everything we do! Shelter volunteers provide hands-on animal care such as grooming, exercising, and socializing the animals while they wait for their new homes. In addition, volunteers assist with kennel cleaning, general housekeeping, and customer service.
Other volunteer opportunities include off-site adoption events, animal photography, office work/data entry, yard work, building maintenance, newsletter mailings, fundraising events, humane education and pet visits at schools and day cares, senior care pet therapy visits, veterinary medicine, and committee work.
If you have a special skill or trade that you feel may be beneficial to our shelter, please share it with us. Wherever your talents lie, TCHS welcomes you!
I have a group that wants to volunteer for a day at TCHS. Is this possible?
TCHS works to try to accommodate groups that want to do a one-time volunteer project, but it all depends on our needs. Because of the shelter’s size, we tend to limit groups to 10 or fewer. And because it takes a minimum of four hours of training to work with the animals, short-term volunteers tend not to work with them. They do dishes, laundry, cleaning, office work and other projects that benefit TCHS and its animals.
I want to volunteer once a month. Is this possible?
Yes, but people who work directly with the animals are asked to do a weekly two-hour shift, for a minimum of 40 hours total. If this is not possible for your schedule, please consider on-call volunteer opportunities with TCHS, such as offsite adoptions at area pet supply stores.
My 5-year-old loves animals and wants to volunteer. Is this possible?
Volunteers must be a minimum of 10 years old to volunteer, and they must be accompanied by a parent. Once junior volunteers are 14 and older, they can volunteer by themselves. A good alternative for younger children who want to give back is to join our Book Buddies program.
I want to just walk dogs or just cuddle cats. Is this allowed?
Volunteers do socialize with the animals and walk dogs, but they’re expected to help clean and organize, too. Dishes and laundry are requirements if you’d like to be a shelter animal care volunteer. If you want to cuddle or play with an animal, you are certainly allowed to do that as a customer! (No cleaning required.)
I want to come in and walk dogs every now and then. Is this allowed?
In short, no. Volunteers have to go through comprehensive training to work with the animals. Customers or short-term volunteers cannot walk dogs at the shelter. Customers are allowed to interact with dogs, though, with volunteer or staff assistance.
The Volunteer Process
Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older to volunteer alone, or as young as 10 years of age to volunteer alongside an adult.
The first step to becoming a TCHS volunteer is to fill out an application. Completed applications are reviewed and a background check is processed. Thereafter, applicants who are accepted into the TCHS volunteer program will receive an email or a phone call from the volunteer coordinator detailing what is expected and extending an invitation for an interview. (Sometimes the invitation email may go to a "spam" folder; please check there.) Training varies depending on the type of volunteer position an applicant pursues. The entire process may take several weeks from the time an application is received to the completion of training.
Common Volunteer Needs
Shelter Animal Care Providers help keep a clean atmosphere for the animals and visitors at the Tri-County Humane Society as well as provide attention to the animals while they are waiting to be adopted. Volunteers keep cages and animal areas clean, socialize the animals, assist customers with viewing animals, and take shelter dogs for walks. Customer service skills are important for this position. Volunteer shifts are generally a minimum of two hours per week.
Animal Transporters must be 16 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license, have their own vehicle, and provide proof of insurance. These volunteers are generally put on a “call list” and are contacted when transportation needs arise. Common transport needs include bringing shelter pets to and from local veterinary clinics and to Petco and PetSmart.
Animal Photographers take photographs of adoptable animals. People with experience in photography and the ability to edit photos are encouraged to apply for this position. Since our website is so important in advertising our animals, professional quality photographs improve an animal’s adoption rate. Photographers are scheduled for at least a 2-hour weekly shift.
Office Assistants help with miscellaneous office projects such as data entry, filing, editing website descriptions, stocking and pricing merchandise, phone calls, bulk mailings, etc. This may be an on-call or scheduled volunteer position.
Petco Animal Caretakers clean cages of TCHS animals at Petco while they wait for their forever home. They also watch for signs of illness and socialize with the animals. Volunteer hours are roughly 8:30-10:30 a.m. and scheduled for the same day each week.
Offsite Adoption Event Workers attend adoption events at Petco, PetSmart, or other venues. Volunteers staff a Tri-County Humane Society informational booth and transport animals for adoption to the events. Volunteers spend time socializing the animals, assist customers in meeting the animals, process adoption paperwork, and spread the TCHS mission to the public. The events are roughly four hours in length.
Senior Care Pet Therapy Volunteers bring a shelter animal or owned pet (with Tri-County Humane Society interview and approval) to visit residents of various senior care facilities. This is generally a once-a-month commitment and hours are variable depending on the facility.
Be a Foster Parent for Animals in Need Foster care continues to be a critical piece of our lifesaving efforts. When an animal is too young, sick, injured or just needs someone to teach them basic manners, foster parents help fill the gap between the time the animal is brought to the shelter and the time they are adopted. Our foster program helps us save more lives!
Service Learning Program
This type of volunteer service is used when someone is looking for a short-term volunteer opportunity. It is often used when students are looking for credits for a class or extracurricular program. Due to a shortened training process, these volunteers do not work directly with the shelter animals. Individuals or groups may be eligible for this program depending on their goals and the needs of the shelter. Please contact the volunteer coordinator directly if you are interested in this type of service.
Community Service Program
TCHS accepts court-ordered community service workers. However, there are very specific rules and guidelines for this type of service. For more information on community service, please contact our volunteer coordinator.
If these opportunities do not fit your goals and/or availability, please contact our volunteer coordinator for more information on ways you can help.
For more information, contact Kate Kompas, TCHS Volunteer/Humane Education Coordinator, at (320) 252-0896, ext. 27, or firstname.lastname@example.org.