Volunteering

What does a volunteer do?
How old do I have to be?
What if I have community service hours to complete?
How do I become a Shelter volunteer?
Are there other ways to help?

Can't volunteer at the shelter?
 


Volunteers make the difference!

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Animal Services, located in Olympia, WA! We are always looking for dedicated, hard-working, caring volunteers. The animals need all the talent, energy and love you can offer. There are many ways to help the animals, and there are never enough hearts and hands to do all the things they need. We are grateful for your interest.

What does a volunteer do?

Some of our volunteer opportunities include:

  • Kennel helpers - provide direct care for pets at the Shelter;

  • Office helpers - file, mail out licenses and assist visitors;

  • Public events - help staff information booths at fairs and other public gatherings;

  • Humane Educators - teach kids about pet care and safety around animals;

  • Publicity - take pictures of our animals for online postings and create educational posters and campaigns;

  • Foster animals - provide a  short-term home for young litters or older injured animals;

  • Project helpers - assist with special projects as needed;

  • Shelter helpers - maintain the grounds and pick up the dog areas;

         ...and many more!

Most volunteers spend a lot of their time working with the animals in cat and dog adoption.  The first priority for all volunteers in these areas is to keep the animals’ environment healthy and clean.  This means that all volunteers working with animals are expected to clean the kennels.  Other opportunities include socializing, walking, grooming, bathing and matching adopters with the right pet. 

The longer you volunteer (allowing us to get to know your skills better), the more options we can provide.
 

What kind of a commitment is required?

Before you agree to volunteer, please make sure you have the time available to offer.  We ask that volunteers be prepared to donate at least four hours a month, for at least six months.

In order to be really helpful to the Shelter, volunteers are encouraged to make a long-term commitment to the animals.  We experience a VERY HIGH turnover rate.  When volunteers come, are trained, then quit coming, it takes staff time away from the animals to train new volunteers.  For that reason, we discourage "summer-only" volunteers or students who have just a few hours of community service to fulfill.  An experienced, dedicated volunteer base makes all the difference to the animals in our shelter!

If you don’t have the time for a long term commitment, there are still many ways you can help.  Check this out.

When can I volunteer?

Volunteers are needed when the Shelter is open, Tuesday-Friday 9:30-5:30 and Saturday 9:30-4:00.
 

0827004.jpg (15934 bytes)
Volunteers can foster pets
like this 3-week old kitten.

How old do I have to be?

You must be at least 14 years old to volunteer at the shelter.  Potential volunteers, 11-13 years old, must be accompanied by a responsible adult volunteer at all times while at the shelter.

For ideas on how children under 11 can help the shelter, please check this out.
 


You can meet other great people!

What if I have community service hours to complete?

If you need to fulfill community service hours for school or the courts, you will need to talk to the Volunteer Coordinator before you begin volunteering.   We cannot sign off on any hours unless we have made arrangements in advance.

School-Required Community Service:

We will accept school-required community service for any amount of time; however, we require a minimum of 24 hours of volunteered time at the shelter before we can sign your form. 

Court-Ordered Community Service:

We cannot accept court-ordered community services for anyone under 18.  We will consider adults with 60 or more required hours.  A full list of the requirements and expectations for court-ordered community service volunteers can be found here.

How do I become a Shelter volunteer?

Make a reservation to attend a volunteer orientation. These orientations last around 1 ˝ hours and cover basic information about volunteering and Animal Services.  Dates and times of upcoming orientations are posted here.

If after the orientation you feel that volunteering at the shelter would be a good fit for you, you may submit a volunteer application.  (Applications are handed out at the volunteer orientations.)

It takes a couple weeks to process your application and background check.  After that, we will contact you to schedule your first volunteer shift.  This is when you will get your hands-on training.

Are there other ways to help?

Absolutely!  We always need supplies and money to properly care for the 135+ animals that enter our shelter each week.  With all the economic problems our community and country currently face, homeless animals and their needs are often overlooked.  We can always use blankets, towels, quality canned and dry pet food and other pet supplies.  Like most shelters, our greatest need is money--medication and veterinary care are costly.  We appreciate any  support you can offer!

Donations can be dropped off at or sent to:
Animal Services, 3120 Martin Way, Olympia, WA  98506.
You can also donate by phone at (360) 352-2510.  Please have your credit card ready.

Have a car you'd like to get rid of?  You can donate it to the shelter!
Northwest Charity Donation Service can do all the footwork and paperwork for you, including towing the vehicle, if necessary.  They keep part of the proceeds of the sale as an administrative fee and send the rest to us.  Please visit their website for more details.


Can't Volunteer at the Shelter?

Would you like to help the animals, but are too young to volunteer at the shelter or you don’t have the time?  Don’t worry, there are many ways to help the animals cared for by Animal Services.  Here are some ideas, but feel free to think of your own!

Foster:

Foster homes are needed to care for animals in your own home.  Click here for more information.

Craft Projects:

We have instructions for making several different items needed by our animals: from pet toys to dog houses. Please contact the Education and Volunteer Coordinator if you have questions.

Fundraisers:
Please make sure you have permission from your school/office before beginning a fundraiser.

Organize a Walk-a-thon
Organize a walk-a-thon in your neighborhood or at your school/office.  To hold a walk-a-thon, simply invite others to participate in collecting donations from friends and family, and walk on the event day!

Hold a Wish List Drive
Click on our current Wish List to find out what supplies are needed and hold a donation drive to collect those items.  Advertise at your school/office or in your neighborhood and put a marked collection container in a busy area for people to see. Get a few representatives to take the supplies to Shelter and see the animals who will benefit from your hard work.  You can also hold specific drives such as a used towel drive or food drive.  

Some groups have received permission from local businesses (Petco, Petsmart, etc.) to hold a fundraising drive at their store.  They handed out fliers listing the Shelter’s needs to shoppers heading into the store.  Please contact the Education and Volunteer Coordinator if you would like a sample of the flier.

Coin Drive
Hold a coin drive with a clever name such as Pennies for Pets, Dimes for Dogs or Cash for Cats.  Place canisters in your classroom/office to collect money for the animals. 

Birthday Donations
Ask that friends and family make a donation to the Shelter instead of birthday gifts.

Other Ideas
You can also hold car washes, bake sales or other events to raise money for the animals.

Other Ways to Help Animals:

Tell People about the Shelter
If someone you know is considering getting a pet, encourage them to come to the Shelter. We not only have dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, we also often have rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and sometimes birds! Check out our adoption page link to adoptable animals to see some of the currently available animals. 

Keep pets and people together
Do you know someone who is sick or a senior citizen in need of some help? Why not help them by feeding, walking or brushing their pet? It can be fun for everyone and might help that person keep their pet.

Spread the Word about Important Animal Issues
Add a tagline to your e-mail signature that gets out important messages about spay/neuter, adopting a shelter pet, etc.

Organize an Animal Awareness Week
An animal awareness week in a school, or with the entire community, will encourage animal lovers to spread the word about the importance of being kind to all living things. Be Kind to Animals Week starts on the first Monday of each May, but feel free to choose your own week!
 

Be Creative
Design a poster about pet overpopulation or pet safety, and post it on a bulletin board at your school/office.  Create and post a “pet of the week” poster that features one of our adoptable animals.

Create a newsletter, blog, or website about animals.

Come up with your own idea!  If you have questions, please contact the Education and Volunteer Coordinator.

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